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101. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Walter J. Riker

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Some argue that at least some non-liberal, non-democratic societies deserve fiill and good standing in the international community. These arguments imply that some divergence in understanding the role of the press is also justified and should be tolerated. But what are the limits of diversity here? I begin to find these limits by considering John Rawls's "decent" societies in the context of Amartya Sen's work on famine. Sen claims that a free press plays an important role in famine prevention. After giving an account of press rights, I argue that a partially free press can play the role Sen attributes to the free press. I then argue that decent societies could and should accommodate such partially free presses.

102. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Kate Padgett Walsh

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The 2008 housing and financial crisis brought to light many ethically questionable lending and borrowing practices. As we learn more about what caused this crisis, it has become apparent that we need to think more carefully about the conditions under which can loans be ethically offered and accepted, but also about when it might be morally permissible to default on debts. I critique two distinct philosophical approaches to assessing the ethics of debt, arguing that bothapproaches are too simplistic because they focus only on individual borrowers and lenders. As a result, neither approach can adequately grasp the moral implications of the social and economic failures that frame actual dilemmas of debt facing many individuals today.

103. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Wendell O'Brien

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There is a rather disturbing argument that it is wrong for us ever to smile and be glad, in light of our knowledge of horrors happening everywhere all the time. The paper's primary aim is to respond to the challenge this argument presents and to see what can be said for being happy in spite of it. Drawing from the works of Tolstoy, Joseph Butler, and others, the author develops two or three lines of response to the argument against happiness. One line of response makes heavy use of what human nature is like and what some of our limitations are. The second line of response considers the consequences of the fact that we naturallycease to be moved by things we are used to. The third line explores the idea that it is justifiable to be happy in the midst of suffering if you yourself are sufferingtoo. The author believes that these lines of argument may answer to some degree the argument against happiness.

104. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Caroline Meline

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Are animals and humans different in kind or only different in degree when it comes to the mental springs of behavior? The source of this question is Charles Darwin's 1871 The Descent of Man, in which he argued for a difference in degree between animals and humans in mental abilities, rather than a difference in kind. Darwin's opponents in the ensuing debate were theologians and scientific traditionalists who insisted upon human specialness when it came to the mind,even if evolution held sway for explaining the body. In this paper I take up the same question, which has not gone away. Representing the continuity (differencein degree) thesis is Donald R. Griffin, a zoologist who founded the field of cognitive ethology in the 1980s, and voicing the discontinuity (difference in kind) thesis is Raymond Tallis, a neuroscientist and self-described humanist. Tallis's apparent mission is to protect human dignity from the onslaught of writing and research by evolutionary psychologists and sociobiologists, who claim to be demonstrating the evolutionary basis for all human mental capabilities, including higher reasoning and ethics. To raise humans up, Tallis lowers animals down, making disparaging remarks like, "Chimps are chumps." I defend the chimps by finding serious flaws in Tallis's reasoning. Tallis locates the crux ofthe cognitive difference between humans and nonhumans in the linguistic concept of intentionality. I present and counter his charge of a difference in kind by relying on empirical evidence provided by Griffin and others, and on my logical analysis of Tallis's claims. The paper has 3 sections: (1) introduction, (2) first point of argument, (3) second point of argument, and (4) concluding note.

105. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
David Alexander Craig

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Shannon Sullivan has criticized Richard Rorty for the discrepancy in his treatments of Cornel West and Marilyn Frye's prophetic philosophies, which Sullivan reads to indicate a racial bias on Rorty's part. This article defends Rorty from this criticism, first clarifying his view of the discontinuous relation of philosophy to politics, then, on the basis of this clarification, arguing that Rorty's different treatments of West and Frye do not reveal a racial bias as Sullivan claims. Finally, revisiting Rorty's exchange with Nancy Fraser, it is argued that although Rorty has no philosophy of race, he does offer a strong antiracist politics.

106. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
David K. Chan

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I compare the distribution of jobs and research opportunities in academic philosophy with how American society distributes economic rewards. In both cases, there is gross inequality and lack of upward mobility. Luck always plays a role in hiring decisions and the acceptance of papers by journals, but the entrenchment of luck has led to elitism which is unhealthy for the profession of philosophy, just as it is for the capitalist economy. I suggest some revolutionary steps to bridge the gap between the two tiers of philosophers.

107. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Chris Nagel

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Discussions of college faculty professionalism most often address the ethical responsibilities or failures of "professors." Yet the majority of college faculty are not "professors," and work in conditions that preclude or prevent acting in accordance with high-minded statements like the AAUP's Statement on Professional Ethics, In addition, ignorance of the actual working conditions of both tenure-track and tenuous-track faculty has induced a crisis of ethical responsibility for all college faculty. Because official statements about college faculty professionalism neglect the reality of college faculty work, the ethical responsibility of faculty requires a new basis.

108. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Robert Paul Churchill

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MOOCS, or massive, online, and open courses aheady have made a major impact on college education. They are touted as a means of developing the best educational products most efficiently and to the widest possible audiences. Of several reasons for concern about MOOCs, however, one briefly considered here isthe contribution MOOCs might make to the decline of the professoriate. The major issue I discuss pertains to the way we ought to understand the ethics of teaching. While promoters of MOOCs believe that the process of teaching can be separated from its content, or product, I dispute this claim. Followmg Alasdair Maclntyre, I argue for an ethics of teaching that includes an ethics of aspiration as well as the virtues. On the model of ethical teachuig thus presented, process cannot be separated from product, and MOOCs seriously interfere with the ethical objectives we seek to attain with our students.

109. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Robert Metcalf

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The disorientation experienced by those new to philosophy attests to the fact that philosophy is, essentially, a self-transformative focal practice requiring long training and renewed commitment, and this has implications for how we think about the use of technology in teaching philosophy. By examing Plato's famous critique of writing in his Phaedrus, Statesman, and Seventh Letter, we find that his account of philosophy as an epitēdeuma, or "focal practice," demonstrates why teaching philosophy is not a matter of "content-delivery," but rather a process of reorienting the student toward the subject matter of philosophy. The implications of this for the debate over online instructional formats in higher education are then explored in some detail.

110. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Charles W. Harvey

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In this essay I note some surprisingly deep parallels between the accounts of technology offered by Martin Heidegger and by Kevin Kelly. While Heidegger's insight is panoramic and almost prophetic, and grounded in his reading of the history of philosophy, Kelly's account is grounded in empirical and historical data, driven by a naturalistic and scientific understanding of our world. The similarities between these two authors are surprising in light of their different methodological frameworks and theu antithetical attitudes about the benefits and dangers of technology. After setting them in conversation, I ask: "Who has the correct methodological approach and evaluative attitude toward technology"? With some hesitation, I side with Kelly's more hopeful outlook.

111. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Jack Weir

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This article attempts to find grounds for agreement and tolerance among environmentalists, as well as all persons of good will who are reasonable and scientifically informed. It beguis by taking stock of where we are today in ethics in general, and then hi environmental ethics in particular. What are the major theories, their central ideas, and problems? Is there a way forward? Explained and defended throughout is the thesis that moral pluralism is the best way forward.

112. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Joe Frank Jones, III

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This essay suggests loosening pedagogical boundaries in order to prepare children for useful philosophical reflection, particularly ontological boundaries. The argument for this is that the analytic-contmental distinction is muddier than most realize. I explain analytical developments in logic from 1884 to 1931 in a way designed to show there should be no real distinction between analytic and Contmental philosophy. I suggest this explanation provides sufficient support for dismissing ontological boundaries in certain philosophical contexts as well as in early philosophical education.

113. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
J. Jeremy Wisnewski

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In the following reply to Joe Frank Jones, Ill's "Analysis, Phenomenology and the Travails of Ontology," I argue that skepticism about method plays an important critical role in philosophical thinking. I further suggest that it may be time for philosophy to rehabilitate metaphysics rather than simply ceding it to the natural sciences.

114. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Carlos Alberto Sánchez

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This paper exammes the construction and de-construction of the "illegal" immigrant in media spectacle and public discourse. I examme the manner in which hnmigrants (specifically, Mexican hnmigrants) are rendered "illegal" and then processed through a mechanism of dehumanization where they are simultaneously located in and outside the space of law. In this process, the "illegal" immigrant is stripped of rights, humanity, and intention. The "illegal" immigrant, seen merely as a body or text, becomes (in the public discourse and media spectacle) a thing—more precisely, a type of equipment, that as equipment, as Martin Heidegger observed, eventually (via historical/economic contingencies) becomes "obtrusive" and thus a target of nativist violence.

115. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Jean Harvey

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Paradigm cases of national power usually focus on material assets: military or economic power, natural resources etc. This article, though, considers a less "material" kind of national power: "relationship power" and "interactive power" that nations have when accorded a high prestige ranking. This is a more subtle type of power than that attached to material assets. But it is highly effective, even though trivialized and overlooked in international debate. This form of power can be more dangerous than it appears. And obvious solutions to these dangers are doomed to fail even if seriously attempted (just as the parallel "solution" fails to deal with the problem in everyday workplace meetings and interactions). This paper examines how national status is acquired. It draws attention to some oversimplifications (such as the notion that prestige is "earned"). It considers the connection between national status and interactive power, and shows how this skews the process and steers outcomes in international debate, to the detriment of international justice.

116. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Matthew Cashen

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The idea that a person's happiness depends singly on her own subjective assessment and sunilarly subjectivist views of happiness have become philosophical orthodoxy lately. Against such views, I defend the claim that people do falsely judge themselves happy. I begin by clarifying the issues: what I mean by happiness and what I have in mind in claiming that happiness can be false. I then substantiate my claim by contrasting it with, and defending it against, a subjectivist view that makes happiness depend singly on a person's own self-assessment.

117. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Tim Johnston

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This essay is a philosophical analysis of a parent's decision whether or not to consent to neonatal genital nomalization surgery for a child bom with ambiguous genitals. Using Henri Bergson's analysis of duration, I make the distinction between spatialized narrative snapshots, and attention to duration, A spatialized narrative snapshot is a speculative picture of the child's entire life. Attention to duration requires we acknowledge that as long as the child is alive her life is indeterminate. I then take Hilde Lindemann's concept of holding and develop it to help parents understand attention to duration in order to resist the pressure to consent to genital normalization surgery.

118. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert Metcalf

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An argument found in the writings of the so-called "New Atheists" has it that the religious indoctrination of children is oppressive in and of itself, but this argument rests on what may be called an epidemiological orientation toward belief. While some forms of religious indoctrination may indeed be oppressive, any adequate phenomenology of religious belief must allow for various ways in which individuals relate themselves doxastically to the religion in which they were raised, and some of these ways could hardly be called "oppressive." Drawing on Wittgenstein's scattered writings on religion, this paper sketches out an account of religion as a form of ligature—in line with its etymology—whose binding-character lies in those life-regulating basic attitudes that are deeper, and more resistant to revision, than any opinion one happens to have.

119. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Lori Keleher

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The paper argues against using the language of "marriage" in public policy. Not simply because our current marriage laws result in confusing, unequal and unjust treatment of citizens, but because "marriage" is an unavoidably value-laden concept such that any marriage law will privilege some reasonable values over others. We should instead favor public policies that are more neutral, such as policies regarding civil unions.

120. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Candice L. Shelby

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While the addiction treatment industry holds steadfast to the idea that addiction is a disease, and the choice theorists maintam to the contrary that it is justa choice, the truth is not as simple as either. The idea of addiction is a social construct that evolved over the 20th century to encompass increasingly morephenomena, while becoming increasingly conceptually less clear. Taking a complex dynamic systems approach, rather than relying on either the obscure disease notion or the naive choice concept allows us to conceive of the organism, the mind, and the addiction as essentially temporal and emergent. From thisperspective, physical, mental, and social causes operate within one dynamic system, allowing for genetic, developmental, and environmental effects to be understood within a single framework. Such a framework offers much greater hope for successfully addressing the issue than does either the currently dominant disease paradigm or choice theory.