The Stance team spoke with Charles Mills, noted philosopher and John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University whose work focuses on issues of social class, gender, and race, on December 1, 2014. Dr. Mills reviewed Stance’s transcription of the interview and made slight corrections for grammar, style, and reduction of repetition. He also inserted a sentence or two to add clarity. We hope readers find the result illuminating.
Between the later views of Wittgenstein and those of connectionism 1 on the subject of the mastery of language there is an impressively large number of similarities. The task of establishing this claim is carried out in the second section of this paper.
Liberalism is the political philosophy of equal persons, yet liberalism has denied equality to those it saw as black sub-persons. In Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism, political philosopher Charles Mills challenges mainstream accounts that ignore this history and its current legacy in the United States today.
In this paper, Charles Mills discusses what he calls “white ignorance”, developing one of the main themes of his 1997 book, The Racial Contract. His discussion is concerned with the idea of a cognitive disadvantage based on membership in a social group, which is not strange to the radical philosophical tradition, and that has been explored with more vigor in the recent Social Epistemology, in debates about epistemic injustices, silencing, willful ignorance, cognitive biases, epistemological standpoints, etc. Mills argues (...) for an “Epistemology of the white ignorance”, a racially and socially situated epistemology, which contraposes itself, in a great extent, to the individualistic tendencies of the traditional epistemological work, while conserving the interests in objectivity and truth of this work. (shrink)
Feminism and postcolonialism are allies, and the impressive selection of writings brought together in this volume demonstrate how fruitful that alliance can be. Reina Lewis and Sara Mills have assembled a brilliant selection of thinkers, organizing them into six categories: "Gendering Colonialism and Postcolonialism/Radicalizing Feminism," "Rethinking Whiteness," "Redefining the 'Third World' Subject," "Sexuality and Sexual Rights," "Harem and the Veil," and "Gender and Post/colonial Relations." A bibliography complements the wide-ranging essays. This is the ideal volume for any reader interested (...) in the development of postcoloniality and feminist thought. (shrink)
It is impossible to imagine contemporary critical theory without the work of Michel Foucault. His radical reworkings of the concepts of power, knowledge, discourse and identity have influenced the widest possible range of theories and impacted upon disciplinary fields from literary studies to anthropology. Aimed at students approaching Foucault's texts for the first time, this volume offers: * an examination of Foucault's contexts * a guide to his key ideas * an overview of responses to his work * practical hints (...) on 'using Foucault' * an annotated guide to his most influential works * suggestions for further reading. Challenging not just what we think but how we think, Foucault's work remains the subject of heated debate. Sara Mills' Michel Foucault offers an introduction to both the ideas and the debate, fully equipping student readers for an encounter with this most influential of thinkers. (shrink)
In their responses to James Tully’s article “Deparochializing Political Theory and Beyond,” Garrick Cooper, Charles W. Mills, Sudipta Kaviraj and Sor-hoon Tan engage with different aspects of Tully’s “genuine dialogue.” While they seem to concur with Tully on the urgency of deparochializing political theory, their responses bring to light salient issues which would have to be thought through in taking this project forward.
Mills argues for a new critical theory that develops the insights of the black radical political tradition. While challenging conventional interpretations of key Marxist concepts and claims, the author contends that Marxism has been 'white' insofar as it has failed to recognize the centrality of race and white supremacy to the making of the modern world.
Issue two contained three pieces arguing against relativism: the view that what is true from one individual's or community's perspective might be false from another, that there is no ‘absolute’ truth on any issue. Here David Mills, an anthropologist, argues that, even if we are right to reject philosophical relativism, there is still value in embracing a methodological form of relativism.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau was a man of deep intellect, of strongly held philosophy, and of bold - if not occasionally audacious - personality. He was no high-minded, distant philosopher-ruler however. A consummate pragmatist, Trudeau sought to be a moral man of action. This important work looks his intellectual evolution as a young man, in the years before he entered politics.Beautifully written, this biography also paints a fascinating, colourful and multilayered portrait of Trudeau. Born into a wealthy family, Trudeau's years among (...) then-Jesuits at Brébeuf College in Montreal were formative, among other reasons for what would become his long-term interaction with Catholicism. Following law school at University of Montreal, Trudeau studied at Harvard in the US, at LSE in London, England, and at Sciences Po in Paris. Mills' considers the biggest influences on Trudeau, including Harold Laski, Jacques Maritain, and Emmanuel Mounier. Mills also recounts Trudeau's travels across the world throughout the 1950s, travelling in Europe, the Near and Far East, Egypt and Sudan, the USSR, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, regions in West Africa, Israel, Vietnam, Persia and Taiwan. A chapter considers Trudeau's evolving thought on Federalism and Nationalism, both internationally and in terms of Quebec and Canada. A chapter on Trudeau's moralism highlights his belief that politics requires individuals of conscience, who have the courage to speak frankly about their beliefs. Mills' biography shows us that understanding Trudeau the thinker is key to understanding Trudeau the politician, whose life was both a practical and a theoretical one. He was a cool political thinker who believed that clear analysis of political questions was essential to good governance. (shrink)
Sara Mills offers a trenchant analysis of the complexities of social relations--including notions of class, nationality and gender--and spatial relations, landscape, topography and travel, in post-colonial contexts.
The question of what constitutes psychic reality has been of interest to philosophers and psychologists for as long as humans have thought about the mind. In Origins, Jon Mills presents a provocative challenge to contemporary theories of the difference between the mind and body in neuroscience. By re-examining our understanding of the unconscious, he explains the birth of the psyche and provides a detailed account of the ways in which subjectivity is formed. In the first comprehensive work to articulate (...) a psychoanalytic metaphysics based on process thought, the author uses dialectical logic to show how the nature and structure of mental life is constituted. Arguing that ego development is produced not only by consciousness but also evolves from unconscious genesis, he makes the controversial claim that an unconscious semiotics serves as the template for language and all meaning structures. A thought-provoking account of idealism, Origins confronts the limitations of materialism and empiricism while salvaging the roles of agency and freedom that have been neglected by the biological sciences. (shrink)
Moving from the social and political arena to the choices we face in our own private lives, Claudia Mills asks how information about someone’s mental illness should be shared with others. While open communication about mental illness works toward the important goal of reducing its unfair stigma, it can cause harm or embarrassment, violate privacy, and challenge an individual’s own preferred self-representation. She offers tentative guidelines for how to proceed on this sensitive and morally charged issue.
Psychoanalysis has traditionally had difficulty in accounting for the existence of evil. Freud saw it as a direct expression of unconscious forces, whereas more recent theorists have examined the links between early traumatic experiences and later ‘evil’ behaviour. _Humanizing Evil: Psychoanalytic, Philosophical and Clinical Perspectives _explores the controversies surrounding definitions of evil, and examines its various forms, from the destructive forces contained within the normal mind to the most horrific expressions observed in contemporary life. Ronald Naso and _Jon Mills_ bring (...) together an international group of experts to explore how more subtle factors can play a part, such as conformity pressures, or the morally destabilizing effects of anonymity, and show how analysts can understand and work with such factors in clinical practice._ _Each chapter is unified by the view that evil is intrinsically linked to human freedom, regardless of the gap experienced by perpetrators between their intentions and consequences. While some forms of evil follow seamlessly from psychopathology, others call this relationship into question. Rape, murder, serial killing, and psychopathy show very clear links to psychopathology and character whereas the horrors of war, religious fundamentalism, and political extremism resist such reductionism. Humanizing _Evil_ is unique in the diversity of perspectives it brings to bear on the problem of evil. It will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, philosophers, and Jungians. Because it is an integrative depth-psychological effort, it will interest general readers as well as scholars from a variety of disciplines including the humanities, philosophy, religion, mental health, criminal justice, political science, sociology, and interdisciplinary studies. Ronald Naso, Ph.D., ABPP is psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist in independent practice in Stamford, CT. The author of numerous papers on psychoanalytic topics, he is an associate editor of _Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies_, and contributing editor of _Division/Review _and _Journal of Psychology and Clinical Psychiatry_. His book, _Hypocrisy Unmasked: Dissociation, Shame, and the Ethics of Inauthenticity_, was published by Aronson in 2010. Jon Mills, Psy.D., Ph.D., ABPP is a philosopher, psychoanalyst, and clinical psychologist. He is Professor of Psychology & Psychoanalysis at Adler Graduate Professional School, Toronto. A 2006, 2011, and 2013 Gradiva Award winner, he is Editor of two book series in psychoanalysis, on the Editorial Board for _Psychoanalytic Psychology_, and is the author and/or editor of thirteen books including his most recent works, _Underworlds: Philosophies of the Unconscious from Psychoanalysis to Metaphysics_, and _Conundrums: A Critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis_, which won the Goethe Award for best book in 2013. (shrink)
_Contract and Domination _offers a bold challenge to contemporary contract theory, arguing that it should either be fundamentally rethought or abandoned altogether. Since the publication of John Rawls's _A Theory of Justice_, contract theory has once again become central to the Western political tradition. But gender justice is neglected and racial justice almost completely ignored. Carole Pateman and Charles Mills's earlier books, _The Sexual Contract _ and _The Racial Contract _, offered devastating critiques of gender and racial domination and (...) the contemporary contract tradition's silence on them. Both books have become classics of revisionist radical democratic political theory. Now Pateman and Mills are collaborating for the first time in an interdisciplinary volume, drawing on their insights from political science and philosophy. They are building on but going beyond their earlier work to bring the sexual and racial contracts together. In _Contract and Domination_, Pateman and Mills discuss their differences about contract theory and whether it has a useful future, excavate the settler contract that created new civil societies in North America and Australia, argue via a non-ideal contract for reparations to black Americans, confront the evasions of contemporary contract theorists, explore the intersections of gender and race and the global sexual-racial contract, and reply to their critics. This iconoclastic book throws the gauntlet down to mainstream white male contract theory. It is vital reading for anyone with an interest in political theory and political philosophy, and the systems of male and racial domination. (shrink)
_Contract and Domination_ offers a bold challenge to contemporary contract theory, arguing that it should either be fundamentally rethought or abandoned altogether. Since the publication of John Rawls's _A Theory of Justice_, contract theory has once again become central to the Western political tradition. But gender justice is neglected and racial justice almost completely ignored. Carole Pateman and Charles Mills's earlier books, _The Sexual Contract_ and _The Racial Contract_, offered devastating critiques of gender and racial domination and the contemporary (...) contract tradition's silence on them. Both books have become classics of revisionist radical democratic political theory. Now Pateman and Mills are collaborating for the first time in an interdisciplinary volume, drawing on their insights from political science and philosophy. They are building on but going beyond their earlier work to bring the sexual and racial contracts together. In _Contract and Domination_, Pateman and Mills discuss their differences about contract theory and whether it has a useful future, excavate the settler contract that created new civil societies in North America and Australia, argue via a non-ideal contract for reparations to black Americans, confront the evasions of contemporary contract theorists, explore the intersections of gender and race and the global sexual-racial contract, and reply to their critics. This iconoclastic book throws the gauntlet down to mainstream white male contract theory. It is vital reading for anyone with an interest in political theory and political philosophy, and the systems of male and racial domination. (shrink)
Hegel's interpretation of Sophocles' play Antigone is central to an understanding of woman's role in the Hegelian system. Hegel is fascinated by this play and uses it in both the Phenomenology and the Philosophy of Right to demonstrate that familial ethical life is woman's unique responsibility. Antigone is revealed as the paradigmatic figure of womanhood and family life in both the ancient and modern worlds, although there are fundamental differences between these two worlds for Hegel. Through an immanent critique of (...) both the Phenomenology and the Philosophy of Right which focuses on the role of woman as presented by Hegel in the figure of Antigone, my analysis reveals the limitations of Hegel’s dialectical theory. (shrink)
The concept of "fitness" is a notion of central importance to evolutionary theory. Yet the interpretation of this concept and its role in explanations of evolutionary phenomena have remained obscure. We provide a propensity interpretation of fitness, which we argue captures the intended reference of this term as it is used by evolutionary theorists. Using the propensity interpretation of fitness, we provide a Hempelian reconstruction of explanations of evolutionary phenomena, and we show why charges of circularity which have been levelled (...) against explanations in evolutionary theory are mistaken. Finally, we provide a definition of natural selection which follows from the propensity interpretation of fitness, and which handles all the types of selection discussed by biologists, thus improving on extant definitions. (shrink)
Issues in reproductive ethics, such as the capacity of parents to ‘choose children’, present challenges to philosophical ideas of freedom, responsibility and harm. This book responds to these challenges by proposing a new framework for thinking about the ethics of reproduction that emphasizes the ways that social norms affect decisions about who is born. The book provides clear and thorough discussions of some of the dominant problems in reproductive ethics - human enhancement and the notion of the normal, reproductive liberty (...) and procreative beneficence, the principle of harm and discrimination against disability - while also proposing new ways of addressing these. The author draws upon the work of Michel Foucault, especially his discussions of biopolitics and norms, and later work on ethics, alongside feminist theorists of embodiment to argue for a new bioethics that is responsive to social norms, human vulnerability and the relational context of freedom and responsibility. This is done through compelling discussions of new technologies and practices, including the debate on liberal eugenics and human enhancement, the deliberate selection of disabilities, PGD and obstetric ultrasound. (shrink)
In this article, I consider recent debates on the notion of procreative liberty, to argue that reproductive freedom can be understood as a form of positive freedom—that is, the freedom to make oneself according to various ethical and aesthetic principles or values. To make this argument, I draw on Michel Foucault’s later work on ethics. Both adopting and adapting Foucault’s notion of ethics as a practice of the self and of liberty, I argue that reproductive autonomy requires enactment to gain (...) meaning within the life contexts of prospective parents. Thus, I propose a shift away from the standard negative model of freedom that sees it solely as a matter of noninterference or nonimpedance, a view advocated by major commentators such as John Harris and John Robertson. Instead, reproduction should be understood as a deeply personal project of self-making that integrates both negative and positive freedom. (shrink)
In this article I assess the ability of motivational accounts of paternalism to respond to a particular challenge: can its proponents adequately explain the source of the distinctive form of disrespect that animates this view? In particular I examine the recent argument put forward by Jonathan Quong that we can explain the presumptive wrong of paternalism by relying on a Rawlsian account of moral status. I challenge the plausibility of Quong's argument, claiming that although this approach can provide a clear (...) response to the explanatory challenge, it is only successful in doing so when it relies on the strength of its rival: the argument from personal autonomy. In doing so I illustrate that such responses are conceptually dependent on an account of respect for persons, and thus much of the relevant controversy is actually disagreement over how we respect other individuals. (shrink)
Critical management studies (CMS) has emerged as an influential paradigm for organization and management researchers in the last three decades. While various strands of CMS have been adopted to conceptualize or empirically investigate a myriad of organizational phenomena, researchers in the field have yet to substantively apply this paradigm to the study of business ethics. This is unfortunate inasmuch as CMS potentially offers important analytical tools from which to address a range of germane issues pertaining to business ethics. As such, (...) the aim of this article is to broadly introduce CMS to the business ethics scholarly community, underscoring particularly its central ontological and epistemological commitments. This article further identifies several important CMS-inflected research trajectories that scholars may pursue to explore pressing questions related to business ethics. In sum, the authors underscore the utility of CMS to the study business ethics and call for increased inquiry in this intersectional domain. (shrink)
Since its original 1996 publication,Jorge Garcia''s ``The Heart of Racism'''' has beenwidely reprinted, a testimony to its importanceas a distinctive and original analysis ofracism. Garcia shifts the standard framework ofdiscussion from the socio-political to theethical, and analyzes racism as essentially avice. He represents his account asnon-revisionist (capturing everyday usage),non-doxastic (not relying on belief),volitional (requiring ill-will), and moralized(racism is always wrong). In this paper, Icritique Garcia''s analysis, arguing that hedoes in fact revise everyday usage, that hisaccount does tacitly rely on belief, (...) thatill-will is not necessary for racism, and thata moralized account gets both the scope and thedynamic of racism wrong. While I do not offeran alternative positive account myself, Isuggest that traditional left-wing structuralanalyses are indeed superior. (shrink)
Despite the fact that ethics consultations are an accepted practice in most healthcare organizations, many clinical ethicists continue to feel marginalized by their institutions. They are often not paid for their time, their programs often have no budget, and institutional leaders are frequently unaware of their activities. One consequence has been their search for concrete ways to evaluate their work in order to prove the importance of their activities to their institutions through demonstrating their efficiency and effectiveness.
We are beings endowed with “personal capacities”—the capacity for reason, for a concept of self, perhaps more. Among ontologically salient views about what else we are, I focus on the “Big Three.” According to animalism, we are animals that have psychological properties only contingently. According to psychologistic materialism, we are material beings; according to substance dualism, we are either immaterial beings or composites of immaterial and material ones; but according to both psychologistic materialism and substance dualism, we essentially have some (...) psychological properties. I argue that—contrary to what has been argued and is natural to think—none of the Big Three yields different assignments of moral status to early fetuses from any of the others, and consequently the moral status of early abortion doesn’t depend on which (if any) of these views of personal ontology is correct. (shrink)