Migration often requires the renegotiation of familial and gender roles as immigrants encounter potentially competing values and demands. Employing ethnographic methods and including in-depth interviewing and participant observation, the authors explore the experiences of 29 South Asian and Chinese Canadian female family caregivers. Caregiving was central to their role as women and members of their ethnocultural community. The women were often engaged in paid labor that compressed the time available to fulfill their duties as caregivers. Women’s role in the transmission (...) of cultural values that serve to shore up the boundaries of their ethnic community did not allow for significant renegotiation of their caregiving responsibilities despite disrupted family networks and increased demands. These caregiving arrangements are more costly to women in Canada than in their countries of origin. (shrink)
This paper is an intervention in the debate inaugurated by Peter Harrison in 2002 when he called into question the validity of what has come to be called ‘the voluntarism and early-modern science thesis’. Though it subsequently drew support from such historians of science as J. E. McGuire, Margaret Osler, and Betty-Joe Teeter Dobbs, the origins of the thesis are usually traced back to articles published in 1934 and 1961 respectively by the philosopher Michael Foster and the historian (...) of ideas Francis Oakley. Central to Harrison’s critique of the thesis are claims he made about the meaning of the scholastic distinction between the potentia dei absoluta et ordinata and the role it played in the thinking of early-modern theologians and natural philosophers. This paper calls directly into question the accuracy of Harrison’s claims on that very matter. (shrink)
In an oft-quoted passage from The Principles of Morals and Legislation, Jeremy Bentham addresses the issue of our treatment of animals with the following words: ‘the question is not, Can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, Can they suffer?’ The point is well taken, for surely if animals suffer, they are legitimate objects of our moral concern. It is curious therefore, given the current interest in the moral status of animals, that Bentham's question has been assumed to be merely (...) rhetorical. No-one has seriously examined the claim, central to arguments for animal liberation and animal rights, that animals actually feel pain. Peter Singer's Animal Liberation is perhaps typical in this regard. His treatment of the issue covers a scant seven pages, after which he summarily announces that ‘there are no good reasons, scientific or philosophical, for denying that animals feel pain’. In this paper I shall suggest that the issue of animal pain is not so easily dispensed with, and that the evidence brought forward to demonstrate that animals feel pain is far from conclusive. (shrink)
‘Metaphysics’, said Bradley, ‘is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe on instinct, but to find these reasons is no less an instinct.’ This idea that reasoning is both instinctive and feeble is reminiscent of Hume; except that reasons in Hume tend to serve as the solvent rather than the support of instinctive beliefs. Instinct leads us to play backgammon with other individuals whom we assume inhabit a world which exists independently of our own perception and which will (...) continue to exist tomorrow in a similar fashion to today. However, when instinct leads us also to reason about these beliefs they are all subject to sceptical attack. Their defence provides a challenge, a challenge which in thumbnail histories of the subject is met by Kant. He does this by use of a powerful new form of argument which he calls transcendental argument and which, in my opinion, provides not only reasons but also good reasons for the defence of some of our most central instinctive beliefs. The strategy involved in this kind of argument is to reflect on the necessary preconditions for comprehensible experience. In this way, some beliefs which are subject to sceptical attack, such as that there is a causal order between objects which exist independently of our experience of them, can be found to be the essential preconditions for having comprehensible experience at all. The reason for accepting them is, therefore, that they are the necessary preconditions of having any beliefs at all; and this provides a good, rather than a bad, reason for accepting these particular instinctive beliefs. (shrink)
Since its founding in the nineteenth century, social anthropology has been seen as the study of exotic peoples in faraway places. But today more and more anthropologists are dedicating themselves not just to observing but to understanding and helping solve social problems wherever they occur--in international aid organizations, British TV studios, American hospitals, or racist enclaves in Eastern Europe, for example. In Exotic No More , an initiative of the Royal Anthropological Institute, some of today's most respected anthropologists demonstrate, in (...) clear, unpretentious prose, the tremendous contributions that anthropology can make to contemporary society. They cover issues ranging from fundamentalism to forced migration, child labor to crack dealing, human rights to hunger, ethnicity to environmentalism, intellectual property rights to international capitalisms. But Exotic No More is more than a litany of gloom and doom the essays also explore topics usually associated with leisure or "high" culture, including the media, visual arts, tourism, and music. Each author uses specific examples from their fieldwork to illustrate their discussions, and 62 photographs enliven the text. Throughout the book, the contributors highlight anthropology's commitment to taking people seriously on their own terms, paying close attention to what they are saying and doing, and trying to understand how they see the world and why. Sometimes this bottom-up perspective makes the strange familiar, but it can also make the familiar strange, exposing the cultural basis of seemingly "natural" behaviors and challenging us to rethink some of our most cherished ideas--about gender, "free" markets, "race," and "refugees," among many others. Contributors: William O. Beeman Philippe Bourgois John Chernoff E. Valentine Daniel Alex de Waal Judith Ennew James Fairhead Sarah Franklin Michael Gilsenan Faye Ginsburg Alma Gottlieb Christopher Hann Faye V. Harrison Richard Jenkins Melissa Leach Margaret Lock Jeremy MacClancy Jonathan Mazower Ellen Messer A. David Napier Nancy Scheper-Hughes Jane Schneider Parker Shipton Christopher B. Steiner. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article is in part an intervention in the ongoing debate inaugurated by Peter Harrison in 2002 when he called into question the validity of what had come by then to be called ‘the voluntarism and science thesis.’ Though it subsequently drew support from such historians of science as J.E. McGuire, Margaret Osler, Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs and, more recently, John Henry, the origins of the thesis are usually traced back to articles published in 1934–1936 and 1961 respectively (...) by the philosopher Michael Foster and the historian of ideas Francis Oakley. While classifying Foster’s work as pertaining to the ecology of ideas rather than their history, the article argues for the complementarity of the two approaches and seeks, not only to vindicate the voluntarism and science thesis itself but also to locate it within the broader constellation of ideas embracing legal and political as well as natural philosophy that the political philosopher Michael Oakeshott characterized as pertaining to a fundamental tradition of European thinking dominated by the master conceptions of Will and Artifice. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert offers an incisive new approach to a classic problem of political philosophy: when and why should I do what the law tells me to do? Do I have special obligations to conform to the laws of my own country and if so, why? In what sense, if any, must I fight in wars in which my country is engaged, if ordered to do so, or suffer the penalty for law-breaking the law imposes - including the death penalty? (...) Gilbert's accessible book offers a provocative and compelling case in favour of citizens' obligations to the state, while examining how these can be squared with self-interest and other competing considerations. (shrink)
The philosophy department in Edinburgh is in David Hume tower; the philosophy faculty at Cambridge is in Sidgwick Avenue. In one way, no competition. Everybody has heard of Hume, whereas even the anybody who's anybody may not have heard of Sidgwick. Yet in another way, Sidgwick wins this arcane contest. For if David Hume, contradicting the Humean theory of personal identity, were to return to Edinburgh, he would not recognize the tower. Whereas, if someone with more success in rearousing spirits (...) than Sidgwick himself had could now produce him, Sidgwick would know the avenue. For he planned it; he partially paid for it; and he pushed it past the local opposition. He was its creator. And creator not just of the avenue: if Sidgwick is not quite the only begetter, it was he more than anyone who was responsible for building the school of philosophy in Cambridge which is being celebrated in this series of articles. (shrink)
Margaret Whitford's study provides the ideal introduction to Irigaray's thought, offering a sustained interpretation of her whole corpus, including previously untranslated French texts. Whitford suggests that Irigaray's work should be seen as "philosophy in the feminine," actively opposing the complicity of philosophy with other social practices which exclude or marginalize women.
Moral Repair examines the ethics and moral psychology of responses to wrongdoing. Explaining the emotional bonds and normative expectations that keep human beings responsive to moral standards and responsible to each other, Margaret Urban Walker uses realistic examples of both personal betrayal and political violence to analyze how moral bonds are damaged by serious wrongs and what must be done to repair the damage. Focusing on victims of wrong, their right to validation, and their sense of justice, Walker presents (...) a unified and detailed philosophical account of hope, trust, resentment, forgiveness, and making amends - the emotions and practices that sustain moral relations. Moral Repair joins a multidisciplinary literature concerned with transitional and restorative justice, reparations, and restoring individual dignity and mutual trust in the wake of serious wrongs. (shrink)
One of the hallmarks of Kantian philosophy, especially in connection with its characterization of scientific knowledge, is the importance of unity, a theme that is also the driving force behind a good deal of contemporary high energy physics. There are a variety of ways that unity figures in modern science—there is unity of method where the same kinds of mathematical techniques are used in different sciences, like physics and biology; the search for unified theories like the unification of electromagnetism and (...) optics by Maxwell; and, more recently, the project of grand unification or the quest for a theory of everything which involves a reduction of the four fundamental forces under the umbrella of a single theory. In this latter case it is thought that when energies are high enough, the forces, while very different in strength, range and the types of particles on which they act, become one and the same force. The fact that these interactions are known to have many underlying mathematical features in common suggests that they can all be described by a unified field theory. Such a theory describes elementary particles in terms of force fields which further unifies all the interactions by treating particles and interactions in a technically and conceptually similar way. It is this theoretical framework that allows for the prediction that measurements made at a certain energy level will supposedly indicate that there is only one type of force. In other words, not only is there an ontological reduction of the forces themselves but the mathematical framework used to describe the fields associated with these forces facilitates their description in a unified theory. Specific types of symmetries serve an important function in establishing these kinds of unity, not only in the construction of quantum field theories but also in the classification of particles; classifications that can lead to new predictions and new ways of understanding properties like quantum numbers. Hence, in order to address issues about unification and reduction in contemporary physics we must also address the way that symmetries facilitate these processes. (shrink)
This is a revised edition of Walker's well-known book in feminist ethics first published in 1997. Walker's book proposes a view of morality and an approach to ethical theory which uses the critical insights of feminism and race theory to rethink the epistemological and moral position of the ethical theorist, and how moral theory is inescapably shaped by culture and history. The main gist of her book is that morality is embodied in "practices of responsibility" that express our identities, values, (...) and connections to others in socially patterned ways. Thus ethical theory needs to be empirically informed and politically critical to avoid reiterating forms of socially entrenched bias. Responsible ethical theory should reveal and question the moral significance of social differences. The book engages with, and challenges, the work of contemporary analytic philosophers in ethics. Moral Understandings has been influential in reaching a global audience in ethics and feminist philosophy, as well as in tangential fields like nursing ethics; research ethics; disability ethics; environmental ethics, and social and political theory. This revised edition contains a new preface, a substantive postscript to Chapter 1 about "the subject of moral philosophy"; the addition of a new chapter on the importance of emotion in practices of responsibility; and the addition of an afterword, which responds to critics of the book. (shrink)
IDEAS. and. MECHANISM. Essays on Early Modern Philosophy MARGARET DAULER WILSON For more than three decades, Margaret Wilson's essays on early modern philosophy have influenced scholarly debate. Many are considered ...
Religion has in the past, it may be truefully admitted, done more than its share of fostering the spirit of ‘we’ over against ‘they’. Economic and political factors have unfortunately, throughout history, clogged the channels of communication between men of one faith and those of another. The most unhappy aspect of the relation between religion and society has been the way in which the former has fostered the distinction between the insider and the outsider. Typical of this is the fact (...) that most religious communities have a word which describes the religious outsider and the word is never a flattering one. That there should be religious diversity in the first place should occasion no surprise. Diversification is the order of things in the biological realm and we would not expect to find a sudden departure from this, that is, a move towards convergence, in the sphere of religion. But unless diversification is matched with understanding and with communication we face the future at our peril. It is for this reason that the question of inter-religious communication, the ground of its possibility, can be regarded not only as the most pressing of problems for the student of comparative religion but as a matter of pressing urgency for all. (shrink)
A principal source of interest in behavioral economics has been its advertised contributions to policies aimed at ‘nudging’ people away from allegedly natural but self-defeating behavior toward patterns of response thought more likely to improve their welfare. This has occasioned controversies among economists and philosophers around the normative limits of paternalism, especially by technical policy advisors. One recent suggestion has been that ‘boosting,’ in which interventions aim to enhance people’s general cognitive skills and representational repertoires instead of manipulating their choice (...) environments behind their backs, avoids the main normative challenges. A limitation in most of this literature is that it has focused on relatively sweeping policy recommendations and consequently on strong polar alternatives of general paternalism and strict laissez faire. We review a real instance, drawn from a consulting project we conducted for an investment bank, of a proposed intervention that is more typical of the kind that economists are more often actually called upon to offer. In this example, the sophistication of current tools for preference attribution, combined with philosophical externalism about the semantics of preferences that makes it less plausible to attribute their literal self-conscious representation to people as propositional attitude content becomes more tightly refined, blocks applicability of the distinction between nudging and boosting. This seems to call for irreducible, context-specific ethical judgment in assessing the appropriateness of the forms of paternalism that economists must actually wrestle with in going about their everyday business. (shrink)
Being morally responsible means being blameworthy and deserving of punishment if we do wrong and praiseworthy and deserving reward if we do right. In what follows I shall argue that in all likelihood we're not morally responsible. None of us. Ever.
‘I see well enough what poor Kant would be at’ said James Mill on first looking into the Kritik der reinen Vernunft. No one would wish to say that the reception of Kant in England has remained at this level: abundance of sound scholarship, innumerable Kant seminars and the swell of interest in transcendental argument which has developed since the Second World War all exist to prove the contrary. But in spite of all that, Mill's response still touches a chord (...) in English breasts. We are prone to think Kant a conjurer. If we are to accept, or even to work seriously with, any version of Kantianism it must be a demythologized, logically aseptic version. Strawson's Kant, for instance, is a Kant freed from the ‘strained analogy’ between the study of the conditions of sense, or intelligibility, and the study of the human cognitive system. And in moral philosophy too, the English Kantianism chiefly represented by the work of Professor R. M. Hare has scrupulously avoided those parts of Kant's ethics which have a suspiciously speculative flavour: the notion of an unqualified good, for example, or that of treating moral agents as Ends-in-Themselves; and more generally the whole notion, which permeates Kant's moral philosophy, that morality can only ultimately be understood in terms of a set of ideal relationships that entirely transcend all considerations of common-sense mutual accommodation or rational self-interest: transcend all such considerations so radically, in fact, as to point mutely towards the possibility of a life after death. (shrink)
This paper suffers from a disconcerting generality. I need an excuse for wandering from Wittgenstein's Tractatus to Picasso's drawing of a Weeping Woman, via the philosophy of science and the theory of sense data. The thesis of the paper is that I have such an excuse. These are all areas where the concept of representation either exists in its own right, or has been found to be illuminating by philosophers. An important question is whether it could be the same concept (...) in all these cases. I wish to claim that there is an illuminating common concept, even though to find it may require some fairly drastic modifications of some of the philosophical theses that are involved. (shrink)
Many contexts shape and limit moral thinking in philosophy and life. Human conditions of vulnerability and interdependency, of limited awareness and control, of imperfect insight into ourselves and others are inevitable contexts that neither moral thought nor theory should forget. To be truly reflective, moral thinking and moral philosophy must become aware of the contexts that bind our thinking about how to live. This collection of essays by Margaret Urban Walker seek to show how to do this, and why (...) it makes a difference. Contingent and changeable contexts that shape moral thinking include our individual histories, our social positions, and institutional roles, relationships, cultural settings, and social arrangements, and the specific moral idioms we pick up along the way. The paradigms and specialized language of ethical theory are contexts, too; they shape how moral theory looks and what or whom it looks at. Ethical theory and practice are meaningless without these Moral Contexts. (shrink)
Margaret Boden presents a series of essays in which she explores the nature of creativity in a wide range of art forms. Creativity is the generation of novel, surprising, and valuable ideas. Boden identifies three forms of creativity each eliciting a different form of surprise.
The underdetermination of scientific theory choice by evidence is a familiar but multifaceted concept in the philosophy of science. I answer two pressing questions about underdetermination: “What is underdetermination?” and “Why should we care about underdetermination?” To answer the first question, I provide a general definition of underdetermination, identify four forms of underdetermination, and discuss major criticisms of each form. To answer the second question, I then survey two common uses of underdetermination in broader arguments against scientific realism and in (...) support of the use of values in scientific theory choice. I conclude that philosophers should also care about underdetermination because it impacts scientists in their practice. (shrink)