This is the first of two companion articles drawn from a larger project, provisionally entitled Undisciplining Moral Epistemology. The overall goal is to understand how moral claims may be rationally justified in a world characterized by cultural diversity and social inequality. To show why a new approach to moral justification is needed, it is argued that several currently influential philosophical accounts of moral justification lend themselves to rationalizing the moral claims of those with more social power. The present article explains (...) how discourse ethics is flawed just in this way. The article begins by identifying several conditions of adequacy for assessing reasoning practices designed to achieve moral justification and shows that, when used in contexts of cultural diversity and social inequality, discourse ethics fails these conditions. It goes on to argue that the failure of discourse ethics is rooted in its reliance on a broader conception of moral epistemology that is invidiously idealized. It concludes by pointing to the need to rethink both the mission and the method of moral epistemology. (shrink)
The companion piece to this article, “Situating Moral Justification,” challenges the idea that moral epistemology's mission is to establish a single, all-purpose reasoning strategy for moral justification because no reasoning practice can be expected to deliver authoritative moral conclusions in all social contexts. The present article argues that rethinking the mission of moral epistemology requires rethinking its method as well. Philosophers cannot learn which reasoning practices are suitable to use in particular contexts exclusively by exploring logical relations among concepts. Instead, (...) in order to understand which reasoning practices are capable of justifying moral claims in different types of contexts, we need to study empirically the relationships between reasoning practices and the contexts in which they are used. The article proposes that philosophers investigate case studies of real-world moral disputes in which people lack shared cultural assumptions and/or are unequal in social power. It motivates and explains the proposed case study method and illustrates the philosophical value of this method through a case study. (shrink)
The massive disparity between the relative wealth of most citizens in affluent countries and the profound poverty of billions of people struggling elsewhere for survival is morally jolting. But why exactly is this disparity so outrageous and how should the citizens of affluent countries respond? Political philosopher, Thomas Pogge, has emerged as one of the world’s most ardent critics of global injustice which, he argues, is caused directly by the operation of a global institutional order that not only systematically disadvantages (...) poor countries but is imposed on them by precisely those wealthy, powerful countries that benefit the most from the order’s injustice. In allowing their governments to perpetrate this injustice, Pogge contends that citizens of the wealthy countries collude in a monumental crime against humanity. In this book Pogge’s challenging and controversial ideas are debated by leading political philosophers from a range of philosophical viewpoints. With a clear and informative introduction by AlisonJaggar, and original contributions from Neera Chandhoke, Jiwei Ci, Joshua Cohen, Erin Kelly, Lionel McPherson, Charles W. Mills, Kok-Chor Tan, and Leif Wenar, this volume deepens and expands the debate over global justice and moral responsibility in the world today. (shrink)
The newest addition to the Point/Counterpoint Series, Abortion: Three Perspectives features a debate between four noted philosophers - Michael Tooley, Celia Wolf-Devine, Philip E. Devine, and Alison M. Jaggar - presenting different perspectives on one of the most socially and politically argued issues of the past 30 years. The three main arguments include the "liberal" pro-choice approach, the "communitarian" pro-life approach, and the "gender justice" approach. Divided into two parts, the text features the authors' ideas, developed in depth, (...) and their responses to one another within each framework. As philosophers, the authors have special skills in critical analysis and thinking systematically about values. The text is appropriate for advanced courses in ethics, bioethics, sex and gender issues, and contemporary moral issues. (shrink)
The terms “ideal theory” and “nonideal theory” are used in contemporary Anglophone political philosophy to identify alternative methodological approaches for justifying normative claims. Each term is used in multiple ways. In this article Alison M. Jaggar disentangles several versions of ideal and nonideal theory with a view to determining which elements may be helpful in designing models of real-world justice that are contextually relevant, morally plausible, and practically feasible.
Some people believe that feminist ethics is little more than a series of dogmatic positions on issues such as abortion rights, pornography, and affirmative action.This caricature was never true, but AlisonJaggar’s Living with Contradictions is the first book to demonstrate just how rich and complex feminist ethics has become. Beginning with the modest assumption that feminism demands an examination of moral issues with a commitment to ending women’s subordination, this anthology shows that one can no longer divide (...) social issues into those that are feminist and those that are not. Living with Contradictions does address many of the traditionally “feminist” issues. But it also includes issues not generally recognized as gendered, such as militarism, environmentalism, and the treatment of animals, demonstrating the value of a feminist perspective in these cases. And, far from reflecting any monolithic orthodoxy, the book shows that there is a rich diversity of views on many moral issues among those who share a feminist commitment.Readers can sample a varied selection of papers and essays from books, journals, newspapers, and grassroots newsletters. Covering a wide range of moral issues, this collection refuses to offer simple solutions, choosing instead to reflect the complexities and contradictions facing anyone attempting to live up to feminist ideals in a painfully pre-feminist world.Based on years of the editor’s work in the field, imaginatively edited, and including generous introductions for students, this is the ideal text for introducing feminist perspectives into courses in ethics, social ethics, and public policy. (shrink)
Issues of global justice have received increasing attention in academic philosophy in recent years but the gendered dimensions of these issues are often overlooked or treated as peripheral. This groundbreaking collection by AlisonJaggar brings gender to the centre of philosophical debates about global justice. -/- The explorations presented here range far beyond the limited range of issues often thought to constitute feminists’ concerns about global justice, such as female seclusion, genital cutting, and sex trafficking. Instead, established and (...) emerging scholars expose the gendered and racialized aspects of transnational divisions of paid and unpaid labor, class formation, taxation, migration, mental health, the so-called resource curse, and conceptualizations of violence, honor, and consent. Jaggar's introduction explains how these and other feminist investigations of the transnational order raise deep challenges to assumptions about justice that for centuries have underpinned Western political philosophy. -/- Taken together the pieces in this volume present a sustained philosophical engagement with gender and global justice. Gender and Global Justice provides an accessible and original perspective on this important field and looks set to reframe philosophical reflection on global justice. (shrink)
This paper argues that, by construing emotion as epistemologically subversive, the Western tradition has tended to obscure the vital role of emotion in the construction of knowledge. The paper begins with an account of emotion that stresses its active, voluntary, and socially constructed aspects, and indicates how emotion is involved in evaluation and observation. It then moves on to show how the myth of dispassionate investigation has functioned historically to undermine the epistemic authority of women as well as other social (...) groups associated culturally with emotion. Finally, the paper sketches some ways in which the emotions of underclass groups, especially women, may contribute to the development of a critical social theory. (shrink)
Western moral and political theorists have devoted much attention to the victimization of women by non-western cultures. But, conceiving injustice to poor women in poor countries as a matter of their oppression by illiberal cultures yields an imcomplete understanding of their situation.
A survey of Western feminist ethics over the past thirty years reveals considerable diversity; nonetheless, much recent work in this area is characterized by its adoption of a naturalistic approach. Such an approach is similar to that found in contemporary naturalized epistemology and philosophy of science, yet feminist naturalism has a unique focus. This paper explains what feminist naturalism can contribute to moral philosophy, both by critiquing moral concepts that obscure or rationalize women’s subordination and by paying attention to real-life (...) practices of moral inquiry, including those used by women. (shrink)
The feminist conception of discourse offered below differs from classical discourse ethics. Arguing that inequalities of power are even more conspicuous in global than in local contexts, I note that a global discourse community seems to be emerging among feminists, and I explore the role played by small communities in feminism's attempts to reconcile a commitment to open discussion, on the one hand, with a recognition of the realities of power inequalities, on the other.
In the liberal democracies of North America and the European Union, terrorism is almost universally condemned. Moreover, few wish to question the“moral clarity” that denies any “moral equivalence” between terrorists and thosewho ﬁght them (Held 2004, 59–60). However, the seeming consensus on the moral reprehensibility of terrorism is undermined by substantial disagreementabout just what terrorism is. The primary purpose of this paper is to propose an account of terrorism capable of facilitating a more productive moral debate. I conclude by opening—though (...) certainly not closing—the question of when, if ever, terrorism might be morally permissible. (shrink)
Neoliberal globalization has deepened the impoverishment and marginalization of many women. This system is maintained by the debt supposedly owed by many poor nations in the global South to a few rich nations in the global North, because the obligation to service the debt traps the people of the South within an economic order that severely disadvantages them. I offer several reasons for thinking that many of these alleged debt obligations are not morally binding, especially on Southern women.
The present issue of Philosophical Topics is devoted to global gender justice. In this introduction to the volume, I sketch the emergence of global gender justice as a field of philosophical inquiry and identify some of the philosophical challenges that its emergence raises. The easiest way to explain the distinctiveness of this field is to situate it in the context of earlier philosophical inquiries into justice.
In this paper, I distinguish terrorism from other crimes and from war, noting that terrorism may be perpetrated not only by private individuals and members of nonstate organizations, but also that it may be ordered by the state. Since terrorism is illegal almost everywhere, I argue that the proper response to it is usually through law enforcement rather than military measures. In some circumstances, however, I content that even law enforcement procedures may be used by the state to terrorize civilians. (...) Since nonstate terrorism is usually intended to draw attention to social grievances, I conclude that eliminating terrorism requires addressing those grievances. (shrink)
The main purpose of this paper is to offer an account of academic freedom. By way of context, it begins with a brief history of challenges to academic freedom at the University of Colorado. It then turns to the following questions. Who enjoys academic freedom and which of their activities does it protect? What is the relationship of academic freedom to constitutionally and internationally protected civil liberties? From whom or what does academic freedom provide protection? Is academic freedom compatible with (...) public accountability? What are the rationales for academic freedom? (shrink)
This paper contrasts two prominent positions in contemporary Western feminist discourse about prostitution. The first is radical feminism, which emerged in the early 1970s; the second is libertarian feminism, which emerged in the late 1980s. The paper analyses the underlying assumptions and public policy recommendation of each position; it argues that each illuminates important aspects of the situations of some prostitutes but ignores or denies others. An approach to prostitution capable of providing an adequate guide to public policy must be (...) less dogmatic or “essentialist” than either radical or libertarian feminism; it should investigate how the sex trade operates in specific locations and the varying meanings it has in different cultural, contexts. Such investigations must be feminist not only in their commitment to ending the subordination of women but also in their respect for choices made by women who already must often endure not only exploitation but also stigmatization, discrimination and exclusion. In this paper, I sketch two prominent positions in contemporary Western feminist discourse about prostitution, discuss the strengths and inadequacies of each, and conclude by indicating an approach—as opposed to a substantive analysis—that I find more promising. (shrink)
Across the world, the lives of men and women who are otherwise similarly situated tend to differ from each other systematically. Although gender disparities varywidely within and among regions, women everywhere are disproportionately vulnerable to poverty, abuse and political marginalization. This article proposes thatglobal gender disparities are caused by a network of norms, practices, policies, and institutions that include transnational as well as national elements. These interlaced and interacting factors frequently modify and sometimes even reduce gendered vulnerabilities but their overall (...) effect is to maintain and often intensify them. Women’s vulnerabilities in different areas of life mutually reinforce each other and I follow other authors in referring to such causal feedback loops as cycles of gendered vulnerability. I argue that these cycles now operate on a transnational as well as national scale and I illustrate this by discussing the examples of domestic work and sex work. If global institutional arrangements do indeed contribute to maintaining or intensifying distinctively gendered vulnerabilities, these arrangements deserve criti cal scrutiny from philosophers concerned with global justice. (shrink)
This paper originated in a conference presentation with my colleague Michael Tooley, at which we were both asked to re-evaluate articles about abortion that each of us had written over twenty years earlier. While Tooley and I both contended that abortion should be legally unrestricted, there were striking differences in the style and content of our respective arguments. Contemplating these differences has reinforced my own belief in the importance of emphasizing the centrality of gender when discussing abortion. Since gender as (...) we know it is a system of dominance as well as difference , I take this to mean that contemporary discussions of abortion must address the relationship between abortion access and the social status of women. My early article addressed this relationship to some extent, but the present paper will raise a number of additional gender issues that the early article did not mention. (shrink)
Contemporary processes of globalization have been accompanied by a serious deterioration in the health of many women across the world. Particularly disturbing is the drastic decline in the health status of many women in the global South, as well as some women in the global North. This paper argues that the health vulnerability of women in the global South is inseparable from their political and economic vulnerability. More specifically, it links the deteriorating health of many Southern women with the neo-liberal (...) economic policies that characterize contemporary economic globalization and argues that this structure is sustained by the heavy burden of debt repayments imposed on many Southern countries. In conclusion, it argues that many Southern debt obligations are not morally binding because they are not democratically legitimate. (shrink)