This text offers major re-evaluation of Wittgenstein's thinking. It is a collection of essays that presents a significantly different portrait of Wittgenstein. The essays clarify Wittgenstein's modes of philosophical criticism and shed light on the relation between his thought and different philosophical traditions and areas of human concern. With essays by Stanley Cavell, James Conant, Cora Diamond, Peter Winch and Hilary Putnam, we see the emergence of a new way of understanding Wittgenstein's thought. This is a controversial collection, with essays (...) by highly regarded Wittgenstein scholars that may change the way we look at Wittgenstein's body of work. (shrink)
Wider possibilities for moral thought -- Objectivity revisited: a lesson from the work of J.L. Austin -- Ethics, inheriting from Wittgenstein -- Moral thought beyond moral judgment: the case of literature -- Reclaiming moral judgment: the case of feminist thought -- Moralism as a central moral problem.
For too long the questions of how we treat animals and how we treat our fellow human beings have been considered separately. But the contours of the current animal crisis make it clear – the harms we are inflicting on the nonhuman world have devastating impacts on humans: zoonotic diseases caused by habitat destruction and animal exploitation have brought human life to a standstill; mass production of animals for food is poisoning the ground and contributing to catastrophic climate change. Animal (...) Crisis responds to this fractured relationship between human beings and animals by exploring the complex social and political contexts in which animals are harmed, revealing the connections between our callous and cruel attitudes to the animal world and those same attitudes towards vulnerable human groups. Marking a stark contrast to traditional theories in animal ethics, Alice Crary and Lori Gruen argue that there can be no animal liberation without human emancipation. Borrowing from critical social theory and ecofeminism, they build a framework for understanding and combatting the structural forces that shape and enable the diminishment of some for the advantage of a few, isolating critical resources that are crucial for animal and human emancipatory struggles alike. (shrink)
This article aims to shed light on some core challenges of liberating social criticism. Its centerpiece is an intuitively attractive account of the nature and difficulty of critical social thought that nevertheless goes missing in many philosophical conversations about critique. This omission at bottom reflects the fact that the account presupposes a philosophically contentious conception of rationality. Yet the relevant conception of rationality does in fact inform influential philosophical treatments of social criticism, including, very prominently, a left Hegelian strand of (...) thinking within contemporary Critical Theory. Moreover, it is possible to mount a defense of the conception by reconstructing, if with various qualifications and additions, an argument from classic—i.e., mid twentieth-century—Anglo-American philosophy of the social sciences, in particular, the argument that forms the backbone of Peter Winch’s _The Idea of a Social Science_. Winch draws his guiding insights from the later philosophy of Wittgenstein, and one of the payoffs of considering Winch’s Wittgenstein-inspired work against the backdrop of Hegel-inspired work in Critical Theory is to contest the artificial professional strictures that are sometimes taken to speak against reaching across the so-called ‘Continental Divide’ in philosophy. The larger payoff is advancing, by means of this philosophically ecumenical approach, the enterprise of liberating social thought. (shrink)
This article offers a critique of moral individualism. I introduce the topic of moral individualism by discussing how its characteristic assumptions play an organizing role in contemporary conversations about how animals should be treated. I counter that moral individualism fails to do justice not only to our ethical relationships with animals but also to our ethical relationships with human beings. My main argument draws on elements of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy of psychology, and in presenting the argument I address the case (...) of human beings before returning to the case of animals. Given that moral individualists frequently defend what I call the ethical view of animals, i.e., the view that animals are in themselves proper objects of ethical concern, it is worth stressing that it is no part ofmy project to undermine this view. On the contrary, the critique of moral individualism I develop makes available a better understanding of what is right about the idea that animals as such merit certain forms of respect and attention. (shrink)
This article is a contribution to discussions about the prospects for a viable conceptualism, i.e., a viable view that represents our modes of awareness as conceptual all the way down. The article challenges the assumption, made by friends as well as foes of conceptualism, that a conceptualist stance necessarily commits us to denying animals minds. Its main argument starts from the conceptualist doctrine defended in the writings of John McDowell. Although critics are wrong to represent McDowell as implying that animals (...) are mindless brutes, it is difficult to see what is wrong with this critical unless we depart from McDowell's technical terminology and introduce a notion of a concept flexible enough to apply to the lives of some non-rational animals. The article closes with a discussion of observations that speak for attributing concepts, flexibly understood, to dogs. (shrink)
This article aims to disrupt received views about the significance of J. L. Austin's contribution to philosophy of language. Its focus is Austin's 1955 lectures How To Do Things With Words . Commentators on the lectures in both philosophical and literary-theoretical circles, despite conspicuous differences, tend to agree in attributing to Austin an assumption about the relation between literal meaning and truth, which is in fact his central critical target. The goal of the article is to correct this misunderstanding and (...) to show that Austin is deeply critical of a picture of correspondence between language and the world which nearly half a century after he delivered his lectures continues to structure philosophical discussions of language. (shrink)
Alongside Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam and Jacques Derrida, Stanley Cavell is arguably one of the best-known philosophers in the world. In this state-of-the-art collection, Alice Crary explores the work of this original and interesting figure who has already been the subject of a number of books, conferences and Phd theses. A philosopher whose work encompasses a broad range of interests, such as Wittgenstein, scepticism in philosophy, the philosophy of art and film, Shakespeare, and philosophy of mind and language, Cavell has (...) also written much about Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Including contributions from Hilary Putnam, Cora Diamond, Jim Conant and Stephen Mulhall, this book is a must-have for libraries and students alike. (shrink)
Stanley Cavell is widely regarded as a major philosophical figure, and he is generally recognized to have devoted a great deal of his writing to ethical themes. Nevertheless, it is not an exaggeration to say that his work has not for the most part been received within Anglo-American analytic ethics. There is an impressively large body of commentary on Cavell’s contribution to moral philosophy, but most of it gets generated and discussed outside analytic circles. Paul Guyer’s remarks here on the (...) major strand of Cavell’s ethical thought that Cavell places under the heading of “moral perfectionism” are for this reason very welcome.1 Guyer’s main thesis is that Cavell’s perfectionist posture is more Kantian than.. (shrink)
The aims of this paper are twofold: (i) to bring out how Cora Diamond's essays on ethics represent a shift in perspective when considered against the backdrop of dominant trends in contemporary moral philosophy and thereby (ii) to shed light on and indicate strategies for combating sources of philosophical resistance to her ethical project.
This paper examines some recent trends in feminist epistemology. It argues that theories that make a priori claims to the effect that the structure of our body of knowledge must encode a masculine bias are both philosophically problematic and politically counterproductive, and it recommends a feminist methodology free from such general theoretical claims as best suited for the promotion of productive feminist thought and action.
Alice Crary is a moral and social philosopher who has written widely on issues in metaethics, moral psychology and normative ethics, philosophy and feminism, critical animal studies, critical disability studies, critical philosophy of race, philosophy and literature, and Critical Theory. She has written on philosophers such as John L. Austin, Stanley Cavell, Cora Diamond, John McDowell, Iris Murdoch and Ludwig Wittgenstein. This is the first of two parts of the interview with Crary conducted in a single exchange in the first (...) weeks of January 2022, where she discusses ordinary language philosophy and feminism, Wittgenstein’s conception of mind and its relation to feminist ethics, the link between Wittgenstein and Critical Theory, and her own views about efforts to bring about social and political transformations. The second part on “Wittgenstein and Critical Theory” is published in the regular volume 11 of NWR. (shrink)
This is the second of two parts of an interview with Alice Crary conducted in a single exchange in the first weeks of January 2022, where she discusses ordinary language philosophy and feminism, Wittgenstein’s conception of mind and its relation to feminist ethics, the link between Wittgenstein and Critical Theory, and her own views about efforts to bring about social and political transformations. The first part on “Wittgenstein and Feminism” is published in the NWR Special Issue “Wittgenstein and Feminism”, forthcoming (...) later this year. (shrink)
This piece continues an exchange between David Beaver and Jason Stanley, on the one hand, and Alice Crary, on the other, to which Beaver’s and Stanley’s “Neutrality” (immediately above) is a contribution. All three authors agree that the critique of ideology, propaganda, and oppressive structures should not be conceived as eliminating socially-situated perspectives and subjectively-mediated sensibilities from an allegedly neutral discursive space. Their exchange began with Crary’s 2018 article, “The Methodological as Political: What’s the Matter with ‘Analytic Feminism’?” which attacks (...) appeals to neutrality, including one Crary finds in Stanley’s 2015 book, How Propaganda Works, for obscuring a pivotal methodological insight of radical feminist thought, namely, that feminism’s political radicalism is complemented by a “methodological radicalism that involves making use of the practical power of ethically non-neutral resources, conceived as in themselves cognitively authoritative” (Crary 2018: 47). This new reply argues that Beaver’s and Stanley’s practice-based image of language, while at first seemingly aligned with this rejection of neutrality as an ideal for political discourse, fails to fully respond to her original complaint. The ideal of neutrality is problematic, not only in masking social location, but in wrongly impugning as ‘non-cognitive’ or ‘irrational’ critical resources drawn from socially-situated perspectives—the sorts of perspectives to which notable strands of feminist theory give voice precisely for their cognitive value. The current piece claims that to address this further danger it is necessary to go beyond Beaver’s and Stanley’s study of meaning and critically examine engrained philosophical assumptions about how to construe logical notions such as objectivity and truth. It closes by suggesting that, within philosophy of language broadly conceived, the tradition of ordinary language philosophy provides a more promising source of resources and illumination for struggles to make gender-based and overlapping forms of structural bias socially visible. (shrink)
A core philosophical use of the term “objectivity” is to talk about a central metaphysical ideal. The term is employed to pick out aspects of the world that are there in the sense that any thinker who fails to register them can be said to be missing something. If we speak in this connection of a guiding concept of objectivity, we can ask what can be said about the nature of the things that fall under it. We might then speak (...) in this further connection of different possible conceptions of objectivity. Today, thought about objectivity is dominated by a conception on which objectivity is taken to have as its hallmark the exclusion of everything subjective. Starting from a description of the relevant conception of objectivity, this chapter criticizes the kinds of considerations most commonly adduced in the conception’s favor. Along the way, the chapter uses passages from the later philosophy of Wittgenstein as its main reference points. A notable virtue of this method is that it sheds light on the transformative significance of Wittgenstein’s thought for how we construe the concept of objectivity. (shrink)
Deeply rooted structures of racism, ableism, misogyny, ageism, and transphobia hurt great numbers of people, exposing them to intolerance, economic exclusion, and physical harm around the globe. Billions of land animals suffer and die annually in concentrated feeding operations and slaughterhouses. Our planet and all who live here are in perilous straights as the climate changes. In the face of such grievous problems, people who want to find positive ways to respond often grapple with difficult questions about how to make (...) a difference. Effective Altruism has arisen as an attempt to help answer these questions, encouraging people to give as much money as they can in the most effective ways to address human and animal suffering. But the Effective Altruists’ answers support some of the very social structures that cause suffering, undermining its efforts to “do the most good.” The Good It Promises, The Harm It Does is the first book-length critique of Effective Altruism. It brings together a diverse group of activists and scholars to explore Effective Altruism’s failure to meaningfully address forms of human and animal suffering. (shrink)
This chapter provides a roadmap of ongoing conversations about cognitive disability and moral status. Its aim is to highlight the political stakes of these conversations for advocates for the cognitively disabled while at the same time bringing out how a fundamental point of divergence within the conversations has to do with what count as appropriate methods of ethics. The main divide is between thinkers who take ethical neutrality to be a regulative ideal for doing empirical justice to the lives of (...) people with cognitive disabilities and those who reject this methodological precept as unduly restrictive. What results is a debate between, on the one hand, fans of various familiar forms of moral individualism and Kantian approaches in ethics and, on the other, a range of disability scholars and activists who implicitly or explicitly make use of philosophically more radical methods. (shrink)
Narrative philosophy is the Australian philosopher Raimond Gaita’s answer to the question of how to philosophize in a manner that directly informs efforts to answer the classic philosophical question of ‘how best to live’. Gaita claims, provocatively, that getting the world in view in a manner relevant to arriving at an answer involves challenges that, far from being merely theoretical, are such that we can only meet them by working on ourselves or, alternately, by reshaping our sense of what matters. (...) A productive philosophical intervention would thus need to be in the business of directing our attitudes and would have to have the hallmark of literary discourse or “narrative.” This chapter lays out Gaita’s case for thinking that we need narrative philosophy, and it discusses some of Gaita’s efforts to present us with such a philosophy, specifically in relation to ethical thought about human-animal relations. An important virtue of Gaita’s approach is that it equips us to overcome the philosophically influential, but morally questionable, idea of tension between the moral standing of animals and the moral standing of severely cognitively disabled human beings. (shrink)