Society for Philosophy

in the Contemporary World

 

Annual Meeting

July, 2004

Cullowhee, North Carolina

 

 

Conference Program

 

 



Friday, July 16

 

6:30

 

Welcome and Opening Remarks (Joe Jones)

 

 

Saturday, July 17

           

9-10:30

 

Brian Thomas, “Oppression and Autonomy”

 

Farrell Graves, “Rethinking Freedom, Power, and the State”

 

 

10:45-12:15

 

Andrea Sullivan-Clarke, “Cultural Diversity: It’s in Everyone’s Best Interest”

 

Chris Gandy, “Virtue Capitalism: A Reply to Deirdre McCloskey”

 

LUNCH

           

2.00-2:45

 

Trudy Conway, “From Tolerance to Hospitality”

 

3-5

 

“Teaching Philosophy: Methods and Suggestions”

 

Panelists: Andrew Fiala, Lani Roberts, Barbara La Bossiere, Trudy Conway, Ed Grippe,

 

 

 


Sunday, July 18

 

9-10:30  

 

Ed Grippe, “Plato the Democrat”

 

Norman Fischer, “Fathers and Sons: On Piety and Humanity”

 

 

10:45-12:15    

 

Rob Metcalf, “Aristotelian Doubts about the Reach of Moral Argument”

 

 

LUNCH

           

2.00-4:30

 

Hye-Kyung Kim, “Aristotle, Potential Personhood, and the Abortion Debate”

 

Laura Duhan Kaplan, “Heschel’s Hassidic Critique of Phenomenology and Critical Theory”

 

 

6:30

 

Business Meeting 

 

 

 


Monday, July 19

 

9-10:30  

 

Aaron Lercher, “The Problems of Environmental Rights”

 

Jack Weir, “Moral Failure and the Environmental Crisis”

 

10:45-12:15    

 

“Bringing Philosophy Down to Earth: Practical Reasoning, the ‘Great New Wilderness Debate,’ and Environmental Policy”

 

Panelists: Dane Scott, Josh Haddock, and Seth Nivens

 

 

Afternoon Trip

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 20

 

9-10.30  

 

Paul Eddy Wilson, “Regulative Control and the Subjectivist’s View of Moral Responsibility”

 

Joseph Orosoco, “César Chavez on the Use of Violence for Global Justice”

                                                       

 


Tuesday (continued)

 

10:45-12:15

 

Janet Donohoe, “The Place(s) of Monuments”

 

Patricia Trentacoste, “The Aesthetic Gestalt and the Moral Gaze”

 

LUNCH

           

2:00-3:30        

 

Ralph Ellis, “Love, Religion, and the Psychology of Inspiration”

 

Keya Maitra, “Comparing the Bhagavad-Gita and Kant: A Lesson in Comparative Philosophy”

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, July 21

           

9-11:30

 

Stephen R. Brown, “Naturalized Virtue Ethics and Same-Sex Love”

 

Jeremy Wisnewski, “Murder, Cannibalism, and Indirect Suicide”

 

James McLachlan, “Religious Pluralism: Whoring, Polygamy, or Friendship?”

 

 

 

 



Abstracts and Biographical information (in order of presentation)

 

Joe Jones is one of the founders and current Director of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World.  He is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina.  His publications include: A Modest Realism and several articles on topics metaphysics, ethics, and religion.  He served for serveral years as Editor of the Society’s journal, Philosophy in the Contemporary World.

 

Brian Thomas, “Oppression and Autonomy”

 

In her paper “Towards A Theory of Oppression,” T.L Zutlevics, claims to be doing what is usually said to be impossible, namely, giving a unitary theory of oppression.  She says her theory is general enough to capture the essential ingredients of oppression, and, as proof of the explanatory power of her theory, that it captures the five faces of oppression offered by Iris Marion Young in her book Justice and the Politics of Difference.  I argue that her theory does not adequately describe a range of cases of oppressed peoples and where the theory is accurate, it covers fairly trivial cases.  This suggests that her theory, where it applies, has very little explanatory power.  The upshot of my comments is a general skepticism about the usefulness in explicating the concept of oppression with the concept of autonomy.

 

Brian Thomas is a Doctoral Candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill.  His areas of specialization include: Ethics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Race/Racism, Feminism

 

Farrell Graves, “Rethinking Freedom, Power, and the State”

 

I argue that freedom understood in terms of the right of autonomous choice contributes to a proliferation of meaningless choices that distract from political engagement.  The concept of the state as the caretaker of these rights further encourages the passivity that weakens democracy.  If we conceive of freedom instead in terms of interdependent subjectivity, we can construct a political theory that recognizes our role in the negotiation of our own needs, thereby encouraging participation and providing a safeguard against state manipulation.

 

Farrell Graves concentrates on Japanese Intellectual History, Critical Theory, Ethics.  He teaches at the University of California, Irvine

 

Andrea Sullivan-Clarke, “Cultural Diversity: It’s in Everyone’s Best Interest”

 

What appeal can be made to the dominant society in favor of preserving minority culture?  In Multicultural Citizenship, Will Kymlicka believes that the Cultural Diversity Argument, which imposes costs to some segments of the dominant society, is unable to justify group-differentiated rights without the support of other arguments.  This paper seeks to demonstrate that cultural diversity is a public good by drawing an analogy between cultural diversity and biological diversity.  I contend that by preserving the knowledge inherent within diverse cultures, the survivability of the species is improved or, to be succinct, it’s in everyone’s best interest.

 

Andrea Sullivan-Clarke is Master’s Candidate at the University of Colorado currently working on her thesis entitled, “The Essential Indian: Racism, Sovereignty, and the Federal Government’s Bottom Line.”

 

Chris Gandy, “Virtue Capitalism: A Reply to Deirdre McCloskey”

 

Economist Dierdre McCloskey argues that with the demise of the old aristocratic and agrarian social classes, and the failure of an inevitable proletarian revolution, the virtues associated with said social classes are both antiquated and ineffective. McCloskey argues that as society becomes more bourgeois our virtues must reflect this economic and social status.  This essay suggests that McCloskey falls victim to both the naturalistic fallacy and a misinterpretation of the notion of virtue.  If we have in fact become bourgeois, it is the result of adopting means disguised as virtues, which although serving us well in the marketplace, achieve an end closer to the bovine existence of gratification.  The notion of virtue as excellence (arete) in aid of a fine existence (eudaimonia) necessitates that one focus not on economic status, particularly when that status is the result of a capitalistic economy which necessitates that many suffer to elevate the few.  One would do well to adopt virtues in aid of a higher good, rather than adopting "virtues" which are means to an economic status quo merely.

 

Chris Gandy is Lead Philosophy Instructor at WakeTechnical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina.  His areas of interest include socio-political philosophy, ethics, aesthetics and the philosophy of Henry David Thoreau.  Chris is a published poet who's other interests include travel, photography, contemporary art and architecture, and anything having to do with the beach. 

 

Trudy Conway, “From Tolerance to Hospitality”

 

This paper analyses the problematic aspects of the negative virtue of tolerance and explores a more positive virtue, much needed in contemporary American society and current global context.  The first section broadly discusses the responses of tolerance and intolerance to diversity and presents an overview of the emergence of tolerance as a distinctly modern, Western virtue. After exploring the minimalistic and problematic aspects of the virtue, it considers Walzer’s call for something better and beyond tolerance. Drawing on a number of traditions that affirm hospitality as either the most esteemed virtue or the most fundamental moral response to the other, it articulates an understanding of hospitality that moves beyond tolerance as benign indifference or principled non-interference. Drawing on a current case study, it argues that our age and in particular its increasingly pluralistic societies need to recognize the problematic limits of tolerance and to begin to cultivate the more demanding virtue of hospitality.

 

Trudy Conway is Kline Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Mount Saint Mary's University (Maryland). Her areas of interest are Contemporary Philosophy, Hermeneutics,and Philosophy of Culture. Her recent publications have addressed topics concerning cross-cultural understanding and dialogue.  She is currently the Secretary of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World.

 

Teaching Panel

 

Andrew Fiala is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of WisconsinGreen Bay.  His publications include The Philosopher’s Voice and Practical Pacifism.  He is currently the Treasurer of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World.

 

Lani Roberts is a philosophy professor at Oregon State University.  She is a social philosopher who is interested in ethical theory generally and, specifically, understanding our human propensity to harm one another, individually as well as in social groups. Her courses include ethical theory at the undergraduate and graduate level, Ethics of Diversity and Feminist Philosophies. Her courses reflect her belief in the pragmatic applicability of philosophy to every day life.

 

Barbara La Bossiere is a philosophy professor at California State University at Fresno.  She is currently a Moderator for the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World.

 

Ed Grippe, “Plato the Democrat”

 

My aim in this paper is to take Wallach’s thesis—that Platonic justice, indeed, stands in opposition to democracy; the opposition, however, is neither direct nor wholly antagonistic; rather, it is critical, indicative of Plato’s effort in his dialogues to construct a decisive ethics of politics and politics of ethics that would genuinely conciliate justice and power—one step further. I propose to show that Plato not only wished to reconcile power and justice, but that he desired, and was aware of the need, to do so within a moderate cosmopolitanism in the democratic Athens of his time. I will accomplish this aim by uncovering the implicit egalitarian elements in the Apology and the Crito and how, through a method of Zen reading, the Republic may support them.

 

Ed Grippe teaches philosophy at Norwalk Community College.  He has published articles on Plato and non-Western philosophy.  He is a regular at SPCW conferences.

 

Norman Fischer, “Fathers and Sons: On Piety and Humanity”

 

Modern political philosophy, and modern philosophy generally, have not had much room for the discussion of piety or reverence as a virtue.  It is almost needless to mention that contemporary European, and especially American, society, has difficulties, reflected in social policy and moral habit, with reverence for the old.  We are urged to look at our parents as “merely human”, “just like us,” perhaps disregarding that such is the tragic assumption of Oedipus.  Of course, our awareness, vague as it may be, that we do not do justice to the old is perhaps the inchoate beginnings of a reconsideration of the value of ancestral piety.  What I wish to claim here is that perhaps now we are ready for a reconsideration of piety.  I wish to turn to the ancient world in which piety and reverence were a simple matter of course. To this end, I wish to consider an aspect of Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, which introduces the question of piety within the context of a dispute between a son and his father.  I hope to shed some light upon the value of piety in the quest for self-knowledge.  Perhaps in this we can see something that will correct inadequacies within the self-image of our age.

 

Norman Fischer is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Clark-Atlanta University

 

Rob Metcalf, “Aristotelian Doubts about the Reach of Moral Argument”

 

Beginning with Aristotle’s various remarks on the limited reach of moral argument, this paper explores the moral psychology that gives rise to such doubts, including those expressed recently by John McDowell.  The diagnosis offered is that these doubts are caused by a rather anemic conception of argument, and for a prescription I turn to the various forms of ad hominem argumentation.  Ad hominem arguments are shown to do justice to Aristotelian moral psychology while allowing for the sort of logos that Aristotle thought was unavailable.

 

Robert Metcalf shucked aside his early childhood training as a Southern Baptist and joined the Mormon church as an adolescent for its promise of black-magical powers.  Yet, disappointed in this, his new religion, he dropped it altogether while an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, and took up philosophy instead.  Now, with graduate degrees from Vanderbilt and the Pennsylvania State University, he teaches ancient philosophy and modern irreligion at the University of Colorado at Denver. 

 

Hye-Kyung Kim, “Aristotle, Potential Personhood, and the Abortion Debate”

This paper is an exploration of the moral significance of Aristotle's theory of potentiality and actuality for the contemporary debate on the morality of abortion. The concepts of potentiality and actuality are frequently invoked in debates on abortion. The fetus is commonly said to be potentially but not actually a person. For some, the mere potential personhood of the fetus  means that the fetus has no moral standing, and abortion is permissible. For others, the potential personhood of the fetus is of  great significance, and means that the fetus has a right to life, or at least that abortion is seriously prima facie wrong. But what exactly is potential personhood? Does the notion have its roots in Aristotle's metaphysics? More fundamentally, what is Aristotle's notion of potentiality, and in what sense, if any, would the fetus  be considered a potential person by Aristotle? What exactly are Aristotle's views on the morality of abortion, and how do they fit in with his views on the potentiality/actuality distinction? In this paper I examine in what sense a fetus is a potential person in Aristotle's metaphysics, and whether its (supposed) potential personhood can be used in arguments for abortion the way that it is in the contemporary debates on abortion.   

 

Hye-Kyung Kim is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of WisconsinGreen Bay.  She focuses on Ancient Philosophy and Ethics.  Her recent publications include “Relativism, Absolutism, and Tolerance” in Metaphilosophy and “Critical Thinking, Learning and Confucius: A Positive Assessment” in the Journal of the Philosophy of Education.

 

Laura Duhan Kaplan, “Heschel’s Hassidic Critique of Phenomenology and Critical Theory”

 

This paper brings together a wide variety of sources in order to situate Abraham Joshua Heschel's thought in relation to some of the influences on his work.  Herbert Marcuse argues that capitalism has rendered social and intellectual life, including philosophy, one-dimensional.  In response, philosophers should articulate social, political, and intellectual models that transcend capitalism.  Heschel implicitly critiques Marcuse's view, arguing that philosophers can only address the alienation of contemporary life by transcending the focus on material needs and intellectual models.  Heschel argues that the only solution lies in the realm of the spirit, and recommends that philosophers practice wonder.  Heschel also criticizes phenomenology for being spiritually bankrupt.  In so doing, he seems to draw his inspiration from several Hassidic sources about the evolution of consciousness.  The paper concludes with an evaluation of Heschel's solution.

 

Laura Duhan Kaplan is Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Her publications include the book: Family Pictures: A Philosopher Explores the Familia; and as editor or co-editor: Practicing Levinas (forthcoming), Philosophy and Everyday Life, Philosophical Perspectives on Power and Domination, From the Eye of the Storm:Regional Conflicts and the Philosophy of Peace.  She also co-edited two special issues of Philosophy in the Contemporary World, on "Feminist Approaches to the Body" and "Contemporary Applications of Levinas."  In December, she will leave academia to join the clergy.

 


Aaron Lercher, “The Problems of Environmental Rights”

 

The view that people have rights to a non-polluted environment raises theoretical problems.  Environmental harms often arise from compound or incremental sources which spread responsibility among many agents.  Environmental harms are probabilistic rather than direct results of pollution, which complicates our understanding of the stringency of such claims.  This paper defends the view that there are environmental rights and discusses these problems.  I argue that the problems are problems of democratic process, rather of the validity of rights.  I argue that resolving these problems requires a theory of environmental rights to explain which acts we have valid claims against, and also to explain that we have valid claims that acts not be performed in certain defective ways.

 

Aaron Lercher has been an adjunct professor of philosophy and environmental studies at several Buffalo-area institutions since 1998.  For three years he led an effort to organize an adjunct union at one of these institutions, but this ultimately was unsuccessful.  His research is in philosophy of mathematics and environmental ethics.

 

Jack Weir, “Moral Failure and the Environmental Crisis”

 

Common in environmental literature, both popular and philosophical, is the view that the environmental crisis is the result of a failure of Western morality.  From that failure, many environmentalists conclude that a radically new morality is needed if the world is to avoid imminent environmental apocalypse.  Many people hope—and apparently believe—that only by discovering and proclaiming a radically new non-traditional and Postmodern morality will Western civilization and the rest of the world be able to ameliorate the crisis.  This paper argues that these hopes and beliefs are misguided.  Since this widespread view is so negatively critical of Western morality, it is labelled the “Negative View.”  Among environmental philosophers, the most prominent and influential advocate of the Negative View is J. Baird Callicott.  A brief section summarizes Callicott’s theory of environmental ethics and outlines in propositional form his critique of traditional Western morality.  Four sub-arguments make up his critique and are representative of the Negative View.  The heart of the paper is a critical evaluation of the four sub-arguments.  The paper defends traditional Western morality against Callicott.  Callicott’s central criticisms of traditional Western morality are seriously mistaken.  The Negative View makes assumptions and imposes demands impossible for any morality to fulfill.

 

Jack Weir is Professor of Philosophy at Morehead State University

 

Dane Scott, Josh Haddock, and Seth Nivens, “Bringing Philosophy Down to Earth: Practical Reasoning, the ‘Great New Wilderness Debate,’ and Environmental Policy”

 

Environmental philosophers such as Byron Norton have often been criticized for drifting into theoretical debates that do not readily connect with policy debates. One important example of this tendency for philosophical debates to lose touch with concrete policy decisions is the debate over the “wilderness idea.” The debate begins with concerns about the tradition of the “wilderness idea”, commonly held to be handed down from Emerson, Thoreau and Muir, that focuses on restricting human activities in set-aside areas. The debate evolves into a metaphysical dispute about dualism versus monism. Nonetheless, this is clearly an important debate with real consequences for determining the social goal of 21st century environmental policy. Moreover, the philosophers involved in the debate are offering powerful philosophical insights and weighty arguments. The problem then is how to connect this vital theoretical dispute with policy deliberations. The hypothesis defended by this panel is that recent work on practical reasoning/deliberation by the Canadian philosopher Douglas Walton offers interesting possibilities for connecting the abstract philosophical debates with concrete policy deliberations. These three papers will us Walton’s practical inference schemata. In “Practical Reasoning, the Wilderness Ideal, and New National Parks,” Josh Haddock will focus on the controversy over the proposed Maine Woods National Park. “In Practical Reasoning, Stewardship and Roadless Areas,” Seth Nivens will focus on the controversial Roadless Area Conservation Rule.  Finally, Dane Scott will discuss the claims that agricultural biotechnology will be an important tool for environmental conservation in light of the wilderness debate in “Practical Reasoning, the Wilderness Debate and Biotechnology.”

 

Dane Scott is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC

 

JoshHaddock is an Undergraduate Student in Philosophy at Western Carolina University

 

Seth Nivens is an Undergraduate Student in Philosophy at Western Carolina University


Paul Eddy Wilson, “Regulative Control and the Subjectivist’s View of Moral Responsibility”

 

In this essay I focus upon John Martin Fischer’s notion of taking on responsibility.  In his view moral actors must acquire a proper self-understanding to take on moral responsibility.  I question whether Fischer steps out of his role as a subjectivist, when he maintains that having only guidance control is a necessary condition for moral responsibility.  I suggest that subjectivists are committed to the notion that taking on responsibility includes the acquisition of a proper phenomenology of freedom.  I compare actors who have not acquired a sense of regulative control to actors whom Fischer identifies as nonresponsible actors.

 

P. Eddy Wilson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina

 

Joseph Orosoco, “César Chavez on the Use of Violence for Global Justice”

 

In this paper, I examine several arguments that justify property destruction as a form of civil disobedience.  These arguments stress that the question about the use of violence in social protest is not a moral one, but a strategic one; that is, about the most efficient means to achieve political goals.  I then rely on César Chavez’s conception of nonviolent civil disobedience to demonstrate why these arguments fundamentally misunderstand the dynamics of power and violence.  Chavez argues that advocates of property destruction threaten to reduce struggles for social justice to power politics by ignoring moral guidelines for strategy, fail to consider how state repression against violent protests harms the most poor and vulnerable members of society, and confuse a violent shift in the balance of power with the creation of a more just, democratic, and equitable society.

 

Jose-Antonio Orosco is an assistant professor in the philosophy department at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.  His areas of specialization include political philosophy, particularly democratic theory, and Latino/Latin American philosophy, emphasizing Chicana/o studies.

                                                                         

Janet Donohoe, “The Place(s) of Monuments”

 

Just two years after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, a plan has been approved for a memorial to those who died in the attack.  With this desire to memorialize, and the increasing rush to do so at the site of each tragedy, we must pause to consider the meaning of such memorialization.  What is the effect of the erection of memorials?  This paper explores the function and role of monuments in the production of places of collective memory, and examines their influence in the production or commodification of community.  I argue that in the rush to memorialize, we have not given ample consideration to the work that monuments do and we limit the possibility for renewal and critique of the traditions of our communities. 

 

Janet Donohoe is an associate professor of philosophy at the State University of West Georgia.  She is the author of Husserl on Ethics and Intersubjectivity: From Static to Genetic Phenomenology due out July 2004 from Prometheus Books.

 

Patricia Trentacoste, “The Aesthetic Gestalt and the Moral Gaze”

 

Even ethically minded people who fail to adequately perceive the contextual details of their circumstances are likely to misapply moral principles to actual cases.  Unfortunately, the inability to detect ground/figure shifts or to accept the presence of ambiguity, reinforces black and white thinking and the harms that attend conceptual rigidity and moral dim-sightedness.  Artists, on the other hand, due to their aesthetic sensitivity and metaphoric modes of expression, experience gestalt  perception as a natural function of their craft.  I argue that both practical ethics and moral epistemology will profit from looking carefully through the “eye of the poet.”

 

Patricia Trentacoste is a Special Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.  Her Areas of Interest include the intersections between philosophy of mind, aesthetics and ethics.

 

Ralph Ellis, “Love, Religion, and the Psychology of Inspiration”

 

While much of psychology preserves the legacy of behaviorism and consummatory drive-reductionism, attempting to explain all human behavior as in the service of chemical micro-constituents, this paper begins by summarizing the self-organizational approach to emotion and motivation.  Emotions are not responses to stimuli, but expressions of an active system seeking congenial environmental affordances, motivated by fundamental playful, exploratory, and other non-consummatory aims that can be understood as the tendency of complex systems to prefer higher-energy basins of attraction rather than settle into satiation and dull comfort. Given this understanding of the emotions in complex animals, there is a fundamental need for inspiration to fuel the self-initiated activation of the system; lack of this basic inspiration leads to depression. This newly developing emotion theory, now gaining support from neurophysiology (e.g., Panksepp’s “play” and “seeking” systems in mammals), leads to a richer psychology of religion than the old wish-fulfillment school. In sophisticated conscious beings, the need for inspiration is exacerbated by awareness of the problems of finitude; love, the arts and religion are meant to address this heightened need for inspiration.  Some approaches to religion, however - “fundamentalist” approaches - contend with the problems of finitude in an inauthentic way: rather than enhance the feeling of inspiration so as to create a positive experience of the value of being capable of counterbalancing the problems of death, evil, and the relative powerlessness and insignificance of the individual, they contend with those problems simply by denying them.  This fundamentalist approach leads to corresponding distortions of ethical and political attitudes.

 

Ralph Ellis teaches philosophy at Clark Atlanta University.  He is the author of: An Ontology of Consciousness,  Theories of Criminal Justice, Coherence and Verification in Ethics, Questioning Consciousness, Eros in a Narcissistic Culture, Just Results: Ethical Foundations for Policy Analysis, The Caldron of Consciousness, Love and the Abyss, Curious Emotions, and a critical thinking textbook, The Craft of Thinking.  Ellis is also co-editor of Consciousness and Emotion.  He also plays the saxophone.

 

Keya Maitra, “Comparing the Bhagavad-Gita and Kant: A Lesson in Comparative Philosophy”

 

This paper examines the often-mentioned similarity in comparative moral philosophy between the Hindu Text Bhagavad-Gita’s notion of duty and Kant’s notion of duty. It is commonly argued that they are similar in their deontological nature where one is asked to perform one’s duty for the sake of duty only. I consider three related questions from Gita’s and Kant’s perspectives, namely, what is the Source of our Duties: Self or Nature, How do we know that an act x is our duty and an acceptable example of a duty in these two moral frameworks. In all these three cases I show that their respective answers diverge quite clearly and conclude by arguing that the reason for this divergence is due to the fact that while the ideal of Kantian morality is to become a member of the ‘kingdom of ends’, the aims of the Gita’s system of duties are the sustenance of the social order and the realization of one’s identity with the Supreme Self.

 

Dr. Keya Maitra is an Assistant Professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Her philosophical training in India and the US gives her a unique perspective to present the traditional Indian philosophical topics to western readers. She is the author of a number of philosophical articles. She also contributed a book titled On Putnam to the Wadsworth Philosophers Series. Her research interests include Indian Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, Comparative Philosophy of Mind and Third-World Feminism.

 

Stephen R. Brown, “Naturalized Virtue Ethics and Same-Sex Love”

 

There are certain traits that make us good human beings by enabling us to realize our natural ends. From the perspective of such a naturalized virtue ethics, there is nothing obviously unethical or imprudent about the capacity for same-sex love. Moreover, given the resources of this theory, such questions are empirical ones. If it should turn out that the capacity for same-sex love is a trait the possession of which makes one a good human being, then the just political state will promote and encourage it. One way it can do so is by allowing same-sex marriage.

Stephen R. Brown is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. His research interests include ethical theory and metaethics, and the applications of theory to social issues. His “Naturalized Virtue Ethics and the Epistemological Gap” is forthcoming in Journal of Moral Philosophy.

 

Jeremy Wisnewski, “Murder, Cannibalism, and Indirect Suicide”

 

Recently, a man in Germany was put on trial for killing and consuming another German man. Disgust at this incident was exacerbated when the accused explained that he had placed an advertisement on the internet for someone to be slaughtered and eaten-and that his 'victim' had answered this advertisement. In this paper, I will argue that this disturbing case should not be seen as morally problematic. I will defend this view by arguing that 1) the so-called 'victim' of this cannibalization is not in fact a victim of murder, and that 2) there is nothing wrong with cannibalism.

 

J. Jeremy Wisnewski is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at East Carolina University. He works primarily in ethics and the philosophy of the social sciences. He is probably the only vegetarian who is willing to defend cannibalism.

 

James McLachlan, “Religious Pluralism: Whoring, Polygamy, or Friendship?”

 

Over the last twenty years discussions of the plurality of religions have centered around three possible stances toward another’s religion (Race 1982).  The exclusivist claims that his/her tradition is the only true one and that all others are wrong.  An exclusivist would investigate other traditions only to show how they are wrong or through mere intellectual curiosity.  Any sincere religious interest would constitute whoring after false gods. An inclusivist claims that all religions are really versions of one’s own, which is the true faith.  Here we have a type of religious polygamy in which all the traditions become one’s own.   Finally, a pluralist claims that all religions are somehow true and thus equally valid ways to salvation.   Hence, religions should enter into a dialogue of equals.

 

James McLachlan is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Carolina in Cullowhee, NC

 

 

 

 

SPCW 2004 Conference Organizers

 

Siegfried Van Duffell

Andrew Fiala

Joe Jones

 

 

Special thanks to those who read papers