With reference to a qualitative study on everyday religiosity among Muslims in St. John's, Canada, this paper examines trends in academic sources and public policy on Islam that over-privilege the most committed practitioners, thereby narrowly depicting “Muslimness.” I situate this overemphasis by reflecting on what Mamdani calls “culture talk,” an essentializing discourse heightened in the post-9/11 west. Interview data, along with a trend in social scientific research on Muslims that emphasize the most pious and the outcomes following the Ontario “Boyd (...) Report” and the Quebecois “Bouchard–Taylor Report” show the pervasiveness of culture talk that erases Muslim multiplicity. (shrink)
In this book, McMahon argues that a reading of Kant’s body of work in the light of a pragmatist theory of meaning and language leads one to put community reception ahead of individual reception in the order of aesthetic relations. A core premise of the book is that neo-pragmatism draws attention to an otherwise overlooked aspect of Kant’s "Critique of Aesthetic Judgment," and this is the conception of community which it sets forth. While offering an interpretation of Kant’s aesthetic theory, (...) the book focuses on the implications of Kant’s third critique for contemporary art. McMahon draws upon Kant and his legacy in pragmatist theories of meaning and language to argue that aesthetic judgment is a version of moral judgment: a way to cultivate attitudes conducive to community, which plays a pivotal role in the evolution of language, meaning, and knowledge. (shrink)
This essay will focus on the moral issues relating to surrogacy in the global context, and will critique the liberal arguments that have been offered in support of it. Liberal arguments hold sway concerning reproductive arrangements made between commissioning couples from wealthy nations and the surrogates from socioeconomically weak backgrounds that they hire to do their reproductive labor. My argument in this paper is motivated by a concern for controlling harms by putting the practice of globalized commercial surrogacy into the (...) context of care ethics. As I will argue, the unstable situations into which children of global surrogacy arrangements are born is symbolic of the crisis of care that the practice raises. Using the Baby Manji case as my touch point, I will suggest that liberalism cannot address the harms experienced by Manji and children like her who are created through the global practice of assisted reproductive technology. I will argue that, if commissioning couples consider their proposed surrogacy contracts from a care ethics point of view, they will begin to think relationally about their actions, considering the practice from an ethical lens, not just an economic or contractual one. (shrink)
This paper treats the political and ethical issues associated with the new caretaking technologies. Given the number of feminists who have raised serious concerns about the future of care work in the United States, and who have been critical of the degree to which society “free rides” on women's caretaking labor, I consider whether technology may provide a solution to this problem. Certainly, if we can create machines and robots to take on particular tasks, we may lighten the care burden (...) that women currently face, much of which is heavy and repetitious, and which results in injury and care “burnout” for many female caretakers. Yet, in some contexts, I argue that high-tech robotic care may undermine social relationships, cutting individuals off from the possibility of social connectedness with others. (shrink)
Literary beauty was once understood as intertwining sensations and ideas, and thus as providing subjective and objective reasons for literary appreciation. However, as theory and philosophy developed, the inevitable claims and counterclaims led to the view that subjective experience was not a reliable guide to literary merit. Literary theory then replaced aesthetics as did philosophy’s focus on literary truth. Along with the demise of the relevance of sensations, literary form also took a back seat. This suggested to some that either (...) literature communicated truth like any other literal form of communication or it was a mere diversion: a springboard to harmless reverie or daydreaming. Neither response satisfactorily captured what was distinctive about literature: the love readers can have for literary texts and the edification or insight claimed of works within each culture’s respective catalogue of classics. However, a concept of literary beauty has again become viable due to developments in theories of pleasure and imagination. If the defining aspect of literature is the imaginative engagement it occasions, and if this imagining is constrained by plausibility and endorsed as effective relative to our goals, ideals, and interests, then literature is not reduced to either mere fact or wish fulfillment. An account of literary beauty is available which defines literature accordingly and explains how subjective and objective reasons for appreciation intertwine to evoke pleasure and insight. (shrink)
The Pythagorean tradition dominates the understanding of beauty up until the end of the 18th Century. According to this tradition, the experience of beauty is stimulated by certain relations perceived to be between an object/construct's elements. As such, the object of the experience of beauty is indeterminate: it has neither a determinate perceptual analogue (one cannot simply identify beauty as you can a straight line or a particular shape) nor a determinate concept (there are no necessary and sufficient conditions for (...) beauty at the semantic level). By the 13th Century in the West, the pleasure experienced in beauty is characterized as disinterested. Yet, on the basis that all cultural manifestations of the pythagorean theory of beauty recognize that judgments of beauty are genuine judgments, we would want to say that judgments of beauty are lawful. In addition, from ancient times, up until after Kant, philosophers of beauty within this tradition recognize two kinds of beauty: a universal, unchanging beauty coexisting with a relative, dynamic beauty. These two kinds of beauty and the tensions discussed above, are reconciled and dissolved respectively, according to the metaphysical/religious commitments of the particular author. As yet, however, these features of beauty have not been reconciled within a physicalist worldview. This is what I set out to do. (shrink)
In _Aesthetics and Material Beauty_, Jennifer A. McMahon develops a new aesthetic theory she terms Critical Aesthetic Realism - taking Kantian aesthetics as a starting point and drawing upon contemporary theories of mind from philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science. The creative process does not proceed by a set of rules. Yet the fact that its objects can be understood or appreciated by others suggests that the creative process is constrained by principles to which others have access. According to her (...) update of Kantian aesthetics, beauty is grounded in indeterminate yet systematic principles of perception and cognition. However, Kant’s aesthetic theory rested on a notion of indeterminacy whose consequences for understanding the nature of art were implausible. McMahon conceptualizes "indeterminacy" in terms of contemporary philosophical, psychological, and computational theories of mind. In doing so, she develops an aesthetic theory that reconciles the apparent dichotomies which stem from the tension between the determinacy of communication and the indeterminacy of creativity. Dichotomies such as universality and subjectivity, objectivity and autonomy, cognitivism and non-cognitivism, and truth and beauty are revealed as complementary features of an aesthetic judgment. (shrink)
The ethical naturalist asks us to take seriously the idea that practical norms are a species of natural norms, such that moral goodness is a kind of natural goodness. The ethical naturalist has not demonstrated, however, how it is possible for a power of reason to be governed by natural norms, because her own attempts to do this have led her into a dilemma. If she takes the first horn and stresses that ethical naturalism provides objective, natural norms of the (...) species, then she fails to show how such norms are practical, or operative from a deliberative point of view. If she takes the second horn and stresses that ethical naturalism yields a picture of knowledge of human life that is practical because it comes through virtuous dispositions of intellect and will, then she fails to have an account of how it is knowledge of facts about a life form, potentially accessible to a non-human knower. In this paper, I argue that one potential resolution to this dilemma can be found in the writings of Thomas Aquinas. On a broadly Thomist account of practical reason, the first principles of practical reason are our common human ends or goods, which are constitutive of a good human life. The work of practical reason on this naturalistic account is twofold: to conceive and order these ends into some general conception of how to live, and to apply this general conception to the particular situations of one’s life in order to realize one’s vision of the good life, here and now. (shrink)
David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, composed before the author was twenty-eight years old, was published in 1739 and 1740. In revising the late L.A. Selby-Bigge's edition of Hume's Treatise Professor Nidditch corrected verbal errors and took account of Hume's manuscript amendments. He also supplied the text of theof the Treatise following the original 1740 edition and provided an apparatus of variant readings.
Behavioural evidence suggests that cephalopod molluscs may have a form of primary consciousness. First, the linkage of brain to behaviour seen in lateralization, sleep and through a developmental context is similar to that of mammals and birds. Second, cephalopods, especially octopuses, are heavily dependent on learning in response to both visual and tactile cues, and may have domain generality and form simple concepts. Third, these animals are aware of their position, both within themselves and in larger space, including having a (...) working memory of foraging areas in the recent past. Thus if using a ‘global workspace’ which evaluates memory input and focuses attention is the criterion, cephalopods appear to have primary consciousness. (shrink)
Very little research into women farmers in developed countries has been produced by economists, but much of what has been studied by scholars in other disciplines has economic implications. This article reviews such research produced by scholars in all disciplines to explore to what extent women farmers are becoming more equal to men farmers and to suggest further contributions to the literature. As examples, topics that has been widely researched in developing countries but have received almost no attention in developed (...) countries include comparisons of men and women farmers’ productivity and their access to and use of resources. Discoveries in these and other areas will be important not only for their insights into the agricultural industry in developed countries, but also because they will inform, and be informed by, research on women farmers in developing countries. (shrink)
This is an 18,500 word bibliography of philosophical scholarship on Beauty which was published online in the Oxford Bibliographies Online. The entry includes an Introduction of 800 words, 21 x 400-word sub-themes and 168 annotated references. INTRODUCTION Philosophical interest in beauty began with the earliest recorded philosophers. Beauty was deemed to be an essential ingredient in a good life and so what it was, where it was to be found and how it was to be included in a life were (...) prime considerations. The way beauty has been conceived has been influenced by an author’s other philosophical commitments, metaphysical, epistemological and ethical and such commitments reflect the historical and cultural position of the author. For example, beauty is a manifestation of the divine on earth to which we respond with love and adoration; beauty is a harmony of the soul which we achieve through cultivating feeling in a rational and tempered way; beauty is an idea raised in us by certain objective features of the world; beauty is a sentiment which can nonetheless be cultivated to be appropriate to its object; beauty is the object of a judgment by which we exercise the social, comparative and inter-subjective elements of cognition and so on. Such views on beauty not only reveal underlying philosophical commitments but also reflect positive contributions to understanding the nature of value and the relation of mind and world. One way to distinguish between beauty theories is according to the conception of the human being that they assume or imply, for example, where they fall on the continuum from determinism to free will, ungrounded notions of compatibilism notwithstanding. For example, theories at the latter end might carve out a sense of genuine innovation and creativity in human endeavours while at the other end of the spectrum authors may conceive of beauty as an environmental trigger for consumption, procreation or preservation in the interests of the individual. Treating beauty experiences as in some respect intentional, characterises beauty theory prior to the twentieth century and since, mainly in historically inspired writing on beauty. On the other hand, treating beauty as affect or sensation has always had its representatives and is most visible today in evolutionary inspired accounts of beauty (though not all evolutionary accounts fit this classification). Beauty theory falls under some combination of metaphysics, epistemology, meta-ethics, aesthetics and psychology. While in the twentieth century beauty was more likely to be conceived as an evaluative concept for art, recent philosophical interest in beauty can again be seen to exercise arguments pertaining to metaphysics, epistemology, meta-ethics, philosophy of meaning and language in addition to philosophy of art and environmental aesthetics. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that thestatus of those who take care of persons withdisabilities, and persons with disabilities,are inextricably linked. That is, devaluingthe status of one necessarily devalues that ofthe other. Persons with disabilities and thosewho help care for them must form an alliance toadvance their common interests. This alliancecan gain insight and inspiration from feministthought insofar as caretaking is literallylinked to problems of the representation ofcaretaking as ``women's work,'' and morephilosophically, by borrowing from the toolboxof feminist social, political, (...) and economicanalyses. (shrink)
One of the ethical issues that has been raised recently regarding emerging neurotherapies is that people will be coerced explicitly or implicitly in the workplace or in schools to take cognitive enhancing drugs. This article builds on this discussion by showing how the law may pressure people to adopt emerging neurotherapies. It focuses on a range of private law doctrines that, unlike the criminal law, do not come up very often in neuroethical discussions. Three doctrines—the doctrine of mitigation, the standard (...) of care in negligence, and child custody determinations in family law—are addressed to show how the law may pressure people to consent to treatment by offering a choice between accepting medical treatment and suffering a legal disadvantage. The doctrines considered in this article apply indirect pressure to submit to treatment, unlike court-ordered medical treatment, which applies direct pressure and is not addressed here. The outcome of this discussion is to show that there is a greater range of social pressures that may encourage the uptake of novel neurotherapies than one might initially think. Once treatments that were developed and offered with therapeutic benefits in mind become available, their existence gives rise to unintended legal consequences. This certainly does not mean we should cease developing new therapies that may be of tremendous benefit to patients, but it does raise some questions for physicians and for legal policy-makers. How should physicians, who are required by medical ethical principles to obtain valid consent to treatment, react to a patient’s reluctant consent that is driven by legal pressure? From the legal policy perspective, are our legal doctrines satisfactory or should they be changed because, for example, they unduly promote the collective interest over individual freedom to reject medical treatment or because they channel us toward economically efficient treatments to the detriment of more costly but potentially superior approaches of dealing with behavioural problems? (shrink)
This book explores Hume's concern with the destructiveness of religious factions and his efforts to develop, in his moral philosophy, a solution to factional conflict. Sympathy and the related capacity to enter into foreign points of view are crucial to the neutralization of religious zeal and the naturalization of ethics. Jennifer Herdt suggests that Hume's preoccupation with religious faction is the key which reveals the unity of his varied philosophical, aesthetic, political and historical works.
No matter how unintuitive it might seem that aesthetic pleasure should be the point where art and morality meet, this is a noteworthy possibility that has been overshadowed by aestheticians’ more visible concerns. Here I briefly survey relevant strands in the literature over the past century, before introducing themes covered in this inaugural issue of Australasian Philosophical Review.
The perennial appeal of Kantian ethics surely lies in its conception of autonomy. Kantianism tells us that the good life is fundamentally about acting in accordance with an internal rather than an external authority: a good will is simply a will in agreement with its own rational, self-constituting law. In this paper, I argue against Kantian autonomy, on the grounds that it excessively narrows our concept of the good, it confuses the difference between practical and theoretical modes of knowing the (...) good, and it cannot respect the essential efficacy of the principles of practical reason. (shrink)
Since 1997 there has been a significant increase in the number and percentage of Kansas farmers who are women. Using Reskin and Roos’ model of “job queues and gender queues” I analyze changes in the agricultural industry in Kansas that resulted in more women becoming “principal farm operators” in the state. I find there are three changes largely responsible for women increasing their representation in the occupation: an increase in the demand for niche products, a decrease in the average farm (...) size, and greater societal acceptance of women as farmers. This study adds to the growing literature on women principal farm operators in developed countries, and is among the first to explore why women are becoming a larger percentage of the occupation in the United States. (shrink)
The standard cognitive theory of art claims that art can be insightful while maintaining that imagining is motivationally inert [Walton 1990] even when some epistemic advantage is claimed for it [Currie 1995]. However, if we assume art as art can be insightful, we also assume that the imagining it occasions has a lasting impact on belief. In this chapter, I argue that imagining of the kind occasioned by art can be held non-occurrently [Schellenberg 2013] without delusion and can motivate behaviour (...) [Gendler 2000, 2003, 2006a/b; Langland-Hassan 2016]. As such, certain features of imagination can be appreciated in a new light. (shrink)
This review essay assesses the significance of J. B. Schneewind's "The Invention of Autonomy" for the history of moral thought in general and for religious ethics in particular. The essay offers an overview of Schneewind's complex argument before critically discussing his four central themes: the primacy of Immanuel Kant, the fundamentality of conflict, the insufficiency of virtue, and community with God. Whereas Schneewind argues that an impasse between modern natural law and perfectionist ethics revealed irresolvable tensions within Christian ethics and (...) thus encouraged the emergence of secular moral thought, this author suggests that these tensions were specific to a voluntarist strand of Christian moral thought from which even antivoluntarists of the modern period were unable to break free. (shrink)
Research on the use of propranolol as a pharmacological memory dampening treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder is continuing and justifies a second look at the legal and ethical issues raised in the past. We summarize the general ethical and legal issues raised in the literature so far, and we select two for in-depth reconsideration. We address the concern that a traumatized witness may be less effective in a prosecution emerging from the traumatic event after memory dampening treatment. We analyze this (...) issue in relation to sexual assault, where the suggestion that corroborating evidence may remedy any memory defects is less likely to be helpful. We also consider the clinical ethical question about a physician's obligation to discuss potential legal consequences of memory dampening treatment. We conclude that this latter question reflects a general problem related to novel medical treatments where the broader socio-legal consequences may be poorly understood, and suggest that issues of this sort could usefully be addressed through the promulgation of practice guidelines. (shrink)
The sublime is an aspect of experience that has attracted a great deal of scholarship, not only for scholarly reasons but because it connotes aspects of experience not exhausted by what Descartes once called clear distinct perception. That is, the sublime is an experience of the world which involves us in orientating ourselves within it, and this orientation, our human orientation, elevates us in comparison to the non-human world according to traditional accounts of the sublime. The sublime tells us something (...) about our relation to the world rather than anything about the world per se. Nonetheless there is an objective sense of the sublime in that the narratives involved are culturally endorsed rather than invented by an individual. This means that objects can be judged worthy or not of evoking experiences of the sublime. In other words, it is not an idiosyncratic matter. Immanuel Kant’s formulation of this involved explaining how such an experience is possible in terms of his system of the mind. Jane Forsey notes that Kant takes the features of the sublime as given and extrapolates from them certain features of the mind as if any concept of the sublime must implicate the mental architecture of his account (2007). Further to this she argues that in fact the concept of the sublime does implicate a particular system of the mind but neither Kant nor anyone else can successfully formulate it because the concept itself frames certain contradictions. According to Forsey, two consequences follow. First she argues that Kant’s system of the mind does not support the features of the sublime; and secondly that no system could as the very concept is incoherent. If Forsey can show that Kant was mistaken in presenting his account as coherent given his commitments, this would be of interest in its own right. However, her stronger claim is that we cannot separate any concept of the sublime out from Kant’s theoretical underpinnings. That the way the features of the mind are meant to operate in experiences of the sublime are contradictory simply points to the fatal flaws in the whole concept. Her conclusion is that there is no coherent account of the sublime available to us. I will argue that Forsey bases her reasoning on the assumption that a foundational empiricist or direct perception holds; and she interprets Kant’s notions of imagination, understanding and reason as though they are grounded in just such an account of perception. This is revealed in her interpretation of Kant’s phrase “beyond cognition”. Once this foundationalism is replaced with an account of perception more aligned with current research on perception, both philosophical and empirical, then an account of the sublime is available. Further to this however, I argue that what constitutes the narrative of the sublime is historically contingent. Before setting out my arguments, I consider Forsey’s argument in more detail. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that bioethics suffers from a masculinist approach-what I call “ethical androcentrism.” Despite the genesis of other legitimate approaches to ethics, this masculinist tradition persists. The first part of my paper concerns the problem of ethical androcentrism, and how it is manifest in our typical ways of “doing” bioethics. After arguing that bioethics suffers from a masculinist ethic, I consider the case of maternal substance addiction to show how this ethic negatively affects the treatment of pregnant (...) addicts. I argue that by treating maternal substance addiction from an androcentric approach, we fail to serve both pregnant addicts and their fetuses; furthermore, we misrepresent the intentional state of pregnant substance addicts and label them “prenatal abusers.” If maternal substance addiction is to be ethically addressed -- and if pregnant substance addicts are to be effectively treated -- we cannot tacitly accept an androcentric ethic. (shrink)
Neoliberal cultural frames of individual choice inform mothers’ accounts of why they refuse state-mandated vaccines for their children. Using interviews with 25 mothers who reject recommended vaccines, this article examines the gendered discourse of vaccine refusal. First, I show how mothers, seeing themselves as experts on their children, weigh perceived risks of infection against those of vaccines and dismiss claims that vaccines are necessary. Second, I explicate how mothers see their own intensive mothering practices—particularly around feeding, nutrition, and natural living—as (...) an alternate and superior means of supporting their children’s immunity. Third, I show how they attempt to control risk through management of social exposure, as they envision disease risk to lie in “foreign” bodies outside their networks, and, therefore, individually manageable. Finally, I examine how these mothers focus solely on their own children by evaluating—and often rejecting—assertions that their choices undermine community health, while ignoring how their children benefit from the immunity of others. By analyzing the gendered discourse of vaccines, this article identifies how women’s insistence on individual maternal choice as evidence of commitment to their children draws on and replicates structural inequality in ways that remain invisible, but affect others. (shrink)
Through an examination of the International Haplotype Map , this paper explores some of the ways in which relationships among categories of race and genetic variation are being reconfigured in contemporary genetic research.
Philosophers of action and perception have reached a consensus: the term ‘intentionality’ has significantly different senses in their respective fields. But Anscombe argues that these distinct senses are analogically united in such a way that one cannot understand the concept if one focuses exclusively on its use in one’s preferred philosophical sub-discipline. She highlights three salient points of analogy: (i) intentional objects are given by expressions that employ a “description under which;” (ii) intentional descriptions are typically vague and indeterminate; and (...) (iii) intentional descriptions may be false. I explore these three features as they apply to both perception and action and defend Anscombe’s view that the analogical concept of intentionality is a grammatical concept. That is, there are two distinctive linguistic/social practices that involve, respectively, a special sense of the question ‘Why?’ and a special sense of the question ‘What?’ To competently ask and answer the questions that constitute these practices not only reflects, but also conveys a grammatical understanding of intentionality’s basic, formal structure. (shrink)
Nonfeminist accounts of post-menopausal IVF reject the practice on four main grounds: I) scarcity of resources; 2) fairness; 3) the “inappropriateness” of post-menopausal motherhood; and 4) concerns for orphaned children. I argue that these grounds are insufficient for denying post-menopausal women IVF access. I then suggest that a feminist evaluation of the practice is more compelling; ultimately, however, we have no strong grounds for a policy denying post-menopausal women access to this technology.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a “young” disorder formally recognized in the early 1980s, although the symptoms have been noted for centuries particularly in relation to military conflicts. PTSD may develop after a serious traumatic experience that induces feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror. It is currently characterized by three key classes of symptoms which must cause clinically significant distress or impairment of functioning: persistent and distressing re-experiencing of the trauma; persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing (...) of general responsiveness; and persistent symptoms of hyper-arousal. One of the possible symptoms within the second class is difficulty in remembering an important aspect of the traumatic event.PTSD is not an uncommon condition, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of about 7-9% based on studies conducted in the United States and Canada, with women at higher risk than men. While not everyone who experiences a significant trauma will go on to develop PTSD, about a third will do so. Sexual assault, along with other forms of assaultive violence, pose a comparatively high risk of PTSD. (shrink)
Each chapter covers one topic and largely consists of brief summaries of arguments for and against various themes. The topic of the first chapter is whether and on what basis a film can be considered art. Photography is used as an analogy. The arguments range from considering the mechanical form of cinema as an obstacle to arthood to arguments considering cinema’s mechanical nature as essential to its arthood; the former by those who ground art in human agency, the latter by (...) those who ground art in some conception of verisimilitude. Those worried by the former argument, emphasize editing and montage effects as the essential aspects of cinema, the idea being that the less representational veracity a film presented, the more it could be classified as art. On the other hand, for those who equate the art of film with verisimilitude, it is argued that the realism of film is superior to the realism of the other representational arts due to film’s retrieval of images as opposed to merely representing them. (shrink)
: Nonfeminist accounts of post-menopausal IVF reject the practice on four main grounds: 1) scarcity of resources; 2) fairness; 3) the "inappropriateness" of post-menopausal motherhood; and 4) concerns for orphaned children. I argue that these grounds are insufficient for denying post-menopausal women IVF access. I then suggest that a feminist evaluation of the practice is more compelling; ultimately, however, we have no strong grounds for a policy denying post-menopausal women access to this technology.