According to Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach (CA) to justice, a (liberal) society is just if it provides people with the means to actualize basic capabilities that are necessary for a dignified human life. In Frontiers of Justice, Nussbaum (2006) expands the CA to include sentient nonhuman animals in the sphere of justice (as opposed, for instance, to the sphere of compassion). As it does for humans, justice requires that sentient creatures have the ability to access capabilities necessary for their flourishing, (...) as specified by a ‘species norm’ dictating the central capabilities typical to an animal’s kind. Although Nussbaum (2006) does not extend the CA beyond sentient creatures, I will argue .. (shrink)
We propose the ‘patient-worker’ as a theoretical construct that responds to moral problems that arise with the globalization of healthcare and medical research. The patient-worker model recognizes that some participants in global medical industries are workers and are owed worker's rights. Further, these participants are patient-like insofar as they are beneficiaries of fiduciary relationships with healthcare professionals. We apply the patient-worker model to human subjects research and commercial gestational surrogacy. In human subjects research, subjects are usually characterized as either patients (...) or as workers. Through questioning this dichotomy, we argue that some subject populations fit into both categories. With respect to commercial surrogacy, we enrich feminist discussions of embodied labor by describing how surrogates are beneficiaries of fiduciary obligations. They are not just workers, but patient-workers. Through these applications, the patient-worker model offers a helpful normative framework for exploring what globalized medical industries owe to the individuals who bear the bodily burdens of medical innovation. (shrink)
We develop an anti-commodification defense of ethical veganism which holds that common defenses of ethical veganism can benefit from treating the commodification of non-human animals as a serious, distinct moral wrong. Drawing inspiration from Elizabeth Anderson’s account of commodification, we develop an account of commodification that identifies most uses of animals in developed countries as forms of problematic commodification. We then show that this position can make significant contributions to both welfarist defenses of ethical veganism and animal rights theories.
Feminist scholars have done much to identify oppressive forces within transnational commercial contract pregnancy and its social context that may coerce women into becoming gestational laborers. Feminists have also been careful not to depict gestational laborers as merely passive victims of oppression, though there is disagreement about the degree to which contract pregnancy offers opportunities for agency. In this article I consider how women who sell gestational labor may be agents against their oppression. I make explicit connections between resistance and (...) judgment, which I will take to be a critically considered, intersubjective evaluative claim. Drawing on work by Jennifer Nedelsky and Hannah Arendt, my main argument will be that individual judgments can better enable oppressed persons to resist some aspects of their oppression, and that judgment helps to develop agential capacities, in particular, the capacity for a person to be self-constituting, to see herself as giving reasons for her own actions. I use Indian contract pregnancy as a case study to think through connections between resistance and judgment. (shrink)
Feminists have found Arendt helpful in articulating a theory of judgment across cultural differences. Embodiment enters this discussion, usually, through attention to enlarged mentality. In contrast, I approach embodiment and judgment by looking at undertheorized connections with Arendt’s conception of “thinking.” Drawing on a discussion of Boethius and Huckleberry Finn, I suggest that persons are led to thinking by lived contradictions, that is, by instances in which their experiences cannot be interpreted through dominant norms in their society or culture. I (...) also consider a claim that oppression hinders a person’s ability to be receptive to enlarged mentality, thus making it difficult for oppressed persons in Third World contexts to exercise judgment. In response, I examine how an oppressed person is receptive to meaning-making through negotiating lived contradictions. (shrink)
We explore how a refugee’s experience of rootlessness may persist after they resettle in a new country. Drawing primarily on “We Refugees,” we focus on assimilation as an uprooting phenomenon that compels a person to forget their roots, thereby perpetuating threats to identity and the loss of community that is a condition for political agency. Arendt presents assimilation in a binary way: a person either conforms to or resists pressures to conform. We seek to move beyond this binary, arguing that (...) the performative quality of the “right to have rights” and the notion of dwelling in-between worlds reveal possibilities for a refugee to assimilate in some ways while reinforcing their rootedness. What emerges from our argument is an Arendtian account of assimilation that offers an alternative picture of navigating assimilation than that captured by the binary between parvenu/conscious pariah. (shrink)
The 2004 Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act bans commercial contract pregnancy and egg provision, but Canadians undertake cross-border reproductive travel to access these services. Feminist bioethicists have argued that the ethical justification for enforcing the ban domestically, namely exploitation, grounds its extraterritorial enforcement. I raise an additional problem when Global Southern or low-income countries are destinations for travel: neocolonialism. Further, I argue that a ban on commercialized reproduction is problematic. Although well-suited to address neocolonial forces of exploitation and commodification, a (...) ban reinforces neocolonialism by paying insufficient attention to the agency of gestational laborers and egg providers. (shrink)