Philosophical theories often hinge on claims about what is necessary or possible. But what are possibilities and necessities, and how could we come to know about them? This book aims to help demystify the methodology of philosophy, by treating such claims not as attempted descriptions of strange facts or distant 'possible worlds', but rather as ways of expressing rules or norms.
Opponents of abortion sometimes hold that it is impermissible because fetuses are persons from the moment of conception. But miscarriage, which ends up to 89 % of pregnancies, is much deadlier than abortion. That means that if opponents of abortion are right, then miscarriage is the biggest public-health crisis of our time. Yet they pay hardly any attention to miscarriage, especially very early miscarriage. Attempts to resolve this inconsistency by adverting to the distinction between killing and letting die or to (...) the difficulty of preventing miscarriage fail, leaving a dilemma. Opponents of abortion should either advocate a substantial shift in our political and medical priorities or else give up the view that fetuses are persons from the moment of conception. (shrink)
As persons, we are importantly different from all other creatures in the universe. But in what, exactly, does this difference consist? What kinds of entities are we, and what makes each of us the same person today that we were yesterday? Could we survive having all of our memories erased and replaced with false ones? What about if our bodies were destroyed and our brains were transplanted into android bodies, or if instead our minds were simply uploaded to computers? -/- (...) In this engaging and accessible introduction to these important philosophical questions, Amy Kind brings together three different areas of research: the nature of personhood, theories of personal identity over time, and the constitution of self-identity. Surveying the key contemporary theories in the philosophical literature, Kind analyzes and assesses their strengths and weaknesses. As she shows, our intuitions on these issues often pull us in different directions, making it difficult to develop an adequate general theory. Throughout her discussion, Kind seamlessly interweaves a vast array of up-to-date examples drawn from both real life and popular fiction, all of which greatly help to elucidate this central topic in metaphysics. -/- A perfect text for readers coming to these issues for the first time, Persons and Personal Identity engages with some of the deepest and most important questions about human nature and our place in the world, making it a vital resource for students and researchers alike. (shrink)
This grounded study investigated the negotiation of authorship by faculty members, graduate student mentors, and their undergraduate protégés in undergraduate research experiences at a private research university in the northeastern United States. Semi-structured interviews using complementary scripts were conducted separately with 42 participants over a 3 year period to probe their knowledge and understanding of responsible authorship and publication practices and learn how faculty and students entered into authorship decision-making intended to lead to the publication of peer-reviewed technical papers. Herein (...) the theoretical model for the negotiation of authorship developed through the analysis of these interviews is reported. The model identifies critical causal and intervening conditions responsible for the coping strategies faculty and students employ, which, in our study, appear to often produce unfortunate consequences for all involved. The undergraduate student researchers and their graduate student mentors interviewed in this study exhibited a limited understanding of authorship and the requirements for authorship in their research groups. The power differential between faculty and students, the students’ limited epistemic development, the busy-ness of the faculty, and the faculty’s failure to prioritize authorship have been identified as key factors inhibiting both undergraduate and graduate students from developing a deeper understanding of responsible authorship and publication practices. Implications for graduate education and undergraduate research are discussed, and strategies for helping all students to develop a deeper understanding of authorship are identified. (shrink)
This book is a philosophical exploration of disorientation and its significance for action. Disorientations are human experiences of losing one's bearings, such that life is disrupted and it is not clear how to go on. In the face of life experiences like trauma, grief, illness, migration, education, queer identification, and consciousness raising, individuals can be deeply disoriented. These and other disorientations are not rare. Although disorientations can be common and powerful parts of individuals' lives, they remain uncharacterized by Western philosophers, (...) and overlooked by ethicists.Disorientations can paralyze, overwhelm, embitter, and misdirect moral agents, and moral philosophy and motivational psychology have important insights to offer into why this is. More perplexing are the ways disorientations may prompt improved moral action.Ami Harbin draws on first person accounts, philosophical texts, and qualitative and quantitative research to show that in some cases of disorientation, individuals gain new forms of awareness of political complexity and social norms, and new habits of relating to others and an unpredictable moral landscape. She then argues for the moral and political promise of these gains. A major contention of the book is that disorientations have 'non-resolutionary effects': they can help us act without first helping us resolve what to do. In exploring these possibilities, Disorientation and Moral Life contributes to philosophy of emotions, moral philosophy, and political thought from a distinctly feminist perspective. It makes the case for seeing disorientations as having the power to motivate profound and long-term shifts in moral and political action. A feminist re-envisioning of moral psychology provides the framework for understanding how they do so. (shrink)
This highly original book argues for increased recognition of pregnancy, birthing and childrearing as social activities demanding simultaneously physical, intellectual, emotional and moral work from those who undertake them. Amy Mullin considers both parenting and paid childcare, and examines the impact of disability on this work. The first chapters contest misconceptions about pregnancy and birth such as the idea that pregnancy is only valued for its end result, and not also for the process. Following chapters focus on childcare provided in (...) different circumstances and on the needs of both providers and receivers of care. The book challenges the assumption that isolated self-sacrifice should be the norm in either pregnancy or childcare. Instead reproductive labor requires greater social support. Written from the perspective of a feminist philosopher, the book draws on the work of, and seeks to increase dialogue between, philosophers and childcare professionals, disability theorists, nurses and sociologists. (shrink)
This is the first musicological study entirely devoted to a comprehensive analysis of musical Holocaust representations in the Western art music tradition. Through a series of chronological case studies grounded in primary source analysis, Amy Lynn Wlodarski analyses the compositional processes and conceptual frameworks that provide key pieces with their unique representational structures and critical receptions. The study examines works composed in a variety of musical languages - from Arnold Schoenberg's dodecaphonic A Survivor from Warsaw to Steve Reich's minimalist Different (...) Trains - and situates them within interdisciplinary discussions about the aesthetics and ethics of artistic witness. At the heart of this book are important questions about how music interacts with language and history; memory and trauma; and politics and mourning. Wlodarski's detailed musical and cultural analyses provide new models for the assessment of the genre, illustrating the benefits and consequences of musical Holocaust representation in the second half of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Caring for Liberalism brings together chapters that explore how liberal political theory, in its many guises, might be modified or transformed to take the fact of dependency on board. In addressing the place of care in liberalism, this collection advances the idea that care ethics can help respond to legitimate criticisms from feminists who argue that liberalism ignores issues of race, class, and ethnicity. The chapters do not simply add care to existing liberal political frameworks; rather, they explore how integrating (...) dependency might leave core components of the traditional liberal philosophical apparatus intact, while transforming other aspects of it. Additionally, the contributors address the design of social and political institutions through which care is given and received, with special attention paid to non-Western care practices. This book will appeal to scholars working on liberalism in philosophy, political science, law, and public policy, and it is a must-read for feminist political philosophers. (shrink)
This challenging study places fiction squarely at the centre of the discussion of metaphysics. Philosophers have traditionally treated fiction as involving a set of narrow problems in logic or the philosophy of language. By contrast Amie Thomasson argues that fiction has far-reaching implications for central problems of metaphysics. The book develops an 'artifactual' theory of fiction, whereby fictional characters are abstract artifacts as ordinary as laws or symphonies or works of literature. By understanding fictional characters we come to understand how (...) other cultural and social objects are established on the basis of the independent physical world and the mental states of human beings. (shrink)
Empathy has for a long time, at least since the eighteenth century, been seen as centrally important in relation to our capacity to gain a grasp of the content of other people's minds, and predict and explain what they will think, feel, and do; and in relation to our capacity to respond to others ethically. In addition, empathy is seen as having a central role in aesthetics, in the understanding of our engagement with works of art and with fictional characters. (...) A fuller understanding of empathy is now offered by the interaction of research in science and the humanities. This volume draws together nineteen original chapters by leading researchers across several disciplines, together with an extensive Introduction by the editors. The individual chapters reveal how important it is, in a wide range of fields of enquiry, to bring to bear an understanding of the role of empathy in its various guises. It offers the ideal starting-point for the exploration of this intriguing aspect of human life. (shrink)
While post- and decolonial theorists have thoroughly debunked the idea of historical progress as a Eurocentric, imperialist, and neocolonialist fallacy, many of the most prominent contemporary thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School--Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Rainer Forst--have persistently defended ideas of progress, development, and modernity and have even made such ideas central to their normative claims. Can the Frankfurt School's goal of radical social change survive this critique? And what would a decolonized critical theory look like? Amy Allen fractures (...) critical theory from within by dispensing with its progressive reading of history while retaining its notion of progress as a political imperative, so eloquently defended by Adorno. Critical theory, according to Allen, is the best resouce we have for achieving emancipatory social goals. In reimagining a decolonized critical theory after the end of progress, she rescues it from oblivion and gives it a future. (shrink)
This book showcases the best in modern medieval and religious scholarship, deploying spirited and progressive approaches to the study of Christian mysticism and the philosophy of religion. The volume explores excessive forms of desire and eroticism at play within Christian mystical texts and the historiographical, theological, and philosophical problems bound up in the interrogation of extraordinary experiences of the divine. Amy Hollywood examines how feminist and queer studies have changed the history of mysticism and how the study of religion in (...) general has altered our understanding of what is true, what is real, and what it means to research a historical subject. Ideal for novices and experienced scholars alike, this volume models cutting-edge methods for the ethical study of divine embodiment and religious experience in the Middle Ages. It makes a forceful case for thinking about religion as both belief and practice, in which traditions marked by change are passed down through generations, laying the groundwork for their own critique. Through a provocative integration of medieval sources and texts by Derrida, Butler, Asad, and Chakrabarty this book redefines what it means to engage critically with history and those embedded within it. (shrink)
In 2011, Egypt witnessed more protests than any other country in the world: the beginning of a revolutionary process that would unfold in three waves of revolution, followed by two waves of counterrevolution. In addition to providing new and unprecedented empirical data, the book makes two theoretical contributions. First, a new framework is presented for analyzing the state apparatus in Egypt that is based on four pillars of regime support which can either prop up or press upon whoever is in (...) power: the Egyptian military, the business elite, the United States, and the multi-headed opposition. Secondly, the book brings together the literature on bottom-up revolutionary movements and top-down military coups, and introduces the concept of a coup from below in contrast to the revolution from above that took place under Gamal Abdel Nasser. (shrink)
The 17th century author François Poulain de la Barre was an important contributor to a pivotal moment in the history of feminist thought. Poulain borrows from many of Descartes’s doctrines, including his dualism, distrust of epistemic authority, accounts of imagination, and passion, and at least some aspects of his doxastic voluntarism; here I examine how he uses a Cartesian notion of prejudice for an anti-essentializing philosophy of women’s education and the formation of the tastes, talents and interests of individuals. ‘Prejudice’ (...) remains Descartes’s notion of an entrenched, yet self-imposed doxastic commitment, but also takes on the sense of social-political group bias, founded on custom, transmitted through education, serving interests, and forming social expectations. Poulain also expands on the Cartesian notion and themes by emphasizing widespread, yet unjustified social opinions in favor of the status quo in both epistemic practices and epistemic authorities, while considering how biased beliefs about sexual difference and gender identity can be internalized even by those who suffer most from them. At the same time, he shows how powerful Cartesian concepts can be for feminist methodology, even though they might also be put to problematic uses (as Malebranche did). (shrink)
In this Element, we’ll explore the nature of both imagination and creative thinking in an effort to understand the relation between them and also to understand their role in the vast array of activities in which they are typically implicated, from art, music, and literature to technology, medicine, and science. Focusing on the contemporary philosophical literature, we will take up several interrelated questions: What is imagination, and how does it fit into the cognitive architecture of the mind? What is creativity? (...) Is imagination required for creativity? Is creativity required for imagination? Is a person simply born either imaginative or not (and likewise, either creative or not), or are imagination and creativity skills that can be cultivated? And finally, are imagination and creativity uniquely human capacities, or can they be had by nonbiological entities such as AI systems? (shrink)
This is a major study of Kierkegaard and love. Amy Laura Hall explores Kierkegaard's description of love's treachery, difficulty, and hope, reading his Works of Love as a text that both deciphers and complicates the central books in his pseudonymous canon: Fear and Trembling, Repetition, Either/Or, and Stages on Life's Way. In all of these works, the characters are, as in real life, complex and incomplete, and the conclusions are perplexing. Hall argues that a spiritual void brings each text into (...) being, and her interpretation is as much about faith as about love. In a style that is both scholarly and lyrical, she intimates answers to some of the puzzles, making a poetic contribution to ethics and the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
In her latest book, The End of Progress, Amy Allen embarks on an ambitious and much-needed project: to decolonize contemporary Frankfurt School Critical Theory. As with all of her books, this is an exceptionally well-written and well-argued book. Allen strives to avoid making assertions without backing them up via close and careful textual reading of the thinkers she engages in her book. In this article, I will state why this book makes a central contribution to contemporary critical theory (in the (...) broader sense), after which I pose a few questions. These questions are not meant to prove that there are any serious problems with her argumentation. Instead, they are meant in the spirit of dialogue and allow her to elaborate her work for her audience. (shrink)
It is often noted that institutional objects and artifacts depend on human beliefs and intentions and so fail to meet the realist paradigm of mind-independent objects. In this paper I draw out exactly in what ways the thesis of mind-independence fails, and show that it has some surprising consequences. For the specific forms of mind-dependence involved entail that we have certain forms of epistemic privilege with regard to our own institutional and artifactual kinds, protecting us from certain possibilities of ignorance (...) and error; they also demonstrate that not all cases of reference to these kinds can proceed along a causal model. As a result, realist views in ontology, epistemology, and semantics that were developed with natural scientific kinds in mind cannot fully apply to the everyday world. In closing I consider some wider consequences of these results for social science and philosophy. (shrink)
Who should have the authority to shape the education of citizens in a democracy? This is the central question posed by Amy Gutmann in the first book-length study of the democratic theory of education. The author tackles a wide range of issues, from the democratic case against book banning to the role of teachers' unions in education, as well as the vexed questions of public support for private schools and affirmative action in college admissions.
How should we live? What do we owe to other people? In Goodness and Advice, the eminent philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson explores how we should go about answering such fundamental questions. In doing so, she makes major advances in moral philosophy, pointing to some deep problems for influential moral theories and describing the structure of a new and much more promising theory. Thomson begins by lamenting the prevalence of the idea that there is an unbridgeable gap between fact and value--that (...) to say something is good, for example, is not to state a fact, but to do something more like expressing an attitude or feeling. She sets out to challenge this view, first by assessing the apparently powerful claims of Consequentialism. Thomson makes the striking argument that this familiar theory must ultimately fail because its basic requirement--that people should act to bring about the "most good"--is meaningless. It rests on an incoherent conception of goodness, and supplies, not mistaken advice, but no advice at all. Thomson then outlines the theory that she thinks we should opt for instead. This theory says that no acts are, simply, good: an act can at most be good in one or another way--as, for example, good for Smith or for Jones. What we ought to do is, most importantly, to avoid injustice; and whether an act is unjust is a function both of the rights of those affected, including the agent, and of how good or bad the act is for them. The book, which originated in the Tanner lectures that Thomson delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values in 1999, includes two chapters by Thomson, provocative comments by four prominent scholars--Martha Nussbaum, Jerome Schneewind, Philip Fisher, and Barbara Herrnstein Smith--and replies by Thomson to those comments. (shrink)
The most widely debated conception of democracy in recent years is deliberative democracy--the idea that citizens or their representatives owe each other mutually acceptable reasons for the laws they enact. Two prominent voices in the ongoing discussion are Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson. In Why Deliberative Democracy?, they move the debate forward beyond their influential book, Democracy and Disagreement.What exactly is deliberative democracy? Why is it more defensible than its rivals? By offering clear answers to these timely questions, Gutmann and (...) Thompson illuminate the theory and practice of justifying public policies in contemporary democracies. They not only develop their theory of deliberative democracy in new directions but also apply it to new practical problems. They discuss bioethics, health care, truth commissions, educational policy, and decisions to declare war. In "What Deliberative Democracy Means," which opens this collection of essays, they provide the most accessible exposition of deliberative democracy to date. They show how deliberative democracy should play an important role even in the debates about military intervention abroad.Why Deliberative Democracy? contributes to our understanding of how democratic citizens and their representatives can make justifiable decisions for their society in the face of the fundamental disagreements that are inevitable in diverse societies. Gutmann and Thompson provide a balanced and fair-minded approach that will benefit anyone intent on giving reason and reciprocity a more prominent place in politics than power and special interests. (shrink)
This essay considers the dependency of trans youth by bridging transgender studies with feminist care ethics to emphasize a trans wisdom about solidarity through dependency. The first major section of the essay argues for reworking Sara Ruddick's philosophy of mothering in the context of trans and gender‐creative youth. This requires, first, stressing a more robust interaction among her divisions of preservative love, nurturance for growth, and training for acceptability, and second, creating a more nuanced account of “nature” in relation to (...) nurturance for growth to avoid casting transition as contrary to a trans youth's healthy development. In the second major section of the essay, I depart from Ruddick's framework to emphasize the difference of care for trans youth by trans and/or queer communities and through mutual caregiving, stressing a trans wisdom about dependency and solidarity found in the work of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Turning to Eva Feder Kittay's links between dependency work and equality, I argue that Rivera and Johnson's work contains a distinct knowledge derived from practice necessitating the connection between solidarity and dependency in particular communities. I then call for more work on trans care ethics, trans ethics, and trans wisdom more broadly. (shrink)
Modality presents notorious philosophical problems, including the epistemic problem of how we could come to know modal facts and metaphysical problems about how to place modal facts in the natural world. These problems arise from thinking of modal claims as attempts to describe modal features of this world that explain what makes them true. Here I propose a different view of modal discourse in which talk about what is “metaphysically necessary” does not aim to describe modal features of the world, (...) but, rather, provides a particularly useful way of expressing constitutive semantic and conceptual rules in the object language. The result is a “modal normativist” view that enables us to avoid the epistemic problems of modality and mitigate the metaphysical worries, while also leaving open the possibility of a unified account of the function of modal language. Finally, I address a serious challenge: we have the norms we do in order to track the modal facts of the world, so that the order of explanation must go in the opposite direction. I close by showing how the normativist may answer that challenge. (shrink)
Introduction : the politics of our selves -- Foucault, subjectivity, and the enlightenment : a critical reappraisal -- The impurity of practical reason : power and autonomy in Foucault -- Dependency, subordination, and recognition : Butler on subjection -- Empowering the lifeworld? autonomy and power in Habermas -- Contextualizing critical theory -- Engendering critical theory.
While the philosophical study of mind has always required philosophers to attend to the scientific developments of their day, from the twentieth century onwards it has been especially influenced and informed by psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. Philosophy of Mind in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuriesprovides an outstanding survey of the most prominent themes in twentieth-century and contemporary philosophy of mind. It also looks to the future, offering cautious predictions about developments in the field in the years to come. Following (...) an introduction by Amy Kind, twelve specially commissioned chapters by an international team of contributors discuss key topics, thinkers, and debates, including: the phenomenological tradition, the mind-body problem, theories of consciousness, theories of perception, theories of personal identity, mental causation, intentionality, Wittgenstein and his legacy, cognitive science, and future directions for philosophy of mind. Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology, Philosophy of Mind in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuriesis also a valuable resource for those in related disciplines such as psychology and cognitive science. (shrink)
While fights about ontology rage on in the ring, there’s long been a suspicion whispered in certain corners of the stadium that some of the fights aren’t real. Granted the disputants all think they are really disagreeing—it’s not the sincerity of the serious ontologists that’s in question, but rather their judgment that they are engaged in a real debate about genuine issues of substance.