Rebecca Bennett, in a recent paper dismissing Julian Savulescu's principle of procreative beneficence, advances both a negative and a positive thesis. The negative thesis holds that the principle's theoretical foundation – the notion of impersonal harm or non-person-affecting wrong – is indefensible. Therefore, there can be no obligations of the sort that the principle asserts. The positive thesis, on the other hand, attempts to plug an explanatory gap that arises once the principle has been rejected. That is, it holds (...) that the intuitions of those who adhere to the principle are not genuine moral intuitions, but instead simply give voice to mere (non-moral) preferences. This paper, while agreeing that Savulescu's principle does not express a genuine moral obligation, takes issue with both of Bennett's theses. It is suggested that the argument for the negative thesis is either weak or question-begging, while there is insufficient reason to suppose the positive thesis true. (shrink)
Rebecca Bennett, in a recent paper dismissing Julian Savulescu's principle of procreative beneficence, advances both a negative and a positive thesis. The negative thesis holds that the principle's theoretical foundation--the notion of impersonal harm or non-person-affecting wrong--is indefensible. Therefore, there can be no obligations of the sort that the principle asserts. The positive thesis, on the other hand, attempts to plug an explanatory gap that arises once the principle has been rejected. That is, it holds that the intuitions of (...) those who adhere to the principle are not genuine moral intuitions, but instead simply give voice to mere preferences. This paper, while agreeing that Savulescu's principle does not express a genuine moral obligation, takes issue with both of Bennett's theses. It is suggested that the argument for the negative thesis is either weak or question-begging, while there is insufficient reason to suppose the positive thesis true. (shrink)
ExcerptThe Summer 2010 issue of Telos contained an article by Rebecca E. Karl in which she alleged that, as President of the Association for Asian Studies, I argued in an “inaugural AAS speech’” that “the current appeal to a Confucian-inspired harmonious society (hexie shehui) provides evidence for the fact that the old Confucian lack of rights-thinking is the cultural basis for the CCP's lack of rights thinking.”1 No citation or footnote was offered for this allegation. First, let me clarify (...) that I never delivered an “inaugural AAS speech.” My official speech as president of the Association for Asian Studies was…. (shrink)
As philosophers of mind we seem to hold in common no very clear view about the relevance that work in psychology or the neurosciences may or may not have to our own favourite questions—even if we call the subject ‘philosophical psychology’. For example, in the literature we find articles on pain some of which do, some of which don't, rely more or less heavily on, for example, the work of Melzack and Wall; the puzzle cases used so extensively in discussions (...) of personal identity are drawn sometimes from the pleasant exercise of scientific fantasy, at times from surprising reports of scientific fact; and there are those who deny, as well as those who affirm, the importance of the discovery of rapid-eye-movement sleep to the philosophical treatment of dreaming. A general account of the relation between scientific, and philosophical, psychology is long overdue and of the first importance. Here I shall limit myself to just one area where the two seem to connect, discussing one type of neuropsychological research and its relevance to questions in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology. (shrink)
The answer to the title question which I want to defend in this paper is ‘none’. That is: I doubt strongly that the notion of ‘a self’ has any use whatsoever as part of an explanans for the explanandum ‘person’. Put another way: I shall argue that the question itself is misguided, pointing the inquirer in quite the wrong direction by suggesting that the term ‘self’ points to something which can sustain a philosophically interesting or important degree of reification.
This article, based on archival research and oral interviews, examines the personal and professional impact of desegregation on African American teachers in an urban southern setting by focusing on the life stories of two public school teachers, Kathleen Crosby and Bertha Maxwell-Roddey. Both taught in segregated schools, helped to desegregate Charlotte's public schools, and later forged successful career paths as administrators from 1946 to 1986. Focusing on the motivating factors and educational theories of these exemplary womanist teachers offers a (...) window into the lives of educators who forged new avenues for advancement in the urban South. This article also analyzes how the professional careers of Crosby and Maxwell-Roddey are emblematic of Tamera Beabuboeuf-Lafontant's theoretical concepts of womanist teaching. Patricia Hill Collins also argues that womanists strive to ensure group survival while pushing for institutional social change. Desegregation-era teachers such as Crosby and Maxwell-Roddey exemplify this dual purpose by expanding their mandate to serve to encompass political action as they challenged discriminatory school administrators and parents. These teachers practiced a form of caring activism that not only encouraged gender equality, but also adopted concepts of cultural nationalism to help Black children develop a positive self-identity (Beauboeuf-Lafonfant 2005, Collins 2000). (shrink)
Commissurotomy surgery has lately attracted considerable philosophical attention. It has seemed to some that the surgical scalpel that bisects the brain bisects consciousness and the mind as well; and that the ordinary concept of a person is thereby most seriously threatened. I shall assess the extent of the threat, arguing that it is overestimated. The argument begins with section III; section II, which describes the operation and its effects, should be omitted by those already familiar with these facts.
Challenging previous interpretations of Levinas that gloss over his use of the feminine or show how he overlooks questions raised by feminists, Claire Elise Katz explores the powerful and productive links between the feminine and religion in Levinas’s work. Rather than viewing the feminine as a metaphor with no significance for women or as a means to reinforce traditional stereotypes, Katz goes beyond questions of sexual difference to reach a more profound understanding of the role of the feminine in Levinas’s (...) conception of ethical responsibility. She combines feminist interpretations of Levinas with interpretations that focus on his Jewish writings to reveal that the feminine provides an important bridge between his philosophy and his Judaism. Katz’s reading of Levinas’s conception of the feminine against the backdrop of discussions of women of the Hebrew bible points to important shifts in contemporary philosophy toward the creation of life and care for the other. (shrink)
In his Meditations Descartes tells us that he initially thought error might be avoided if he withheld assent “no less carefully from what is not plainly certain and indubitable than from what is obviously false.” For example, he thinks it plainly certain and indubitable that he is “sitting by the fire, wearing a winter cloak, holding this paper in my hands, and so on.” And yet even what is “plainly certain and indubitable” can be doubted. “I will suppose, then, not (...) that there is a supremely good God, the source of truth; but that there is an evil spirit, who is supremely powerful and intelligent, and does his utmost to deceive me.” Such a deceiver can spin illusions that appear indubitably real and true—of hands, fire, cloak, paper—and not only when there are none present in any particular case but even where there are none at all in any case. “I will suppose that sky, air, earth, colors, shapes, sounds and all external objects are mere delusive dreams, by means of which he lays snares for my credulity.”2 The deceiver hypothesis is the most difficult skeptical doubt Descartes must surmount in the remaining Meditations. I say the deceiver hypothesis, and for Descartes the deceiver is a mere possibility, raised so as to motivate the reconstitution of knowledge that follows. That there might be a powerful deceiver is itself a threat to knowledge for Descartes. Indeed even the possibility of an evil deceiver is so powerful a threat that Descartes must do nothing less than prove God’s existence to reestablish certainty. It is only at the end of his Meditations that Descartes can say, as if looking back on a hysterical moment, that the evil deceiver idea was “exaggerated” and “ridiculous.”3.. (shrink)