One reason people value privacy is that it allows them to do or think bad things – things that, if made public, would warrant blame, censure, or punishment. Privacy protects several types of freedom – and one of these is the freedom to be bad. This paper will argue that this is a good thing.
This article examines one argument in favour of the position that the relational properties of mental states do not have causal powers over behaviour. This argument states that we establish that the relational properties of mental states do not have causal powers by considering cases where intrinsic properties remain the same but relational properties vary to see whether, under such circumstances, behaviour would ever vary. The individualist argues that behaviour will not vary with relational properties alone, which means that they (...) don’t have causal powers. Four replies are presented which all reject the premise that under such conditions behaviour can never be different, and each of these are refuted. The article concludes by arguing that knowing about the relational properties of mental states gives no predictive advantage over (and, in fact, is predictively worse than) knowing about the intrinsic properties of mental states plus context. (shrink)
Kelly Aguirre, Phil Henderson, Cressida J. Heyes, Alana Lentin, and Corey Snelgrove engage with different aspects of Robert Nichols’ Theft is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory. Henderson focuses on possible spaces for maneuver, agency, contradiction, or failure in subject formation available to individuals and communities interpellated through diremptive processes. Heyes homes in on the ritual of antiwill called “consent” that systematically conceals the operation of power. Aguirre foregrounds tensions in projects of critical theory scholarship that aim for dialogue and (...) solidarity with Indigenous decolonial struggles. Lentin draws attention to the role of race in undergirding the logic of Anglo-settler colonial domination that operates through dispossession, while Snelgrove emphasizes the link between alienation, capital, and colonialism. In his reply to his interlocutors, Nichols clarifies aspects of his “recursive logics” of dispossession, a dispossession or theft through which the right to property is generated. (shrink)
Leading feminist scholars have been brought together for the first time in this comprehensive volume to reveal the complexity of feminist engagements with the exponentially growing cosmetic surgery phenomenon. Offering a diversity of theoretical, methodological and political approaches Cosmetic Surgery: A Feminist Primer presents not only the latest, cutting-edge research in this field but a challenging and unique approach to the issue that will be of key interest to researchers across the social sciences and humanities.
“Experience” is a thoroughly political category, a social and historical product not authored by any individual. At the same time, “the personal is political,” and one's own lived experience is an important epistemic resource. In _Anaesthetics of Existence_ Cressida J. Heyes reconciles these two positions, drawing on examples of things that happen to us but are nonetheless excluded from experience. If for Foucault an “aesthetics of existence” was a project of making one's life a work of art, Heyes's “anaesthetics (...) of existence” describes antiprojects that are tacitly excluded from life—but should be brought back in. Drawing on critical phenomenology, genealogy, and feminist theory, Heyes shows how and why experience has edges, and she analyzes phenomena that press against those edges. Essays on sexual violence against unconscious victims, the temporality of drug use, and childbirth as a limit-experience build a politics of experience while showcasing Heyes's much-needed new philosophical method. (shrink)
Third wave anti-essentialist critique has too often been used to dismiss second wave feminist projects. I examine claims that Carol Gilligan's work is "essentialist," and argue that her recent research requires this criticism be rethought. Anti-essentialist feminist method should consist in attention to the relations of power that construct accounts of gendered identity in the course of different forms of empirical enquiry, not in rejecting any general claim about women or girls.
The subject of normalization and its relationship to sex/gender is a major one in feminist theory; Heyes' book is unique in her masterful use of Foucault; its clarity, and its sophisticated mix of the theoretical and the anecdotal. It will appeal to feminist philosophers and theorists.
In this issue of the JME, age-old questions around how to balance the interests of mother and fetus are revisited in two separate contexts: alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and maternal request caesarean sections. Both have been the subject of recent controversy in the UK, with March 2022 seeing the introduction of new National Institute for Clinical Excellence Quality Standards on combatting foetal alcohol spectrum disorder 1; and the publication of the long-awaited Ockenden Review into a series of failures in NHS (...) maternity care.2 Both raise important questions about the role of healthcare professionals in policing women’s choices during pregnancy and childbirth, and of the importance of deference to and trust in those choices. In this issue’s Feature Article, Rebecca Bennett and Catherine Bowden explore recent proposals to enhance the screening of pregnant women in order to prevent instances of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder through more accurately determining the true prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.3 Public Health England has suggested research into tools such as blood biomarkers and meconium testing,4 which could better identify those women who are consuming alcohol ‘covertly’ and so make FASD diagnoses more straightforward. As Bennett and Bowden rightly suggest, such a move is unlikely to realise the kind of public health or welfare gains which would justify this level of interference with the women’s autonomy, and may even result in more harm through discouraging engagement with antenatal care. However even absent these very intrusive methods of surveillance, the precautionary principle which underpins such policies — namely that in the absence of evidence that any alcohol is safe, women should be instructed to avoid it altogether — is itself difficult to justify. The evidence on alcohol consumption during pregnancy is mixed. While it is widely accepted that heavy …. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein's work has been widely interpreted and appropriated by subsequent philosophers, as well as by scholars from areas as diverse as anthropology, cultural studies, literary theory, sociology, law, and medicine. The Grammar of Politics demonstrates the variety of ways political philosophers understand Wittgenstein's importance to their discipline and apply Wittgensteinian methods to their own projects. In her introduction, Cressida J. Heyes notes that Wittgenstein himself was skeptical of political theory, and that his philosophy does not lead naturally or (...) inexorably toward any particular political position. Instead, she says, his ideas motivate certain attitudes toward the "game of politics" that the essays in this volume share: some contributors argue that political theory should use Wittgensteinian methods, others apply Wittgenstein's philosophy of language to figures and debates in areas of political theory (such as post-Kantian genealogy or Habermas's foundationalism), and still others reveal the ways Wittgenstein's concepts inform political foci as diverse as anthropomorphism, defining social group membership, and the nature of liberty. (shrink)
This is the first intellectual biography of Descartes in English. Stephen Gaukroger provides a rich, authoritative account of Descartes' intellectual and personal development, understood in its historical context, and offers a reassessment of all aspects of his life and work.
Drawing on Françoise Dastur’s suggestion that the event is a permanent possibility that shapes lived experience, but also, when it occurs, a distinctive temporal rupture, I argue that the initial weeks of the COVID-19 epidemic constitute an event, in her sense. Connecting this phenomenological point to literatures on the politics of temporality, I suggest that the distinction between event and normal experience maps to that between epidemic and endemic. Understanding some of the political and ethical erasures of death and debility (...) in COVID times can thus be mutually informed by phenomenological analysis. (shrink)
Towards the end of his life, Descartes published the first four parts of a projected six-part work, The Principles of Philosophy. This was intended to be the definitive statement of his complete system of philosophy, dealing with everything from cosmology to the nature of human happiness. In this book, Stephen Gaukroger examines the whole system, and reconstructs the last two parts, 'On Living Things' and 'On Man', from Descartes' other writings. He relates the work to the tradition of late (...) Scholastic textbooks which it follows, and also to Descartes' other philosophical writings, and he examines the ways in which Descartes transformed not only the practice of natural philosophy but also our understanding of what it is to be a philosopher. His book is a comprehensive examination of Descartes' complete philosophical system. (shrink)
This book deals with a neglected episode in the history of logic and theories of cognition: the way in which conceptions of inference changed during the seventeenth century. The author focuses on the work of Descartes, contrasting his construal of inference as an instantaneous grasp in accord with the natural light of reason, with the Aristotelian view of inference as a discursive process. Gaukroger offers a new interpretation of Descartes`s contribution to the question, revealing it to be a significant (...) advance over humanist and late Scholastic conceptions. He argues that Descartes's account played a pivotal role in the development of our understanding of the nature of inference. (shrink)
This ambitious and important book, first published in 2001, provides a truly general account of Francis Bacon as a philosopher. It describes how Bacon transformed the values that had underpinned philosophical culture since antiquity by rejecting the traditional idea of a philosopher as someone engaged in contemplation of the cosmos. The book explores in detail how and why Bacon attempted to transform the largely esoteric discipline of natural philosophy into a public practice through a program in which practical science provided (...) a model that inspired many from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Stephen Gaukroger shows that this reform of natural philosophy was dependent on the creation of a new philosophical persona: a natural philosopher shaped through submission to the dictates of Baconian method. This book will be recognized as a major contribution to Baconian scholarship, of special interest to historians of early-modern philosophy, science, and ideas. (shrink)
How did we come to have a scientific culture -- one in which cognitive values are shaped around scientific ones? Stephen Gaukroger presents a rich and fascinating investigation of the development of intellectual culture in early modern Europe, a period in which understandings of the natural realm began to fragment.
Why did science emerge in the West and how did scientific values come to be regarded as the yardstick for all other forms of knowledge? Stephen Gaukroger shows just how bitterly the cognitive and cultural standing of science was contested in its early development. Rejecting the traditional picture of secularization, he argues that science in the seventeenth century emerged not in opposition to religion but rather was in many respects driven by it. Moreover, science did not present a unified (...) picture of nature but was an unstable field of different, often locally successful but just as often incompatible, programmes. To complicate matters, much depended on attempts to reshape the persona of the natural philosopher, and distinctive new notions of objectivity and impartiality were imported into natural philosophy, changing its character radically by redefining the qualities of its practitioners.The West's sense of itself, its relation to its past, and its sense of its future, have been profoundly altered since the seventeenth century, as cognitive values generally have gradually come to be shaped around scientific ones. Science has not merely brought a new set of such values to the task of understanding the world and our place in it, but rather has completely transformed the task, redefining the goals of enquiry. This distinctive feature of the development of a scientific culture in the West marks it out from other scientifically productive cultures. In The Emergence of a Scientific Culture, Stephen Gaukroger offers a detailed and comprehensive account of the formative stages of this development---and one which challenges the received wisdom that science was seen to be self-evidently the correct path to knowledge and that the benefits of science were immediately obvious to the disinterested observer. (shrink)
This article argues that commercial weight-loss organizations appropriate and debase the askeses—practices of care of the self—that Michel Foucault theorized, increasing members’ capacities at the same time as they encourage participation in ever-tightening webs of power. Weight Watchers, for example, claims to promote self-knowledge, cultivate new capacities and pleasures, foster self-care in face of gendered exploitation, and encourage wisdom and flexibility. The hupomnemata of these organizations thus use asketic language to conceal their implication in normalization.