This chapter argues that a Peircean philosophy of sex offers a non-reductionist approach to sex as a biological category. The chapter surveys traditional biological accounts of sex categories and several social constructivist accounts of sex. It then provides an overview of Peirce’s scholastic realism and his ethics of inquiry. While Peirce regarded the distinction between the sexes as a rare “polar distinction”, the chapter works to recover the nuanced view of sex that Peirce ought to have adopted had he extended (...) his scholastic realism to reproductive biology. Ultimately, the Peircean account offered treats sex differences as norms expressed as bimodal distributions. The chapter concludes by illustrating some applications of this Peircean philosophy of sex, and gesturing to those that we can yet barely imagine. (shrink)
In the face of the increasing substitution of free speech for academic freedom, I argue for the distinctiveness and irreplaceability of the latter. Academic freedom has evolved alongside universities in order to support the important social purpose universities serve. Having limned this evolution, I compare academic freedom and free speech. This comparison reveals freedom of expression to be an individual freedom, and academic freedom to be a group-differentiated freedom with a social purpose. I argue that the social purpose of academic (...) freedom behooves an inclusive approach to group differentiation. (shrink)
This chapter argues that for human, technological, and human-technological reasons, disagreement, critique, and counterspeech on social media fall squarely into the province of non-ideal theory. It concludes by suggesting a modest but challenging disposition that can help us when we are torn between opposing oppression and contributing to a flame war.
This chapter offers a plea for the media to reframe its coverage of campus controversies from free expression to academic freedom. These freedoms are entwined, but distinct. Freedom of expression is extended to all persons with no expectation of quality control, apart from legal prohibitions against defamation, threats, etc. By contrast, academic freedom is a cluster of freedoms afforded to scholarly personnel for a particular purpose – namely, the pursuit of universities’ academic mission to seek truth and advance understanding in (...) the service of society. An academic freedom framing better reflects the distinctive social purpose around which universities are organized, as well as universities’ duty of care to employees and students. While universities have a legal and moral duty of care to all employees and students, the unjust, exclusionary past and present of higher education arguably makes that duty particularly acute in the case of equity-deserving (e.g., racialized, Indigenous, disabled or 2SLGBTQ+) people. Finally, academic freedom framing for campus media stories is less monolithic than free expression framing, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of campus controversies while keeping universities accountable to the public they serve. In this chapter, I survey three very different campus controversies at a single Canadian university, and the media response each received. I show how an academic freedom frame for those stories would have produced better reportage while reducing opportunities for bad actors to manipulate both universities and the media. At the end of the day, the real crisis at universities isn’t the cancellation of ill-judged events that were never a part of the academic mission; it is the ongoing erosion of academic freedom. (shrink)
By tracing its own narrative from the feminist pragmatism of the 1980s-2000s back to the avant-la-lettre feminist pragmatism of the Progressive Era, this chapter explores the use of narrative within feminist pragmatism. It pays particular attention to uses of narrative in Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Anna Julia Cooper and Jane Addams to reveal the usefulness of narrative as a feminist pragmatist mode of inquiry and of elucidating meaning. The chapter concludes with a brief suggestion of where feminist pragmatist narrative may take (...) us next. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a prolegomenon to the philosophy of harm reduction. I begin with an overview of the philosophical literature on both harm and harm reduction, and a brief summary of harm reduction scholarship outside of philosophy in order to make the case that philosophers have something to contribute to understanding harm reduction, and moreover that engagement with harm reduction would improve philosophical scholarship. I then proceed to survey and assess the nascent and still modest philosophy of harm (...) reduction literature that has begun to emerge. I pay particular attention to two Canadian philosophers who have called for the expansion of harm reduction beyond the realm of so-called “vice”. Finally, I sketch some of the most interesting and important philosophical issues that I think the philosophy of harm reduction must grapple with going forward. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: I argue that when Spinoza describes substance and its attributes as he means that they are utterly indeterminate. That is, his conception of infinitude is not a mathematical one. For Spinoza, anything truly infinite eludes counting s conception is closer to a grammatical one. I conclude by considering a number of arguments against this account of the Spinozan infinite as indeterminate.
In this chapter I provide resources for assessing the charge that post-secondary students are self-censoring. The argument is advanced in three broad steps. First, I argue that both a duality at the heart of the concept of self-censorship and the term’s negative lay connotation should incline us to limit the charge of self-censorship to a specific subset of its typical extension. I argue that in general we ought to use the neutral term “refrainment from speech,” reserving the more normatively charged (...) “self-censorship” for cases of bad refrainment. In the second step of the argument, I seek to narrow down what counts as bad refrainment by mapping broad categories of possible reasons for and consequences of refrainment from speech. I argue that in general refrainment from speech is only bad if it is for bad (or what I will later term vicious) reasons or has pernicious consequences. When considering pernicious consequences, I argue that we should be concerned in particular about systems that perpetuate the coercive silencing of marginalized voices. I draw on Kristie Dotson’s work to describe two means by which marginalized voices are systemically silenced: testimonial quieting and testimonial smothering. After considering these types of silencing, I circle back to the post-secondary context to assess whether there is cause for concern if, as some reports suggests, US college students are refraining from speech within the educational context. (shrink)
How many sexes are there? What is the relationship between sex and gender? Is gender a product of nature, or nurture, or both? _In Beyond the Binary_, Shannon Dea addresses these questions and others while introducing readers to evidence and theoretical perspectives from a range of cultures and disciplines, and from sources spanning three millennia. Dea’s pluralistic and historically informed approach offers readers a timely background to current debates about sex and gender in the media, health sciences, and public policy.
Inspired by Peirce’s repeated claim in the final decade of his life that Spinoza was a pragmati(ci)st, this article examines whether or not Peirce also believed that Spinoza’s metaphysics leaves room for Firstness. He engaged this issue explicitly in his third “Lecture on Pragmatism” (1903), listing Spinoza’s among the metaphysics that include Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness. Moreover, over a decade earlier, in the context of his exploration of hyperbolic geometry and the evolutionary cosmology that he regarded as corresponding to it, (...) Peirce repeatedly (if obliquely) identified Spinoza with the cosmological model that embraces all three of the categories. The article concludes by sketching the ambitious thesis that Spinoza was not only, as is usually held, a necessitarian, but also a Peircean possibilist. (shrink)
The expression “continental rationalism” refers to a set of views more or less shared by a number of philosophers active on the European continent during the latter two thirds of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth. Rationalism is most often characterized as an epistemological position. On this view, to be a rationalist requires at least one of the following: (1) a privileging of reason and intuition over sensation and experience, (2) regarding all or most ideas as innate (...) rather than adventitious, (3) an emphasis on certain rather than merely probable knowledge as the goal of enquiry. While all of the continental rationalists meet one or more of these criteria, this is arguably the consequence of a deeper tie that binds them together—that is, a metaphysical commitment to the reality of substance, and, in particular, to substance as an underlying principle of unity. (shrink)
Diversity is becoming a watchword in philosophy. Increasingly, philosophers are working to diversify their syllabi, their journals, their textbooks, and their conferences. Admirable as this movement is, this approach to diversity can often be rather mechanistic in character – a mere totting-up of the number of women or members of under-represented groups on programmes and in tables of contents. Drawing on my work reconstructing and teaching a very diverse history of philosophy canon, I argue that a student-centred, inquiry-based pedagogy can (...) help both learners and teachers move from mechanistic surface-diversity to a rich, deep pluralism. This deep pluralism can inform and enrich both our pedagogy and our philosophical methodology. My argument has six steps. I Part 1, I explain why diversity and inclusiveness ought to be among our goals as teachers, researchers, and philosophers. In Part 2, I outline some approaches to improving diversity in the discipline. I contrast surface and deep approaches to diversity, and make a case for the latter. In Part 3, I describe what I call intentional course design – pedagogical design that builds diversity in from the ground up. I offer practical examples of intentionally designed courses in Part 4. In Part 5, I discuss individual and institutional limitations to intentional design and deep pedagogy. In Part 6, I conclude by extending the lessons of the foregoing sections to our scholarship and our discipline(s). (shrink)
Taking my lead from Robert Talisse and Scott Aikin's distinction between “meaning pragmatism” and “inquiry pragmatism,” and guided throughout by Christopher Hookway's understanding of Peirce, I revisit some of the best-known locuses of both Peirce's meaning pragmatism and his inquiry pragmatism, and conclude that the distinction dissolves in Peirce. For Peirce, the very mechanism for elucidating a concept's meaning, the pragmatic maxim, requires ongoing inquiry. Moreover, in performing an inquiry, we elucidate meaning.
In this paper, I elaborate affinities between Peirce, Spinoza and Royce, in order to illuminate the division between Peirce's and James's expressions of idealism. James contrasted Spinoza's and Royce's absolute idealism with his and Peirce's pluralistic idealism. I triangulate among Peirce, Spinoza and Royce to show that, contra James's view, Peirce himself was more at home in the absolutistic camp. In Section 2, I survey Peirce's discussions of Spinoza's pragmatism and of the divide within pragmatism Peirce perceived to obtain. In (...) Section 3, I elaborate two early twentieth-century accounts of the idealistic division within pragmatism, and James's criticisms of absolute idealism in Spinoza and Royce. In Section 4, we turn our attention to Peirce's discussions of the absolute, and to the role of the absolute and the infinite in the thought of Spinoza, Royce and James. In the classification of pragmatist idealisms, I argue, James stands on one side; Peirce stands on the other with Roy.. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: In Die Frage nach dem Ding, Martin Heidegger characterizes Galileo as an important transitional figure in the struggle to replace the Aristotelian conception of nature with that of Newton. However, Heidegger only attends to Galileo’s modernity and not to those Aristotelian elements still discernible in Galileo’s work. This article fleshes out both aspects in Galileo in light of Heidegger’s discussion. It concludes by arguing that the lacuna in Heidegger’s account of Galileo is the consequence of Heidegger’s own self-conscious modernity (...) − a modernity that he slyly hints at in a remark he makes in FD concerning Galileo and Democritus.RÉSUMÉ : Dans Die Frage nach dem Ding, Martin Heidegger qualifie Galilée de figure importante dans la lutte pour remplacer la conception aristotélicienne de la nature par celle de Newton. Toutefois, Heidegger examine seulement les traits modernes de Galilée et non ceux qui ressemblent à Aristote. Cet article précise ces deux aspects à partir de la discussion dans Die Frage nach dem Ding. Il conclut par l’affirmation que la lacune dans le portrait de Galilée est la conséquence de la modernité consciente de Heidegger lui-même — une modernité à laquelle il fait allusion dans une remarque concernant Galilée et Démocrite. (shrink)
How are sex and gender related? Are they the same thing? What exactly is gender? How many genders are there? What is the science on all of this? Is gender a product of nature, nurture, or both? This book introduces readers to fundamental questions about sex and gender categories as they’ve been considered across the centuries and through a wide array of disciplines and perspectives. From the Bible to Darwin, from Enlightenment thinkers to contemporary trans philosophers, _Beyond the Binary_ comprises (...) an accessible survey of the wide range of views about sex and gender. This revised and expanded edition uses updated terminology and diagnostic criteria and offers new material with a greater focus on trans, Indigenous, racialized, and subaltern thinkers. It includes useful discussion questions and further reading recommendations at the end of each chapter, as well as an extensive glossary of terms. (shrink)
This paper considers Peirce's striking remarks about mathematics in a little-known review of Spinoza's Ethics within the larger context of his philosophy of mathematics. It argues that, for Peirce, true mathematical reasoning is always at the vanguard of thought, and resists logical demonstration. Through diagrammatic thought and her pre-theoretical innate faculty of logica utens, the great mathematician is able to see a theorem as true long before the logical apparatus necessary to demonstrate its truth exists. For Peirce, true mathematical thought (...) is in some sense pre-logical, and thus, the logical demonstration of this thought in the form of mathematical proofs is in fact "merely a veil over the living thought.". (shrink)
This paper considers Peirce's striking remarks about mathematics in a little-known review of Spinoza's Ethics within the larger context of his philosophy of mathematics. It argues that, for Peirce, true mathematical reasoning is always at the vanguard of thought, and resists logical demonstration. Through diagrammatic thought and her pre-theoretical innate faculty of logica utens, the great mathematician is able to see a theorem as true long before the logical apparatus necessary to demonstrate its truth exists. For Peirce, true (theoremic) mathematical (...) thought is in some sense pre-logical, and thus, the logical demonstration of this thought in the form of mathematical proofs is in fact "merely a veil over the living thought.". (shrink)