Fiona Nicoll and MelissaGregg met on the job at a new university having both moved from Sydney to Brisbane to take up their appointments. Here they share reflections on teaching a cultural theory course that they inherited from a prominent Australian Professor of Cultural Studies, offering the perspectives of two consecutive generations of cultural studies theorists now teaching in the field since the early 1990s. This situation gives rise to new interpretations regarding the value and uses of (...) theory in the classroom. Noting the subtle differences involved in teaching the same theoretical material in different cities, the ironies of teaching radical cultural theory in a conservative institutional environment, and the specific opportunities and challenges of teaching cultural studies theory as opposed to others, the article considers some of the silences teachers must also contend with in their classroom practice, drawing on and expanding the terrain established by Thorkelson's thesis. (shrink)
Most conceptions of human rights rely on metaphysical or theological assumptions that construe them as possible only as something imposed from outside existing communities. Most people, in other words, presume that human rights come from nature, God, or the United Nations. This book argues that reliance on such putative sources actually undermines human rights. Benjamin Gregg envisions an alternative; he sees human rights as locally developed, freely embraced, and indigenously valid. Human rights, he posits, can be created by the (...) average, ordinary people to whom they are addressed, and that they are valid only if embraced by those to whom they would apply. To view human rights in this manner is to increase the chances and opportunities that more people across the globe will come to embrace them. (shrink)
On Ordered Liberty goes beyond the liberal and conservative divide, asking its readers to think about the proper ends of human choice and actions in a free society. Beginning with the insights of Alexis de Tocqueville and some natural law sources, author Samuel Gregg suggests that integral law must be distinguished from most contemporary visions of freedom. This requires, he believes, a complete repudiation of utilitarian ideas as incompatable with human nature and further analysis of the basic but often (...) neglected-question: what is man? (shrink)
This paper argues that the founding fathers of the tradition of Scottish Enlightenment natural jurisprudence, Gersholm Carmichael (1672–1729) and Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), articulated a view of rights that is pertinent to the contemporary dominance of the language of rights. Maintaining a metaphysical foundation for rights while drawing upon the early-modern Protestant natural law tradition, their conception of rights is more significantly indebted to the pre-modern scholastic natural law tradition than often realized. This is illustrated by exploring some of the background (...) to their respective theories of rights, detailing the precise reasoning that Carmichael and Hutcheson brought to bear upon their conception of rights, and then exploring their application of their understanding of rights to the question of property. (shrink)
Despite numerous obituaries to the contrary, Critical Theory, now half a century old, is still very much alive. The historical context in which the Frankfurt Circle worked has of course changed radically, as have forms of philosophy and social science. Hence no one can be surprised to find that the classical Frankfurt texts no longer shed direct light on contemporary society. Yet the various reconstructions of this tradition's potential for new social theory save it from the fate proclaimed for it (...) by the necrologists. Theory and Politics exemplifies this most recent type of scholarship. It neither consigns the Frankfurt tradition to a past of questionable relevance, nor reverently celebrates it'in an overly selective interpretation. (shrink)
To counter possibilities for human rights as cultural imperialism, (1) I develop a notion of human rights as culturally particular and valid only locally. But they are an increasingly generalizable particularism. (2) Because the incommensurability of different cultures does not entail an uncritical tolerance of just about anything, but rather allows for an objectivating stance toward other communities or cultures, locally valid human rights have a critical capacity. (3) Locally valid human rights promote a community's self-representation and thus allow for (...) diversity, rejecting the coercive (mis)representation of a community or culture as incapable of representing itself. (shrink)
One of the most certain truths in the world is Descartes' "I think, therefore I am". Descartes was so certain of the existence of some kind of essential _self_ that others have coined the term "Cartesian theater" to describe the sense that we all have of being the audience enjoying the rich play of our experiences. We tend to believe in an enduring self, independent of our individual percepts. Sometimes this virtual "self" in our mind, sitting in the audience of (...) the Cartesian theater who watches our thoughts is referred to as a homunculus. This is not necessarily to imply that most of us believe that the self or homunculus is an identifiable region of the brain like the pineal gland, just that at some level of organization, we assume that there is a self that is separate from the stuff that self experiences, remembers, thinks about, etc. (shrink)
Roger Penrose, in _The Emperor's New Mind_ (1989), writes about the way Mozart perceived music. Mozart did not play a piece in his mind in real time, or even speeded up, but could hold it before him all at once. We all do this, although usually for much shorter riffs than entire symphonies. I have argued that the all-at-onceness of our thoughts and perceptions is at least as inexplicable as what it is like to see red; I think the aural/temporal (...) all-at-onceness makes the point at least as vividly as the visual/spatial all-at-onceness of the curl of smoke in an art nouveau poster. (shrink)
There is a biological controversy of long standing between proponents of the Wilsonian view that all organisms of a certain class have at least one part that is a cell and proponents of the contradictory, or Dobellian, view that some organisms in the same class have no parts that are cells. The controversy is considered from the standpoint of the methodology of explication. It is concluded that on the grounds of prevalent biological usage, precision, utility and generality the Wilsonian view (...) may be defended successfully against attacks that have been made upon it. (shrink)
"We think that grass is green, that stones are hard, and that snow is cold. But physics assures us that the greenness of grass, the hardness of stones, and the coldness of snow, are not the greenness, hardness, and coldness that we know in our own experience, but something very different. The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.".
As we encounter things in the world around us, when do we judge something to be just a heap or aggregate of smaller things, like a pile of sand, and when do we judge it to be a true, unified, single thing? It depends, almost always, on how you look at it. I have argued that when we look at the world in strict reductionist terms, nothing above the sub-atomic level really counts as a holistic thing. Are there any things (...) above the micro level that really are inherent, single things in a way that does not depend on how you look at them? Do we have any reason to believe that there are, in contrast to the reductionist view, inherently unitary mid-level things in the universe? (shrink)
Internal mechanisms, especially those implicating the self, are crucial for the egoism-altruism debate. Self-liking is extended to close others and can be extended, through socialization and reinforcement experiences, to non-close others: Altruistic responses are directed toward others who are included in the self. The process of self-extension can account for cross-situational variability, contextual variability, and individual differences in altruistic behavior.
Krueger & Funder (K&F) overstate the defects of Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (NHST), and with it the magnitude of negativity bias within social psychology. We argue that replication matters more than NHST, that the pitfalls of NHST are not always or necessarily realized, and that not all biases are harmless offshoots of adaptive mental abilities.