Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Abstracts: Volume 6 (1999) through Volume 9 (2002)

Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 1999  

Political Arguments Against Utopianism
Roger Paden

Abstract: A number of different types of arguments have been advanced against the use of utopian speculation in Political Philosophy. In this essay I examine what I call "political arguments against utopianism." I limit my discussion to those arguments made by liberals. These arguments hold that there is some essential incompatibility between liberalism and utopianism. I argue that this is not the case. After examining these arguments in detail, I attempt to define "utopianism." This leads me to argue that there is a type of utopianism, which I call "political utopianism," which escapes the political arguments advanced by liberals. I end by urging that liberals should spend more time developing utopian conceptions of liberal society.  

Mill on Censorship
Frances E. Gill

Abstract: This essay argues that John Stuart Mill is not the radical anti-censorship thinker he is sometimes supposed to be. By describing a contemporary case of a journalist who denied the holocaust, I show that there is evidence in Mill that supports the position that the journalist should have been censored.  

The Spirit of Art An Hegelian Look at Art Today
Daniel J. Goodey

Abstract: This essay seeks to establish the relevance for contemporary aesthetic theory of Hegel's view of the relationship between art, religion, and philosophy. The way in which Hegel relates these three is shown to offer an aesthetic theory in conflict with, and superior to, both functionalist and naturalist approaches. The views of Arnold Berleaut and Robert Steeker are used as foils for the functionalism/naturalism part of the argument. Finally, the views of Benedetto Croce concerning the death of art and religion in Hegel are shown to be mistaken, clearing the way for asserting the relevance of Hegel's ideas to contemporary aesthetic theory.  

A Prolegomena to "Emotional Intelligence"
Kristjan Kristjansson

Abstract: Although emotional intelligence (EQ) training seems to fall right into line with virtue ethics and the reigning cognitive theories of emotion, there is a reason many philosophers are skeptical of such training. Emotional intelligence manuals tend to underplay considerations which philosophers see as essential preludes to theories of emotional cultivation: considering our responsibility for emotions, connecting this responsibility with moral evaluation, and explaining moral justification of particular emotions in particular contexts. This essay fills in the gap between EQ-theorists and philosophers by outlining the conditions which must be satisfied for an emotion to be morally justified, and hence a proper object of EQ-training. A necessary step in filling in this gap is to show how moral evaluation of the emotions indeed requires responsibility, in spite of recent attacks on this assumption. If successful, this defended position provides a prolegomena to the ideal of emotional intelligence.  

Personal Identity and Social Change: Toward a Post-Traditional Lifeworld
Krassimir Stojanov

Abstract: The paper attempts to describe mechanisms of personal identity development during the radical break with traditions which is typical for the age of reflexive modernity. Here identity development is no longer possible on the base of identification with irreflexive, traditionally given symbols of a local culture. Post-traditional identity does not refer to the past, but to the future, which has optinal as well as contigent character. Post-traditional identity is formed through participation in a kind of intersubjectivity which has a reflexive and universal structure. I explain this model of intersubjectivity by means of a contemparative analysis of two opposite concepts of interpersonal communication, respectively of the relationship between I and We-namely those of Charles Taylor and Jurgen Habermas.  

Volume 6, Number 2, Winter 1999  

Stories for and by Students: Personalizing the Teaching of Philosophy

Joel H. Marks
Abstract: In the beginning I was the typical academic philosophy professor and teacher, whose stock in trade was argumentative essays about abstract issues.  It puzzled, or bemused, even distressed me, therefore, when I would sometimes hear my students refer to the assigned readings in my course as stories. I attributed this inappropriate nomenclature to their inexperience with anything other than fiction and literature prior to their first philosophy course. But the shoe is now on the other foot.  I myself have become the purveyor of stories: I write them, I assign them as reading, and I ask my students to write their own.
Eros and the Future: Levinas’s Philosophy of Family
Laura Duhan Kaplan

Abstract: The paper is triggered by an account of a midnight when wordless strands of erotic and parental love began to weave themselves together into a theory of the family.  The theory is then put into words, borrowing from Emmanuel Levinas’s discussion of “Eros and Fecundity” in Totality and Infinity.  A commitment to family is simply a special case of ethical relationships n which family members are constantly drawn outside of themselves in response to one another.  To have family connections is to have a future, i.e., a commitment to what is unknown, unknowable, and ever unfolding.
The Ghosts Within Us, The Others Without: My Father, My Self
Charles W. Harvey

Abstract: In
this essay I use personal narrative concerning my father and myself to compare and contrast the Heideggerian/sociological idea of "being-alongside-others"” in the public world with the more classical philosophical ideal of intersubjective contact between two selves.  I  try to show that “being-alongside-others” in the public world does not dissolve the issue of intersubjectivity.  To do this, I use narrative vignettes and develop some ideas about the role that intimacy plays in developing the sense of self; in particular, I reflect on this process in terms of the relations of parents and children.

Wishing and Hoping: Some Thoughts on the Place of the Future in a Philosophy of the Present
 J. Craig Hanks
Abstract: In this essay I think about the ways in which orientation towards the future plays a central role in constituting meaningful lives.  Much intellectual work on the nature of persons takes our existence as something given and static, and much of it treats persons as either isolated individuals, or as completely subsumed within a social identity.  However, we are both, and neither; we are always individuals, and we are always social creatures, and yet we are never fully either of these.  Understanding who and what we are in each of these ways reveals something important, but each understanding also reduces us and limits our self-comprehension in dangerous ways.  In response I suggest that we refashion the notion of “hope” as an act of subjective faith and self-creation, and as an orientation only possible within free and loving human communities.  Perhaps this is willfully naive, but without hope it seems we will drift, or be driven, and our lives will fail to be ours. 
Seeking Loyalty: A Personal and Philosophical Journey
R. Paul Churchill


Philosopher Without Portfolio: Seeking the Truth in Everyday Life
Patricia J. Thompson

Abstract: Not every philosopher engages in personal reflection, and many who reflect would not count themselves philosophers.  For this writer, “narrative” is the natural expression of reflection.  This paper traces the origins of a philosophical standpoint that exists outside of the conventional discourses of philosophy.  Informed by feminist writing on “the other,” it suggests that by revising two archetypal figures in Greek mythology previously discussed in PCW (Thomson 1996; 1998), it may be possible to discern two “ways of knowing” that are complementary, but not necessarily confined by gender.  Based on a reconceptualization of the ancient Greek oikos and polis, the proposed paradigm describes two mutually defining systems of action-the Hestian (domestic) and the Hermean (civic) that co-exist and co-emerge in everyday life.
Becoming What I Was (Not): Thoughts on Bible Stories and Sartrean Existentialism
Carol Zibell

Abstract: In this essay I analyze my early childhood training in fundamentalist Christianity in terms of my more recent readings of Sartrean existentialism; to a lesser extent, I suggest how Christian doctrine sheds light on some of Sartre’s insights.  Since this essay is an exercise in philosophy through personal narrative, my life is used as the mediating juncture of these two systems of thought.
Volume 6, Numbers 3-4, Fall-Winter 1999
The Deep Spirit of the Enlightenment:  A Defense
Robert M. Baird

Abstract: Currently the Enlightenment tradition is under such intense attack that Richard Bernstein calls the present mood a " rage against the enlightenment."  The purpose of this essay is to defend the deep spirit of the Enlightenment, the position that no idea, proposition, or principle should be beyond critical assessment.  The defense involves an examination of and a response to two criticisms of the Enlightenment:  first that the Enlightenment disdainfully rejects religion, particularly Christianity, and second that Enlightenment thinkers had a misguided confidence in the powers of a-historical reason, i.e. the notion that humans have a rational capacity, unaffected by context or historical circumstance, to arrive at truth.
Language and Intersubjectivity: Recognizing the Other Without Taking Over or Giving In
Charles Bingham
Abstract: Using the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jessica Benjamin, I here describe the role of language in achieving intersubjective relationships among persons.
The Implications of Consistency: Plato on Protagoras and Heidegger onTechnology
Mary Bloodworth

Abstract: Scholars have argued that Socrates' activity in Plato's early dialogues involves generating, or exposing, logical inconsistencies within his interlocuters belief-sets.  Possessing an inconsistent set of beliefs undermines coherence and is considered a great danger.  In contrast to the prevailing view, I claim that it is not inconsistency as much as consistency that Socrates often regards as the greatest threat.  Using the figure of Protagoras in Plato's Protagoras and insights gained from Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology," I suggest that it is Protagoras's emphasis on technology and science (techne) that Socrates finds disturbing.  It is Protagoras' consistent shift in worldview away from Athenian belief in chance or luck (tuche), that poses the greatest danger, according to Socrates--a danger still evident, according to Heidegger, in the modern world.
The Aesthetics of Nature
Noel E. Boulting

Three paradigms for making sense of the aesthetic experience of nature--Specularism, Scientific Exemplarism and Perspectivalism--are found in the literature on the aesthetics of nature.  The first focuses on seeing nature as a picture, the second on grasping aesthetic experience through the categories of scientific enquiry and the third emphasized a more phenomenological relation between the experienced and experiencer.  After the historical development which fashioned Specularism's approach to aesthetics has been indicated and the ahistorical nature of Scientific Exemplarism has been explained, the relative strengths of these three paradigms are explored before the implications of the third are related to a possible spiritual view of nature.

Sociality and the Aesthetic Sphere: The Revelations of Offense and Transgression
Judith Bradford

In this paper, I examine the textual evidence for the thesis that the so-called "aesthetic sphere" of existence as depicted in Either/Or, Part 1, is best described as a certain mode of relation to the social: a relation of distrust and despite.  Throughout that work, themes of distrust, misunderstanding, offense, and deliberate deception recur in different profiles; I offer a social diagnosis of the "aesthetic" and support the analysis through interpretation of the text.

Cities and the Place of Philosophy
James Conlon

This essay takes seriously Heidegger's claim that a given place influences what gets built in it, which both expresses and creates how we dwell in that place.  This in turn is a guiding metaphor for how we think about ourselves as dwellers, which for Heidegger is the true nature of philosophy.  I argue that philosophy itself is most fully supported in an urban, city environment.

The Existential Condition at the Millennium
Ralph D. Ellis
Abstract: This essay describes the authentic use of religious experience to address the value expressive dimension of being human.  The value expressive dimension intensifies our experiential affirmation of the value of existence itself in a way not available through attaining valued or valuable outcomes.
Sentimentality and Human Rights: Critical Remarks on Rorty
Patrick Hayden

Richard Rorty has recently argued that support for human rights ought to be cultivated in terms of a sentimental education which manipulated our emotions through detailed stories intended to produce feelings of sympathy and solidarity.  Rorty contends that a sentimental education will be more effective in promoting respect for human rights than will a moral discourse grounded on rationality and universalism.  In this paper, I critically examine Rorty's proposal and argue that it fails to recognize the necessity of moral reasoning in creating and implementing the types of international human rights regimes which are required precisely when our sympathy is lacking or completely fails.  In addition to a sentimental education, an effective human rights culture must include strong principles of moral agency, such as freedom and equality, and a commitment to the institutionalization of those principles as human rights norms.

Alienation in the "Cashless Society"
Barry L. Padgett

Since the global political events of the early 1990's Marxian philosophy has faced significant challenges.  This essay attempts to reinterpret Marx's theory of alienation in light of contemporary social issues.  In particular, Marx claims that labor is alienated because workers lose control over the process of production, its outcomes and effects.  In order to support my argument that alienation of labor is still a relevant concept to post-modern, post-industrial social critique, I examine the contemporary proliferation of credit (especially in the form of credit cards) in the United States.  I demonstrate that the preponderance and reliance on credit in American culture serves as an excellent example of Marxian alienation.

Making A Meaningful Life: Rereading Beauvoir
William C. Pamerlau

In this paper, I will explain the key elements of freedom in Beauvoir's work, and I will show that they acknowledge a process of development and the effects of socialization.  This account of freedom, I will argue, makes her view more attractive than the views of other existentialists, which many find to be too rooted in a subject-centered philosophy.  However, to make Beauvoir's views on freedom more consistent with contemporary philosophy, I suggest we read them as offering us a goal to achieve and not a capacity that we have inherently.

Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2000  

Rethinking Justice: Levinas and Asymetrical Responsibility
Sarah Roberts

Emmanuel Levinas argues that justice is meaningful only to the extent that other persons are encountered in their individuality, as my neighbors, and not merely abstract citizens of a political community.  That is, the political demand for justice arises from my ethical relationship with the other whose face I cannot look past.  But despite his revolutionary ideas about the origins of justice, Levinas ultimately appeals to a very traditional view of justice in which persons are considered equal and comparable, and responsibilities and rights are distributed evenly among them.  In response to Levinas, I argue that insofar as justice is constructed by and for the relationship, it must also be deconstructed by that relationship.  If one takes seriously Levinas's claim that asymmetrical ethical responsibility is the origin of justice, then one must also reject Levinas's suggestion that justice involves viewing persons and responsibilities as comparable and symmetrical.

Engendering Questions: Developing Feminist Ethics With Levinas

Deidre Butler

Levinas's often reflexive internalization of female stereotypes, as well as his reifications of particularly patriarchal tendencies within the biblical and rabbinic tradition in his dialogue with Jewish law and thought, are only two of the many problems feminists, and particularly Jewish feminists, must address as they engage in his ethics.  Despite these difficulties, Levinas's compelling description of the radical obligation to the Other invites feminists to enter into dialogue with his thought.  This article explores the possibilities of developing and enhancing feminist ethics through the application of key concepts and strategies found in the ethical thought of Emmanuel Levinas.  Levinas's conceptions of alterity, relationship, justice and phenomenological uses of gender are evaluated in terms of how they might be appropriated by feminist ethics.

Zionism, Place, and the Other: Toward a Levinasian International Relations
William Paul Simmons

Abstract: This essay expands on the recent writings on Levinas's politics by discussing his explicit comments about international relations.  Levinas embraces neither a naive idealism, nor a cold realism.  Instead, he searches for a third way, that is, an oscillation between idealism and realism.  There is a place for realism, but the power of the state must be held in check by the ethical responsibility for the Other.  This oscillation is examined in relation to Levinas's writings on "place" and Zionism.  Levinas also calls for an oscillation between the enrootedness to a place or nation and the higher ethical responsibility for the Other.  The essay concludes with a discussion of some very controversial remarks Levinas made about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

Resisting Silence In the Face of Evil: Re-Thinking the Holocaust, Speaking the Unspeakable, With Emmanuel Levinas
Bob Plant

Abstract: In the following paper I shall outline a number of preliminary ideas concerning the relationship between the Holocaust and certain themes which emerge in the works of Emmanuel Levinas.  As this relationship is distinctly twofold, my analysis will include both a textual and a rather more speculative component.  That is to say, while I shall argue that reading Levinas specifically as a post-Holocaust thinker clarifies a number of his philosophical and rhetorical motifs, so, in turn, does this challenging body of work offer a means by which to re-think both the horror and ethical significance of the Holocaust itself.  During the course of my argument I shall additionally refer to the writings of Primo Levi, Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger through whom I hope also to establish the central role guilt and confession play in Levinas's own thinking.  

Good Infinity/Bad Infinity: Il y a, Apeiron, and the Environmental Ethics in the Philosophy of Levinas
Danne Polk

Abstract: Although Levinas does not specifically articulate an environmental ethic, he certainly has a concept of nature working within his philosophy, a portrait of which can be drawn from the various texts that describe in detail what he believes to be the human, primordial relationship to the elemental.  The following essay is an attempt to articulate how Levinas comes to define that relationship, and to imagine what kind of environmental ethic is implied by it.  We will see that an important, dichotomous distinction is made between two types of infinity, the "bad infinity" of the sacred and the "good infinity" of the holy.  This distinction corresponds to the separated subject's world.  For Levinas, this distinction addresses not only the rationalist vs. empiricist question concerning the relationship between consciousness and the body, a guiding question for modern philosophy from Descartes through Husserl, but also the question concerning technology, especially as it is posed by Heidegger and other twentieth century continental philosophers.  These two related questions can help guide us to an understanding of how Levinas imagines environmental imperatives toward both the body's exclusive relationship to nature, and to the interpersonal relationships between the self and other human beings.  We will begin this analysis with Husserl's answer to the question of consciousness.  

Emmanuel Levinas on God and Philosophy: Practical Implications for Christian Theology
Robyn Horner

Abstract: This paper concerns the possibility of "thinking" God, and uses the work of Emmanuel Levinas to frame a contemporary approach to some of the problems involved.  The difficult relationship between philosophy and Christian theology is noted, before Levinas's thought is examined as it relates to that which both marks consciousness and exceeds it.  Levinas's adoption of the "idea of the Infinite" and his exploration of two ways in which the Infinite might signify (have meaning) open up a useful trajectory for a thought of God which is not reductive.  At the same time, however, this aporetic approach raises difficulties in the context of specific religious traditions.  Three problems as they occur for Christian theology are examined in light of Levinas's work: the problem of not being able to identify an experience of God as such; the problem of the infinite interpretability of revelation; and the problem of understanding the divinity of Jesus Christ.  

Talmud, Totality, and Jewish Pluralism: A Comment Inspired by Reading Emmanuel Levinas
Laura Duhan Kaplan

Abstract: Levinas's conception of listening for the "trace" of the infinite implies that the human spirit grows when it comes into contact with something greater than it had previously known.  When Levinas reads the Talmud, sourcebook of Jewish Law, he tries to enter into conversation with it, allowing the meaning of the text to expand to touch his own contemporary concerns.  At the flip side of his expansion, however, lies my worry that the text functions as a " totality," assimilating all contemporary concerns to its discussions.  At this time of rebuilding in Jewish history, Jews cannot afford narrow conceptions of Jewish practice.  This essay does not attempt to elucidate Levinas's thought, but to use some insights gained from reading his work to think about contemporary Judaism.  

Levinas, Theistic Language, and Psychology: A Cautionary Note
David R. Harrington

Abstract: Emmanuel Levinas has provided the philosophical basis for psychologies commensurate with the ethical basis of human existence; however, introducing psychologists to his work is frustrated by a number of factors.  One of these factors is his use of theistic language in his philosophical writings.  Two problems are discussed regarding this language.  First, contemporary psychology, including the area of psychology of religion, rejects any theistic language as incompatible with an empirical science.  Second, it is suggested that many persons, including psychologists, are not in the cognitive developmental stage at which they can understand Levinas's writings about God.  Further, it is also suggested that psychology's history warns against creating a psychological school or division based in Levinas's thought.  The article concludes with a general discussion regarding how psychology can apply Levinas's thought while leaving God and Levinas behind.  

Difficulty and Mortality: Two Notes on Reading Levinas
Richard A. Cohen

Abstract: I argue against the work of simplifying and applying Levinas's thought.  Simplifying Levinas misses the point of the greatness of his thought, which is addressed to the most sophisticated philosophical thinkers of his day, and calls upon them to re-ground philosophy in the ethical.  Applying Levinas misses the point that Levinas's conception of alterity is perfectly concrete, because it is linked to morality through the mortality of the other.  

Volume 7, Numbers 2-3, Summer-Fall 2000  

Symbolic Meaning and the Confederate Battle Flag
Torin Alter

Abstract: The Confederate Battle Flag (CBF) is in the news again.  On January 16th, 2000, 46,000 people came to Columbia, South Carolina, to protest its display over the state's capital dome.  On July 1st, the CBF was removed.  But on the same day, it was raised in front of the Statehouse steps.  The controversy has received a great deal of media coverage and was a factor in the 2000 presidential primaries.  CBF displays raise a philosophical question I wish to address: What determines whether a symbol or symbol-display is racist?  I will focus on the CBF because its contemporary relevance.  But the discussion will shed light on the general issue of when a symbol or symbol-display has a particular meaning and when it does not.  

Minorities and Racist Symbols: A Response to Torin Alter
George Schedler

No Abstract

Kant and the Problem of Ethical Metaphysics
Anthony F. Beavers

Abstract: The ethical philosophies of Kant and Levinas would seem, on the surface, to be incompatible.  In this essay I attempt to reconcile them by situating Levinas's philosophy "beneath" Kant's as its existential condition thereby addressing two shortcomings in each of their works, for Kant, the apparent difficulty of making ethics apply to real concrete cases, and, for Levinas, the apparent difficulty of establishing a normative ethics that can offer prescriptions for moral behavior.  My general thesis is that the existential ethical terrain unearthed by Levinas turns Kantian when transposed into the rational order.  

Buridan's Ass and Other Dilemmas: A Decision-Value Approach
Wesley Cooper and Guillermo Barron

Abstract: The dilemma confronted by Buridan's Ass leads into a problem about nil-preference situations, to which there is a solution in the literature that is inspired by Alan Turing: we have evolved with a computational module in our brains that comes into play in such situations by picking a random action among the alternatives that determines the subject's choice.  We relate these Buridan's Ass situations to a larger, theoretically interesting category in which there is no alternative that is decisively superior to others with respect to expected utility, and we try to show how our emotional makeup figures in a rational response, particularly as informed by symbolic utility that we draw down from our culture's shared understandings.  The category is theoretically interesting because it contains moral dilemmas, as well as hard cases in which an important choice must be made without an option that has clearly superior expected utility.  We argue that our Emotional Response Model is preferable to Turing's Randomizer for this category, as well as more illuminating about nil-preference situations or close approximation thereto.  

Towards an Ethics of Time: Eschatology and its Discontents
Andrew Fiala

Abstract: This essay does not argue for any specific conception of time as ethically superior or significant, but argues that the conception of time we choose from among possible such conceptions has ethical consequences.  

Hairstyles and Attitudes: Hacking, Human Kinds, and the Development of Punk Rock
Andrew Latus

Abstract: Much of Ian Hacking's recent work has concerned the notion of 'human kinds', that is, ways of classifying people as objects of study in the human and social sciences.  In this paper, I use a study of the development of a particular kind of person--the punk rocker-- to clarify and extend the idea of a human kind.  With regard to clarification, this case provides an excellent opportunity to consider examples of what Hacking calls 'looping effects', i.e. particular kinds of interactions between ways of classifying people and those who are classified.  As for extending Hacking's ideas, in punk we see a sort of kind creation largely absent from the examples he has considered.  While the human kinds Hacking has focussed on typically emerge from investigations by experts and then filter out into popular consciousness, in punk we see the opposite process take place.  

Utopian Liberalism: A Response to my Colleagues
Roger Paden

No Abstract

Logic in a Pincers
Herman E. Stark

Abstract:  The essay challenges the de facto dichotomy between the discipline of logic and the activity of social criticism, i.e., it provides an illustrated reminder to philosophers that the gulf between these two areas of philosophy is not quite as wide as our curriculum and specialization designations tends to suggest.  Social criticism plays some necessary roles in certain branches of logic, and the second-order accounting of the contents of these branches leads back to social criticism.  These points suggest an adjusted conception of logic that would, among other things, render phrases such as "applying logic to social criticism" as misleading since certain branches of logic would not even coherently exist apart from social criticism.  The lead illustrations are the identification of basic, pervasive, and thought-impeding logical errors that have been missed by numerous logic texts, and the assessment of contemporary academic logic as properly a quest for communal sanity that lies caught between communal insanity and communal mendacity.  

Hestian Thinking in Antiquity and Modernity: Pythagorean Women Philosophers and 19th Century Domestic Scientists
Patricia J. Thompson

Abstract: Thompson (1994) proposed a re-visioning of the oikos/polis dichotomy in classical philosophy.  She offers a dual systems paradigm, based on two ancient Greek mythemes-Hestia, goddess of the oikos, or domestic "homeplace," and Hermes, god of the polis, or public "marketplace" as an alternative to gender as the primary analytic lens to advance feminist theory.  This paper applies hestian/hermean lenses of analysis, described in two propadeutic papers (SPCW 1996; 1997), to the writings of 6th-5th century BCE Pythagorean women philosophers and 19th century domestic scientists to claim them as moral philosophers of the hestian domain.  

Volume 7, Number 4, Winter 2000  

Socrates, the Marketplace, and Money
Trevor Curnow

Abstract: It is often supposed that the example of Socrates makes the taking of payment for philosophical services problematic.  This supposition is examined on the basis of the evidence available in Plato's Apology and Xenophon's Memorabilia.  These texts suggest that Socrates certainly had reservations about the desirability of receiving payment in return for philosophical services.  However, these reservations do not amount to an outright and unconditional condemnation.  Furthermore, some of the reservations derive from the particular values of the culture in which Socrates lived and should not be seen as binding to all.  Similarly, whatever specific objections Socrates may have had to the activities of the Sophists should not be seen as applicable to all philosophers who accept payment in return for their services.  

Plato on Philosophy and Money
Paul W. Gooch

Abstract: For Plato, one mark of the difference between sophistry and philosophy is that the sophist takes fees for service.  His Socrates does not.  However, this paper  points out that Socrates' attitude to money reflects his unique indifference to things bodily, and a more satisfactory understanding of Plato on money needs to turn to his discussion of the love of money or avarice, especially in the Republic.  Plato locates money-loving in appetitive soul along with physical cravings like hunger and lust; why he should do so is explained if avarice is seen as a primary instance of a more pervasive possessiveness that is ultimately somatic in nature.  I argue that though his remedies are too severe, Plato is right to warn against avarice and its possible effects upon the practice of philosophy.  And following Plato I conclude that philosophy is best understood as an enquiry unconstrained by the interests of the market and carried out in the context of academic freedom.  

Philosophy and Money-Making
Marco Iorio

Abstract: This essay argues that there is no obvious reason not to make money doing philosophy.  Whether philosophical counseling is justified, however, depends on the practitioners of the service defining the benefit of that service.  

Absolutism and Relativism: Practical Implications for Philosophical Counseling
Andrew M. Koch

Abstract: This article raises the question of whether or not a "neutral" stance can be found from which to engage in philosophical counseling.  By drawing on the debate between absolutism and relativism, it is argued that no such neutral ground exists.  The foundational premises of the transcendentalist tradition involve different assumptions than those of the materialist and relativist traditions.  Such a distinction goes back to the earliest days of philosophy and today the new profession of philosophical counseling must address the multiplicity of assumptions upon which philosophic discourse can be built.  The paper concludes with a call for philosophical counseling to move beyond the focus on Socrates, and to embrace a wide variety of different positions within it domain.  

Are Counselors and Therapists Prostitutes ? A Dialogue
Rupert Read and Emma Willmer

No Abstract

Socrates in the Agora: Philosophy as Private Good and Public Act
Jon Borowicz

Abstract: Philosophical counseling recommends to its clients the activity of philosophical dialogue.  The process of thought in dialogue differs from private thought in the greater physical constraints placed upon dialogue.  We as yet do not have an understanding of the embodied activity of philosophy sufficient to make viable the marketing of philosophical counseling as a service.  The paper is a contribution to such an understanding.  The paper considers the notion of a philosophical life and criticizes the possibility of a profession of philosophical counseling.  It ends with a tentative defense of philosophical counseling as a marketable service.  

Inculcating Virtue in Philosophical Practice
Lou Marinoff

Abstract: This paper claims that the edifice of philosophical practice bears prima facie resemblance to other counseling-dispensing professions--e.g. medicine, law, psychology, accountancy.  It defends virtues of professionalism in philosophical practice against accusations of sophism, and also rejects social constructivism as a politically extreme form of sophistry.  It concludes that, notwithstanding prima facie resemblance to other counseling professions, philosophical practice is foundationally distinct from them.  When elaborated, this distinction complicates the notion of inculcating virtue in philosophical practice.  

Philosophy at the Core of Economic Markets
Karl Reinhard Kolmsee

Abstract: The market seems to have substituted politics as a coordination model in modern societies.  While philosophy's complementarity to politics is well-acknowledged, its importance for economic markets can be questioned.  Economics deals with optimization, but as markets are constituted by real person with individual beliefs and normative values the economic tool box is not sufficient to describe market behavior.  This especially true whenever technological innovations challenge established market rules.  Philosophy supplies analytical instruments for a better, more complete description of markets including their normative aspects.  For this complementary function philosophy should be placed at the core of any theory of markets.

Volume 8, Number 1, Spring 2001  

Compassion:An Aristotelian Approach
Trudy C. Conway

Department of Philosophy

Mount St. Mary’s College

Emmitsburg, MD

Abstract:The following three papers focus on compassion, an issue well worth our consideration in our contemporary age, and most especially during our recent national tragedy.  It is hoped that these philosophical discussions of compassion may help us as we, on personal and societal levels, come to grips with immense human suffering.  The topic of compassion brings us to an exploration of a cluster of related philosophical issues and is thus a good stepping off point for inquiry.  The role of the first paper is that of stage setting, to simply lay out an approach to compassion presented by Aristotle and developed by Martha Nussbaum.  This approach served as the introductory consideration in a course on compassion taught by the first two commentators.  Initially, we wondered if we could sustain discussion on this narrow topic over fourteen weeks, but found the course left students with numerous questions worth their further consideration.  So too in these papers, a number of issues will remain untouched, such as the relation of compassion and public policy and specific approaches to the cultivating of compassion, both of which are explored at length by Martha Nussbaum.  This first paper frames our discussion, by presenting in outline form key points addressed in Martha Nussbaum’s Aristotelian discussion of the emotion of compassion, and touches upon issues developed in the next two papers.  

A Buddhist Critique of Nussbaum’s Account of Compassion
Jeremiah Conway

Department of Philosophy

University of Southern Maine

Portland, ME 04104-9300

Abstract:This paper examines Martha Nussbaum’s account of compassion from the perspective of Mahayana Buddhism.  It focuses on the three criteria of compassion set forth by Nussbaum in a number of her works, and shows why Buddhism would reject each of them.  The paper concludes that Nussbaum’s analysis of compassion is more accurately described as an account of pity.  

Barriers to Feeling and Actualizing Compassion
Lani Roberts

Department of Philosophy

Oregon State University

Corvalis, OR 97331-4503

Abstract:Hume and Rousseau argue that “feeling with and/or for others” is natural and basic to us as human persons, but Royce claims that merely feeling the fleeting impulse of sympathy is not the moral insight itself.  Compassion must be both felt and acted upon for it to play the role in morality ascribed by Hume and Rousseau.  Why is it so often the case that we fail to feel compassion for others and, even when we do, why do we often fail to act on this basis?  There are multiple socially constructed barriers to feeling and acting on compassion, three of which are discussed:null curriculum, stereotyping, and privileges.  Finally, the Dalai Lama maintains that it is in every person’s own self-interest to develop compassion for others because it is the source of both inner and external peace.  

Is Coerced Fertility Reduction to Preserve Nature Justifiable?
Frank W. Derringh

Department of Social Science (Philosophy)

New York City Technical College

300 Jay Street, N611

City University of New York

Brooklyn, New York 11201

Abstract:Human population growth must end, and the sooner the better, for both nature and a humanity that pursues boundlessly increasing affluence.  Poisoning of organisms and massive extinctions result, exacerbated by population momentum.  Infliction of pain and death largely for trivial reasons constitutes the ignoble dénouement of our history.  Reducing human numbers would be only one fitting response to recognition of this situation.  Reliance on voluntary socio-economic reforms, including even the empowerment of women, appears unlikely to lead to below-replacement-level fertility, since families on average still elect to have more than two children.  Discussed are three reasons for thinking that coercive measures could help us to engender a decreasing human population without negating preferable voluntary efforts to the same end.  Hence some coercion to reduce fertility is justifiable.  

Virtuality and Morality:On (not) Being Disturbed by the Other
Lucas D. Introna

Centre for the Study of Technology and Organisation

University of Lancaster Management School

Lancaster, United Kingdom

Abstract:This paper critically describes the mediation of social relations by information technology, drawing on the work of Emmanuel Levinas.  In the first of three movements, I discuss ethical relations as primordial sociality based in proximity.  In the second movement I discuss how the self encounters the Other, the ethical contact.  How can the self make contact with the Other without turning the Other into a theme, a concept, or a category?  In the third movement, I discuss the electronic mediation of the social as simulation.  I argue that simulation shatters proximity, since it transforms expression, the trace, into presentation, an image.  I argue that the distance produced by the mediation increases the potential for the Other to become appropriated by the self-certain ego as a theme, according to its categories.  In simulation, proximity is shattered and the ego can no longer be disturbed—no longer become a hostage.  In a final section, I explore alternative arguments for the possibility of electronic mediation that preserves the trace, that possibility of being disturbed.  

The Case Against Reparations
Stephen Kershnar

Department of Philosophy

Fenton Hall


Fredonia, NY 14063

Abstract:George Schedler raises interesting issues with regard to the amount of reparations owed for slavery, the parties who are owed reparations, and the standard for these reparations.  His arguments, however, do not hold up upon analysis.  His analysis of the case for the descendants of slaves being owed compensation seriously overestimates the case for such reparations.  He does not identify the grounds for such compensation, i.e., either stolen inheritance or the descendents’ trustee-like control over the slave’s estate, and this results in his not identifying the metaphysical and epistemic problems that accompany the descendant’s claim to reparations.  In analyzing whether the U.S. government owes compensation, Schedler provides arguments on its small role in bringing about slavery and the break in national identity that followed the Civil War.  Such arguments fail but his conclusion can be supported by other arguments, specifically the nature of the federal government’s relation to slavery and the limited nature of its powers.  Thus, the case against reparations is overwhelming but nor for the reasons Schedler thinks.  

The Logical Mistake of Racism
Joseph W. Long

Philosophy Department

Purdue University

1360 Liberal Arts and Education Building

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1360

Abstract:In this paper, I will explore and attempt to define one very important type of egregious discrimination of persons, racism.  I will argue that racism involves a kind of logical mistake; specifically, I hope to show that racists commit the naturalistic fallacy.  Finally, I will defend my account of racism against two challenges, the most important of which argues that of racism is merely a logical error, then racists are not morally culpable.  

Concessions to Moral Particularism
Susan M. Purviance

Philosophy Department

The University of Toledo

Toledo, OH 43606-3390

Abstract:In this paper, I examine the particularist attack on deductive use of moral principles, reviewing the critiques of the uniformity of moral reasons and impartiality in ethics, looking principally at arguments from Larry Blum, Jonathan Dancy, and Margaret Walker.  I defend the action-guiding-ness of moral principles themselves, but consider various ways to accommodate the objections coming from particularism.  I conclude that one objection to the impartialist theory of value must be conceded without qualification: generalism is unable to account for the unique and irreplaceable value of individual persons.  I present an example which supports my view and shows that, in the context of lived experience, replaceability is contradicted.  Indeed there may be few constants of value in the narrative of one’s life, as experiences overlay supposed constants with continual new shading, and create even deeper sorts of transformation in valuing.  In the end, both particularized moral judgment and the articulation of fact with principle contribute to moral discernment.  

Curing Iranian Occidentosis: Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s Poly-Methodic Prescription
Karen G. Ruffle

Department of Religious Studies

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

Abstract:In this paper, I shall argue that during the period from the end of World War II until just before the Islamic revolution of 1979, a body of literature emerged critiqueing the petro-colonialism of the United States and select European countries, which infected Iran with a severe case of “occidentosis.”  This set the stage for the revolution, and a presentation of the principle author of occidentosis, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, will facilitate understanding of the Iranian intellectual tradition.  

Values and Science:Dewey and Pragmatist Inquiry
Andrew Ward

School of Public Policy

685 Cherry Street

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA 30332-1345

Abstract:This essay argues for a pragmatist notion of inquiry which ties together science and morality into a seamless whole, pace David Hume, Gilbert Harman, and others who would separate science and morality as different kinds of inquiry.  

Volume 8, Number 2, Fall-Winter 2001  

What is Environmental Virtue Ethics that We Should Be Mindful of It?
Geoffrey B. Frasz

Philosophical and Regional Studies Department

Community College of Southern Nevada

6375 W. Charleston,

Las Vegas, NV 89146.

Abstract:There has been increased interest in developing what I call environmental virtue ethics (EVE). This paper presents some of the central features of this project. The first part is a general description of EVE, showing why there is a need for it. The second part spells out the central features of EVE including an account of the good life as flourishing in an expanded or mixed biotic community, and provides a tentative list of important environmental virtues. The third part examines one virtue: friendship, showing how an understanding of it provides insight into current issues in environmental ethics. The final section addresses a challenge to the project of EVE.  

Environmental Virtue Ethics: An Aristotelian Approach
Eugene Schlossberger

Purdue University Calumet

Hammond, IN 46323

Abstract:This paper articulates a framework, “E,” for developing ethical claims about environmental issues.  E is a general framework for constructing arguments and working out disputes, rather than a particular theory. It may be deployed in various ways by writers with quite different views to generate diverse arguments applying to a broad panoply of issues. E can serve as a common language between those who adopt anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric standpoints. E is anthropocentric in the sense that it begins with ideas about human excellence and human interests. Arguments employing E suggest that we, as human beings, have certain duties regarding the environment. Since it may also be true that various duties attach to being an organism of any stripe, that nature has intrinsic value, and so forth, arguments employing E can be seen as supplementing, rather than replacing, non-anthropocentric moral arguments.  Moreover, E is anthropocentric in its methodology but not necessarily in its results. Some accounts of human excellence yield the sorts of obligations that biocentrists advocate. As a result, arguments employing E can have force with both those who adopt and those who reject non-anthropocentric standpoints.  

Inner Diversity: An Alternative Ecological Virtue Ethics
Jason Kawall

Department of Philosophy and Religion

232 Holt Hall

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN 37403

Abstract:I propose a modified virtue ethics, grounded in an analogy between ecosystems and human personalities.  I suggest that we understand ourselves as possessing changing systems of inter-related subpersonalities with different virtues, and view our characters as flexible and evolving.  

Neo-Confucian Cosmology, Virtue Ethics, and Environmental Philosophy
Donald N. Blakeley

Department of Philosophy

California State University, Fresno

Fresno, CA 93726

Abstract:This paper explores the extent to which the Confucian concept of ren (humaneness) has application in ways that are comparable to contemporary versions of environmental virtue ethics.  I argue that the accounts of self-cultivation that are developed in major texts of the Confucian  tradition have important direct implications for environmental thinking that even the Neo-Confucians do not seriously entertain.  

Environmental Virtue Ethics With Martha Stewart
William J. Ehmann

Director, Center for Earth and Environmental Science

Plattsburgh State University-SUNY

101 Broad Street

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Abstract:Renewed philosophical discourse about virtue ethics motivates the search for examples to  inform and extend our thinking. In the case of environmental virtue ethics, I have decided to consult “America's Lifestyle Expert,” Martha Stewart. Oft dismissed as a pop icon or model of domesticity, Martha's business success is arguably a result of her claimed authority on what the good life entails and how we get it. Reviewing over 60 signed “Letters From Martha” from her monthly magazine Martha Stewart Living, (MSL) I explored her presentations of current environmental topics including biodiversity, obligations to animals, gardening, global warming, and reliance on technology. I find that her work ultimately makes managing a household interesting, and encourages her public to take personal pride in everyday tasks done well. These are trademark Martha Stewart “good things.” Moreover, by connecting with a large audience few philosophers or scientists ever court, she is poised to help us manage our larger planetary household (sensu Gr. “oikos”) and frame a quality of life for future generations.  

Comments on Frasz and Cafaro on Environmental Virtue Ethics
Thomas Hill, Jr.

3158 Chicken Bridge Road

Pittsboro, NC 27312

Abstract:Professor Hill delivered these comments as part of the International Society for Environmental Ethics panels on Environmental Virtue Ethics, held at  the annual meeting of the Pacific Division ofthe American Philosophical Association, April 2000, in Albuquerque, NM. Philip Cafaro’s paper “Thoreau, Leopold and Carson: Toward an Environmental Virtue Ethics” appears in  Environmental Ethics 23 (2001), 3-17. Geoffrey Frasz’s paper “What is Environmental Virtue Ethics That We Should Be Mindful of It?” is published as part of this special issue of Philosophy in the Contemporary World.  

A Morally Defensible Aristotelian Environmental Ethics: Comments on Gerber, O’Neill, Frasz and Cafaro on Environmental Virtue Ethics
James Sterba

Department of Philosophy

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN 46556

Abstract:Professor Sterba delivered these comments at the International Society for Environmental Ethics panels on Environmental Virtue Ethics, at the annual meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association, April 2000, in Albuquerque, NM. The papers by L. Gerber, J. O’Neill and G. Frasz are published in Philosophy in the Contemporary World 8:3. P. Cafaro’s paper “Thoreau, Leopold and Carson: Toward an Environmental Virtue Ethics” was published in Environmental Ethics 23 (2001): 3-17.  

Attunement: An Ecological Spin on the Virtue of Temperance
Louke van Wensveen

Department of Theological Studies

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA

Abstract:Within an environmental virtue ethic belongs moderation for the sake of ecojustice. Named attunement, this virtue both resembles and differs from Aristotelian and Thomistic articulations of temperance. Principally expressed as frugality and moderation in diet, it includes: sensitivity to limits, acceptance of limits, joyous contentment, creativity, and readiness to sacrifice.

Environmental Virtues and Public Policy
John O’Neill

Centre for Philosophy

Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy

Lancaster University

Lancaster, LA1 4YG,

United Kingdom

Abstract:The Aristotelian view that public institutions should aim at the good life is criticized on the grounds that it makes for an authoritarian politics that is incompatible with the pluralism of modern society. The criticism seems to have particular power against modern environmentalism, that it offers a local vision of the good life which fails to appreciate the variety of possible human relationships to the natural environment, and so, as a guide to public policy, it leads to green authoritarianism. This paper argues to the contrary that an Aristotelian position which defends environmental goods as constitutive of the good life is consistent with recognition of the plurality of ways our relations to the natural world can be lived. It is compatible with the recognition of distinct cultural expressions of such relations and of the special place particular histories of individuals and social groups have in constraining environmental policy.  

The Art of Intimacy
Lisa Gerber

University Honors Program

University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110

Abstract:This paper is an exploration of intimacy with non-human nature. I show that intimacy is like friendship in that it is a close and familiar relationships that develops over time and is marked by care and concern. Just as we have good reasons to value and promote friendships, we also have good reasons to value and promote intimacy with non-human nature.  

The Virtues of Hunting
Jon Jensen

Green Mountain College

Poultney, VT 05764

No Abstract

Sport Hunting, Eudaimonia, and Tragic Wisdom
James A. Tantillo

Department of Natural Resources

Cornell University

8 Fernow Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853

Abstract:Anti-hunters frequently overlook or underestimate the positive values associated with reflective sport hunting. In this essay I characterize the value of hunting in the context of an Aristotelian virtue ethic.  Sport hunting done for the purpose of recreation contributes heavily to the eudaimonia (flourishing) of hunters. I employ Aristotelian insights about tragedy to defend hunting as an activity especially well- suited for promoting a range of crucial intellectual and emotional virtues. Reflective sport hunters develop a “realistic awareness of death” and experience what may be called “tragic” pleasure, which yields the important intellectual virtue of tragic wisdom.  

Virtue Ethics and the Material Values of Nature
Kari Väyrynen

Academy of Finland

Department of History

University of Oulu

P.O. Box 1000

90014 Oulu, Finland

Abstract:For Aristotle, man is part of nature, a “political animal” with the faculty of reason. In this sense, Aristotelian virtue ethics can be said to relate virtues to nature. On the one hand, virtues lean on the natural dispositions of man as a social animal. On the other hand, virtues are connected to praxis, that is, with man’s active realization of his inherent biological, social and cultural potential. Recently, the material value ethics of Max Scheler and Nicolai Hartmann developed the Aristotelian tradition in a naturalistic direction, posing the problem of the value of life and connecting this question to the question of virtue. Virtues sensitize us to values and are, therefore, especially important for ethical praxis. I claim that precisely because of its historical and cultural concreteness, virtue ethics can be successfully applied to environmental issues. In critical connection with common mentalities, naturalistic virtue ethics can be a politically effective way of ethical thinking. Furthermore, we can avoid the trap of relativism by suggesting strong environmental values and virtues. An example would be the health of ecosystems and of humans.  

Analogical Extension and Analogical Implication in Environmental Moral Philosophy
Jeremy Bendik-Keymer

Philosophy Department

University of Chicago

1010 East 59th Street

Chicago, IL 60637

Abstract:Two common claims in environmental moral philosophy are that nature is worthy of respect and that we respect ourselves in respecting nature. In this paper, I articulate two modes of practical reasoning that help make sense of these claims. The first is analogical extension, which understands the respect due human life as the source of a like respect for nature. The second is analogical implication, which involves nature in human life to show us what we are like. These forms of reasoning are relevant to environmental virtue ethics in that both help us  conceptualize how respect for nature can be part of our sense of humanity, and not opposed to our sense of humanity.  

The Naturalist’s Virtues
Philip Cafaro

Department of Philosophy

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO 80521

Abstract:This paper argues that studying natural history helps make us more virtuous; that is, better and happier people. After sketching a broad conception of virtue, I discuss how naturalizing may improve our moral character and help develop our intellectual, aesthetic and physical abilities. I next assert essential connections between non-anthropocentrism and wisdom, and between natural history study and the achievement of a non-anthropocentric stance toward the world. Finally, I argue that the great naturalists suggest a noble, inspiring alternative to the gross consumption and trivial pleasures offered by our destructive modern economy: the exploration, understanding and appreciation of nature. I conclude that a better understanding of our enlightened self-interest would do as much to further environmental protection as the acknowledgment of nature’s intrinsic value.

Volume 9, Number 1, Spring-Summer 2002

Is Practical Philosophy for Private Profit or Public Good?: A Critical View of the Practical Turn in Contemporary Philosophy
Patricia Shipley
Emeritus Reader in Occupational Psychology
University of London
Fellow, British Psychological Society
Fellow, Society for the Furtherance of the Critical Philosophy

Fernando Leal
Professor of Philosophy & Social Science
University of Guadalajara, Mexico
Fellow, Society for the Furtherance of the Critical Philosophy

Abstract: This paper takes a critical look at the rise of the practice of philosophy in the market place in late modernity. Two main forms of such practice are identified: the practice of Socratic Dialogue in small groups in organisations and one-to-one philosophical counselling of individual ‘clients'. The relevance of professionalism for commercialised applied practical philosophy is discussed. Philosophical counsellors in particular may be at risk of engaging with vulnerable individuals who are in need of protection from practitioners who are not trained to deal with their problems. Psychology is the discipline which is most related to practical philosophy and it is growing in ethical awareness. This paper emphasises the importance of ethics for philosophy in practice. There is a pressing need for eternal vigilance by practitioners from such disciplines, whether professionalised or not, in the complex modern ‘runaway world'.

Dennett and the Quest for Real Meaning: In Defense of a "Myth"
David Beisecker
Department of Philosophy
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV 89154 USA

: In several recent pieces, Daniel Dennett has advanced a line of reasoning purporting to show that we should reject the idea that there is a tenable distinction to be drawn between the manner in which we represent the way things are and the manner in which "blessedly simple" intentional systems like thermostats and frogs represent the way things are. Through a series of thought experiments, Dennett aims to show that philosophers of mind should abandon their preoccupation with "real meanings as opposed to ersatz meaning, 'intrinsic' or 'original' intentionality as oppose to derived intentionality." In this paper, I lay out the case that Dennett builds against original intentionality, with the aim of showing that, once it has been properly clarified, the notion of original intentionality isn't nearly the myth that Dennett makes it out to be.

Making A Game of Killing: Fantasy, Reality and the Violence at Columbine High School
Suzanne Laba Cataldi

Department of Philosophy
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Edwardsville, Illinois 62026-1433

Abstract: This paper focuses on the disturbing mixture of fantasy with reality in the massacre at Columbine, where the perpetrators appear to have made a game or ‘fun' of their killing. Because of the deception involved and despite their immersion in violent media, I argue that they could not have been totally confused about the difference between play and actual violence. Huizinga's notion of play and Merleau-Ponty's reversibility thesis are applied to the situation.

Ethicists as Architects: Revising Moral Theory Using All the Tools
Jean Chambers
Department of Philosophy
SUNY Oswego
Oswego, NY 13126

Abstract: As James Coleman and Allan Gibbard have suggested, human morality may be viewed as a feedback control system. Each of the standard normative ethical theories emphasizes only part of this complex system. Social reform requires both new theoretical syntheses and a practical effort to better uphold ideal norms.

Information Ethics: An Environmental Approach to the Digital Divide
Luciano Floridi
Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Computer Science
and Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy
Oxford University.
Wolfson College, Oxford, OX2 6UD, UK.

No Abstract

J. M. Fritzman
Department of Philosophy
Lewis & Clark College
Portland, Orgon 97219-7899

Abstract: Habermas lapses into ethical socialism, but Althusser's version escapes Habermas' criticisms. While Habermas lapses into scientism, Althusser does not. Resistance to Althusser causes Habermas to either misread him or not read him at all. Theoretical and practical theses are proposed. The final section analyzes why this article responds so aggressively.

Socrates, Plato and the Tao
Edward J. Grippe
Humanities Department
Norwalk Community College
Norwalk, Connecticut 06854


Abstract: This paper is a reconsideration of Platonic dialogues in the light of Taoist insights. The application of Socratic Ignorance to the entire corpus of Plato reveals the yin and yang not only in the internal dialogue between Socrates and Plato, but also between Plato and his reader. Furthermore, this approach brings to the surface the necessity of the dialectic relation between the yang of Western analysis and the yin of Asian intuition to the revelation of the Tao.

Art and Religion in the Age of Denounced Master-Narratives
Vladimir Marchenkov
School of Comparative Arts
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701-2979

Abstract: Religious art within postmodernism is discussed. Postmodern art, I argue, projects the myth of a miraculously generating chaos which cannot be maintained as absolute and therefore postmodern art cannot be genuinely religious. The myth is adopted for ideological, not philosophical reasons and calls for alternatives to make religious art possible.

Why Aren't Moral People Always Moral? An Argument for Considering Personality as the Foundational Link Between Biology and Context
Patricia Trentacoste
Department of Philosophy
Oakland University
Rochester, MI 48309-4401

Abstract: In order or reduce internal dissonance and emotional pain, the personality plays a causal role in confabulating consistency among our beliefs, values and actions. To the extent that we are unaware of our own moral "blind spots," a prima facie duty to engage in self-knowledge exists. Only then can we reduce injustices incurring from moral arrogance.

Volume 9, Number 2, Fall-Winter 2002

Cultural Recognition: Problematizing the Western Discourse of Multiculturalism
Courtney E. Cole
Binghamton University
Binghamton, New York

Abstract: When assessing the history of Afrikaners domination in South Africa and its current fragile status in the new dispensation, what becomes clear is that their claims for cultural recognition and protection turn contemporary Western discourse regarding multiculturalism on its ear. In this paper, I organize my discussion of recognition of Afrikaners in contemporary South Africa by first giving some background on Afrikaners, as well as their history and current status in South Africa. I go on to examine how the notions of "cultural identity" and "cultural worth" problematize and complicate these ideas as they are employed in Western discourse of multiculturalism.

The Issue of the Cosmopolitan Identities and the Third Way between Cultural Embeddement and Liberal Autonomy
Krassimir Stojanov
Federal Armed Forces University Hamburg
Holstenhofweg 85 22043
Hamburg , Germany


Abstract: This paper attempts to develop an alternative to both classical liberal claims about individual autonomy and communitarian claims about cultural embeddement of the individual. It shows a way to develop a new model of subjectivity through an interpretation at the level of a deeply located, coherent self. This self is the core of personal identity as a pluralisticly structured, decentralized, internalization of Ego – Alter Ego relationships. This concept is clarified by a critical interpretation and reformulation of Jeremy Waldron's concept of cosmopolitan identities.

Beyond Cultural Survival: Transforming Subjectivity
Dawn Jakubowski
Department of Philosophy
University of Central Arkansas

Abstract: This paper hinges on the idea that our subjectivities–how individuals come to an understanding about themselves, their relationship to each other and their place in the world–are profoundly affected by the intersubjective quality of recognition we receive from others. Rooted within the Hegelian dialectical perspective, the desire for recognition stems from the view that a major part of our identities are formed through social relations. Misrecognition, in its various forms, promotes fundamental injustices. This is a point that the traditional modernist approach to political philosophy bypasses because of its focus on procedural rather than ethical issues of injustice.

Reflections on Transnationalism: Defining the Refugee
Eddy Souffrant
Department of Philosophy
Howard University Washington, D. C.

Abstract: This paper explores Charles Taylor's conception of an inclusive liberal polity. It argues that contemporary immigration challenges even Taylor's inclusive liberalism by revealing that liberalism is inherently exclusionary and that the exclusionary tendency reinforces liberalism's peculiar ability to cultivate refugees at both the national and transnational levels.

Why the Heldian Model of Cosmopolitan Democracy Retains Its Promise Despite Kymlicka's Criticisms
Gillian Brock
Philosophy Department
University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

Abstract: Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitans maintain that no national categories of people deserve special weight and that, instead, all people everywhere should be objects of moral concern. Arguably, the most developed of these accounts is the cosmopolitan democracy model articulated by David Held, so it is not surprising that it has received the most attention and criticism. In this paper, I outline Held's model of cosmopolitan democracy and consider the objections Will Kymlicka raises to this account. I argue that Kymlicka's objections do not undermine Held's central claims and that Held's cosmopolitanism remains a very promising model that deserves further attention.

Cosmopolitanism as a Moral Imperative
Jon Mahoney
Dept. of Philosophy
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849

Abstract: In this paper I consider and respond to two arguments against cosmopolitanism, the membership needs argument and the preferential treatment argument. I argue that if there are reasonable grounds for endorsing universal norms such as human rights, then there are no reasonable grounds for rejecting moral cosmopolitanism.

The Intrinsic Value of Cultures
Dr Neil Levy
Centre for Applied Philosop
hy and Public Ethics
Department of Philosophy
University of Melbourne
Parkville, VIC 3010 Australia

Abstract: Our intuitions concerning cultures show that we are committed to thinking that they are intrinsically valuable. I set out the conditions under which we attribute such value to cultures, and show that coming to possess intrinsic value is a matter of having the right kind of causal history.

Light Trucks, Road Safety and the Environment
Nicholas Dixon
Department of Philosophy
Alma College
Alma, MI

Abstract: Driving light trucks creates the risk of significant harm to other people. Compared to regular cars, light trucks endanger the occupants of other vehicles more and have a markedly more negative impact on the environment. Consequently, many people who currently drive light trucks ought to switch to smaller vehicles.

Expertise and Epistemology: Can Laypersons Assess the Claims of Experts?
Jason Borenstein
School of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore whether laypersons can competently evaluate the specialized claims offered by experts. Since it is a lack of knowledge about a subject area that makes someone a layperson with respect to that area, the layperson may be unable to understand and assess what an expert knows.

Thinking, Philosophical Counseling, and the Purity of Philosophical Method
Mark Letteri
2586 Ida Road
Windsor, Ontario N8W 3A5, Canada

Abstract: In "A General Framework for Philosophical Counseling," Hakam Al-Shawi argues that "philosophical counseling must . . . avoid relying on any first-order philosophical assumptions." In this light, I explore whether and to what extent an applied Heideggerian approach to the amelioration of human life – in this case, Daseinsanalysis – satisfies this criterion. I focus on the orienting reality of a mortal, interpreting questioner dwelling in particular circumstances. Such an approach, as I construe it here, seems largely compatible with Al-Shawi's understanding of what can properly count as philosophical counselling.

Shusterman's Epicurean Aesthetics
Joseph Grünfeld
Nesbitt College
Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Abstract: For Shusterman, all experience is a form of understanding, but this makes it difficult for him to explain how we can be mistaken about our experience. His preference for rap remains idiosyncratic, as is his notion of the art of living. In spite of his postmodernist stance, he continues to generalize about what he takes to be the body and about the nature of art. But what "works" in art depends on a variety of subjective factors we come to know only by hindsight. What he dismisses as intellectualist bias in modern art and linguistic philosophy has deep roots in our culture: a demand for precision and verifiability that make science and technology possible. This is not a mere puritanical prejudice.

George Berkeley's Embodied Vision
Steven Schroeder
College of Arts
Shenzhen University
Shenzhen City, China

Abstract: Taking up John of Salisbury's dictum that we read ancient texts to improve our eyesight, this article returns to an "old" book for "new" insight into the perennial philosophical problem of visual perception. A careful reading of Berkeley's essay on vision improves our eyesight in at least four ways: First, it reminds us that the most interesting aspects of visual perception are not "primary" but "derivative." Second, it reminds us that our relationship with the world is an interactive process of making connections and proposes some ways in which those connections and the process of making them might be brought to consciousness and subjected to critical examination. Third, it reminds us of the extent to which making connections is a linguistic process: we live in language as surely as we live in the world, and the processes by which we take our places in the world are forms of language. Fourth, it introduces a concept of "levels" and movement between them that is particularly important to computational models that may result in nonhuman analogues of human vision.