Canadian theorists and philosophers are recognized internationally for their contributions to normative debates about citizenship, multiculturalism, and nationalism. The superb essays collected here reflect a broad range of contemporary political and philosophical issues: liberalism and citizenship; equality, justice, and gender; minority rights and identity; nationalism and self-determination; and the history of political philosophy.
This is a critical review of In the Agora: The Public Face of Canadian Philosophy. It argues that this book does not adequately represent the public face of Canadian philosophy, though it contains some first-rate contributions.
I ask whether we need African Canadian philosophy and attempt to provide an answer by considering a series of other questions that can be understood as alternative versions of the initial question. I ask (1) whether we need African Canadian philosophers; (2) whether we need philosophy focused on the African Canadian experience; (3) whether we already have African Canadian philosophy; (4) whether anybody of any background can do African Canadian philosophy; and (5) what African (...) class='Hi'>Canadian philosophy will do for us. I conclude that we do need African Canadian philosophy. (shrink)
This is a collection of Canadian legal decisions, mostly from the highest court of the land, that raise and respond to central issues in political and legal philosophy and social ethics. All the issues raised by these cases are current and controversial. They include: the scope of judicial review and legitimate powers of the courts; separation of powers; the nature and scope of rights of speech, association, Aboriginal rights, and legal protections in criminal prosecution; equality and its pursuit in (...) a free and democratic society; autonomy and its protection; the nature of legal responsibility in criminal and tort law; and legitimate punishment. This edition takes into account the many changes that have occurred in our court's interpretation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Twelve new cases have been added, as has a new section on "Group Self-Determination" that takes into account important changes in Aboriginal rights. Many of the cases from the previous edition have been re-edited and slightly expanded, with "follow up" cases included to reflect how they are now interpreted. (shrink)
Professor John Gardner says on the jacket, “these essays – without exception insightful and penetrating – set a high standard for the rest of us to aspire to.” This collection of 15 essays by 16 Canadian authors originated in a conference at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. The majority of contributors are based in southern Ontario . Two are from western Canada , two from the UK and one from the US . The essays are arranged in three (...) parts, the first being subdivided according to subject matter. It is a good thing for criminal law theorists to interest themselves in all facets of the subject. On the other hand, some will be deterred by the presence of essays on topics outside their specialty. It must be said that it is a well-produced book, even containing a subject index. I hope this book has wide circulation. (shrink)
H.A. Prichard argued that the “why should I be moral?” question is the central subject matter of moral theory. Prichard famously claimed to have proved that all efforts to answer that question are doomed. Many contributors to this volume of contemporary papers attempt to reconstruct Prichard’s argument. They claim either explicitly or implicitly that Prichard was mistaken, and philosophy can contribute to meaningful engagement with the ‘why be moral?’ question. A theme to emerge from these papers is that arguments like (...) Prichard’s rely on numerous philosophical presuppositions. The volume therefore touches on a wide range of topics and treatments. Is there one kind of practical reason or multiple kinds of reasons? Are there separate facts that determine the rationality and reasonableness of persons? Does the conception of a practical reason found in classical philosophy have the resources to undercut Prichard’s argument? Does it make sense to hold people morally accountable for their actions if it cannot be demonstrated that there are reasons to be moral? Does applied ethics have anything to contribute to the debate on morality’s rational authority? This volume will be useful for advanced undergraduates and specialists working on the foundations of morality, and morality’s intersection with reason and rationality. The detailed introduction enhances the collection’s accessibility by providing a detailed exposition of Prichard’s renowned thesis that draws on his lesser-known, mature papers. It then carefully situates the volume’s contents against that background. (shrink)
This volume contains ten chapters, each of which takes up a different question in contemporary moral or political philosophy. The volume has three parts: meta-ethics, issues in freedom and autonomy, and contemporary political philosophy. In the meta-ethical section, the chapters address issues concerning acts and their value, the plausibility of aggregation and counting with respect to the value of human lives, and the role of moral character in causing and explaining moral behavior. In the second section, the chapters take up (...) questions about the connection between moral imagination and a plausible account of integrity, the connection between autonomy and rights to property, and the difficulties facing internalist accounts of autonomy. In the final section, the chapters address issues concerning feminist critiques of Rawlsian liberalism, the limits of liberalism and communitarianism, the importance of understanding Rawls's social contract as a contract for institutions, and the morality of nationalist movements. These chapters reflect a cross-section of the issues concerning value that are of contemporary scholarly interest in Canada and the United States. (shrink)
Consider our attitude toward painful and pleasant experiences depend- ing on when they occur. A striking but rarely discussed feature of our attitude which Derek Parfit has emphasized is that we strongly wish painful experiences to lie in our past and pleasant experiences to lie in our future. Our asymmetrical attitudes toward future and past pains and pleasures can be forcefully illustrated by means of a thought-experiment described by Derek Parfit which I will paraphrase as follows.
Whatever the original intent, the introduction of the term 'thought experiment' has proved to be one of the great public relations coups of science writing, For generations of readers of scientific literature, the term has planted the seed of hope that the fragment of text they have just read is more than mundane. Because it was a thought experiment, does it not tap into that infallible font of all wisdom in empiricist science, the experiment? And because it was conducted in (...) thought, does it not miraculously escape the need for the elaborate laboratories and bloated budgets of experimental science? These questions in effect pose the epistemological problem of thought experiments in the sciences: Thought experiments are supposed to give us information about our physical world. From where can this information come? One enticing response to the problem is to imagine that thought experiments draw from some special source of knowledge of the world that transcends our ordinary epistemic resources. My purpose in this paper. (shrink)