In this essay, we consider questions arising from cases in which people request medical assistance in dying (MAiD) in unjust social circumstances. We develop our argument by asking two questions. First, can decisions made in the context of unjust social circumstance be meaningfully autonomous? We understand ‘unjust social circumstances’ to be circumstances in which people do not have meaningful access to the range of options to which they are entitled and ‘autonomy’ as self-governance in the service of personally meaningful goals, (...) values and commitments. People in these circumstances would choose otherwise, were conditions more just. We consider and reject arguments that the autonomy of people choosing death in the context of injustice is necessarily reduced, either by restricting their options for self-determination, through their internalisation of oppressive attitudes or by undermining their hope to the point that they despair.Second, should MAiD be available to people in such circumstances, even when a sound argument can be made that the agents in question are autonomous? In response, we use a harm reduction approach, arguing that even though such decisions are tragic, MAiD should be available. Our argument engages with relational theories of autonomy as well as recent criticism raised against them and is intended to be general in application, although it emerges in response to the Canadian legal regimen around MAiD, with a focus on recent changes in Canada’s eligibility criteria to qualify for MAiD. (shrink)
This paper addresses the issue of paternalism in child-rearing. Since the parent–child relationship seems to be the linguistic source of the concept, one may be tempted to assume that raising a child represents a particularly appropriate sphere for paternalism. The parent–child relationship is generally understood as a relationship that is supposed to promote the development and autonomy-formation of the child, so that the apparent source of the concept is a form of autonomy-oriented paternalism. Far from taking paternalism to be overtly (...) unproblematic in such paradigmatic, pedagogical settings, this article analyzes how an effort should be made to understand a child’s capacities and which standards parents should be held to when deciding whether interference truly serves the child’s interests. (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)
I characterize the main approaches to the moral consideration of children developed in the light of the argument from 'marginal' cases, and develop a more adequate strategy that provides guidance about the moral responsibilities adults have towards children. The first approach discounts the significance of children's potential and makes obligations to all children indirect, dependent upon interests others may have in children being treated well. The next approaches agree that the potential of children is morally considerable, but disagree as to (...) whether and why children with intellectual disabilities are morally considerable. These approaches explore the moral significance of intellectual capacities, species membership, the capacity for welfare, and the interests of others. I argue that relationships characterized by reciprocity of care are morally valuable, that both the potential to be in such relationships and the actuality of being in them are morally valuable, and that many children with significant intellectual disabilities have this potential. (shrink)
I argue that it is appropriate for adult recipients of personal care to feel and express gratitude whenever care providers are inspired partly by benevolence, and deliver a real benefit in a manner that conveys respect for the recipient. My focus on gratitude is consistent with important aspects of feminist ethics of care, including its attention to the particularities and vulnerabilities of caregivers and care recipients, and its concern with how relations of care are shaped by social hierarchies and public (...) institutions. In addition, it goes beyond the current preoccupations of care ethicists both by introducing gratitude as an important aspect of morally valuable relations of care and by stressing the significance of attending not only to the needs but also the capacities of recipients of care. (shrink)
The ensting literature on filial morality has an important gap. It explores responsibilities adult children have toward their elderly parents, and ignores questions about responsibilities of dependent children. Filling this gap involves specifying what competent and morally decent social parents can kgitimately expect from children. I argue that it is appropriate to expect and encourage young dependent children to demonstrate cooperation, mutuality, and trust, along with gratitude and reciprocity of value.
I develop a model of love or care between children and their parents guided by experiences of parents, especially mothers, with disabilities. On this model, a caring relationship requires both parties to be aware of each other as a particular person and it requires reciprocity. This does not mean that children need to be able to articulate their interests, or that they need to be self-reflectively aware of their parents’ interests or personhood. Instead, parents and children manifest their understanding of (...) one another as unique, irreplaceable individuals, with identifiable needs and interests through their interactions with one another. (shrink)
I explore connections between social divisions and diversity within the self, while striving to differentiate internal diversity and multiplicity. When the person is understood as composite or multiple, she is seen as divided into several distinct agent-like aspects. This view is found in ancient, modern, and postmodern philosophy, psychology, poetry, and lay people's accounts of their experience. I argue for a conception of the self as diverse but not composite or multiple.
Social inclusion can refer to the ability of individuals and groups to participate in social activities and the extent to which they feel included and recognized as valuable and able to make contributions. I explore the social inclusion of children in K-12 education (ages 4 - 18), and argue it is vital for the development and exercise of attitudes and capacities such as hope and local autonomy. Since schools are tasked with developing children's skills and knowledge, the extent to which (...) they succeed will play a large role in limiting or enabling children's social inclusion both when they become adults and as children. Children's relationships are an important aspect of their school experiences, as they affect not only whether they feel connected to others but also what they deem to be the grounds of their inclusion. Schools can also equip children with the skills and experiences required for social interactions with others in better and worse ways, fostering children's attitudes towards themselves, others, and the world and affecting whether they think they have the resources to have an impact on their environment and society and can achieve both personal and shared goals. (shrink)
Feminist epistemology and feminist art theory are characterized by an opposition to modernity's separation of art, politics, and knowledge into three autonomous spheres. However, this opposition is not enough to distinguish them from other philosophies. In this paper I examine parallels between the two fields of inquiry in order to discover what makes them distinctively feminist. Feminist epistemology sees interconnections between knowledge and politics, feminist art theory sees connections between art and politics. We need to explore as well connections between (...) art and knowledge. Compared to feminist epistemology, feminist art theory has had much less exposure, and in this paper I emphasize what the former can learn from the latter. In particular, I suggest that feminist art can answer a call made by feminist theories of knowledge for a kind of transformative knowledge. If we focus on the features of activist art explored by feminist art theories, we see that feminist art is particularly suited to engage emotions as well as the intellect. It is an example of nonpropositional knowledge, and is interactive rather than striving to pass down lessons from above. Feminist art celebrates the power of art to “make strange” and to unsettle fixed identities which can transform our understanding of the world. There is a tendency in some feminist art theory to separate the more concrete work (rediscovering women artists, recognizing women's crafts as art forms, and investigating sexist imagery in art), from the theoretical project of reenvisioning the relations of art to its sociopolitical context. I conclude by arguing that without an awareness of the dialectical relationship between the concrete and the theoretical, feminist art theories run the risk of losing their feminist specificity. They would then amount to little more than abstract pronouncements of the interconnections between art, politics, and knowledge. We need to maintain the feminist specificity of feminist politics in our theories of art and knowledge, and I use examples throughout the essay, drawn particularly from feminist activist art, with this goal in mind. (shrink)
In this essay I seek to identify and explore a type of intrapersonal division. There is, I argue, a sense in which we may speak of parts of the self, in which those parts interact much as persons do. An account of the genesis and development of parts of the self is given. A taxonomy of the various possible structures of self, based on number and interaction of parts, is used to understand ascriptions of internal harmony or discord to the (...) self. This taxonomy is then used to evaluate the traditional philosophical preference for harmony over internal discord, as well as to examine critically more recent preferences for discord over harmony. This evaluation concentrates on the extent to which images of political community and civil strife figure in philosophical attempts to understand and evaluate interactions among the parts of a person. The limits to which the analogy between interpersonal and intrapersonal relations can be pushed is used to explore the sense in which all of the parts of a person belong to that person. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 720 - 738 I argue that under the right conditions young dependent children owe their parents gratitude for the care they receive from them and further that parents have an obligation to motivate their children to be grateful in appropriate circumstances. Gratitude is appropriate even though parents have a duty to care for their children but it is only warranted when parents act both benevolently and with respect for their children’s partial autonomy. Moreover, (...) gratitude is uncalled for until children can recognize that they have received a benefit provided benevolently and respectfully. Gratitude is not appropriate if a benefit was provided in a context of abuse or if the beneficiary has reason for moral disapproval of the provision of the benefit. I distinguish gratitude from indebtedness and discuss important benefits associated with gratitude between parents and children for both parties. (shrink)
: Feminist artworks can be a resource in our attempt to understand individual identities as neither singular nor fixed, and in our related attempts both to theorize and to practice forms of connection to others that do not depend on shared identities. Engagement with these works has the potential to increase our critical social consciousness, making us more aware of oppression and privilege, and more committed to overcoming oppression.
Activist and political art works, particularly feminist ones, are frequently either dis-missed for their illegitimate combination of the aesthetic and the political, or embraced as chiefly political works. Flawed conceptions of politics and the imagination are responsible for that dismissal. An understanding of the imagination is developed that allows us to see how political work and political explorations may inform the artistic imagination.
This contribution discusses Asha Bhandary’s book Freedom to Care: Liberalism, Dependency Care and Justice and engages with some key concepts used by three commentators Daniel Engster, Kelly Gawel, and Andrea Westlund in this book symposium. The symposium makes it clear that care can be a central notion not only in the ethics of care, but also in debates about liberalism, justice and autonomy.
Nietzsche writes about the common temptation to take the capacity for consciousness as constituting the “kernel of man; what is abiding, eternal, ultimate, and most original in him. One takes consciousness for a determinate magnitude. One denies it growth and intermittences. One takes it for the ‘unity of the organism’.” The very description of the nature of this unified organism is indicative of reasons one might wish to believe in it. It is “abiding” and “eternal.” Nothing in the world poses (...) a threat to its existence or survival. This temptation and Hegel's complicated response to it are the subject of this essay. In particular I will investigate the accuracy of Adorno's claims that Hegel is untrue to his own insights into the dialectical nature of the self, and that Hegel's self-betrayal is due to the the fact that “like Kant and the entire philosophical tradition including Plato, Hegel is a partisan of unity.”. (shrink)
Feminist artworks can be a resource in our attempt to understand individual identities as neither singular nor fixed, and in our related attempts both to theorize and to practice forms of connection to others that do not depend on shared identities. Engagement with these works has the potential to increase our critical social consciousness, making us more aware of oppression and privilege, and more committed to overcoming oppression.
Philosophers and artists frequently make use of metaphors drawn from female bodily experiences of pregnancy and childbirth to express intellectual or artistic creativity. While philosophical and artistic originality are presented as a kind of spiritual pregnancy, women's bodily pregnancies are often presented as at best intellectually or spiritually insignificant, to be valued solely for their products — physical children. I contrast the view of pregnancy found in philosophers such as Plato and Nietzsche, and artists such as Chagall, with an understanding (...) of pregnancy influenced by feminist body art, and focus on the significance of the extent and pace of change that women experience during pregnancy. (shrink)