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1. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Nathan Hirscher, Rohan Srivastava Editors’ Introduction
2. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Paul C. Taylor, Ethan Harris An Interview with Paul C. Taylor
3. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Katherine Tullmann Aesthetic Courage and Phronesis
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This paper analyzes aesthetic courage, a virtue directed towards aesthetic objects when subjects are asked to confront content that is psychologically or socially risky. I examine aesthetic courage to explore how it plays a role in a virtue theoretic account of the good life. I contend that the virtue theoretic concept of phronesis, or practical wisdom, plays a strong role in guiding the virtuous agent to make decisions about the course of action that promotes her good life. The concept of phronesis in service of the good life acts as the foundation for my concept of aesthetic courage. I analyze several examples of aesthetic courage, including the controversy surrounding the contemplative garden at Stanford University in honor of Chanel Miller and other survivors of sexual assault.
4. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Andrea Lorenzo Baldini, Nathan Hirscher An Interview with Andrea Lorenzo Baldini
5. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Frank Boardman High-Cost Art
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Certain artworks are––whatever else they are––statements about the value of art. A particularly striking form of such a statement is made by a class of artworks we can call “high-cost art.” High-cost artworks are those with greater costs relative to benefits for their artists or displayers. I will argue here that those art forms that are most likely to include high-cost works are particularly effective at communicating artistic value-claims, and suggest that by so championing the value of art, these artworks themselves increase in artistic value.
6. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Tom Cochrane, Rohan Srivastava, Alexandra Crotty An Interview with Tom Cochrane
7. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Thomas Leddy Clive Bell’s "Metaphysical Hypothesis" and Everyday Aesthetics
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Clive Bell’s Art, published in 1913, is widely seen as a founding document in contemporary aesthetics. Yet his formalism and his attendant definition of art as “significant form” is widely rejected in contemporary art discourse and in the philosophy of art. In this paper I argue for a reconsideration of his thought in connection with current discussions of “the aesthetics of everyday life.” Although some, notably Allen Carlson, have argued against application of Bell’s formalism to the aesthetics of everyday life, I claim that this is based on an interpretation of the concept that is overly narrow. First, Li Zehou offers an interpretation of “significant form” that allows in sedimented social meaning. Second, Bell himself offers a more complex theory of significant form by way of his “metaphysical hypothesis,” one that stresses perception of significant form outside the realm of art (for example in nature or in everyday life). Bell’s idea that the artist can perceive significant form in nature allows for significant form to not just be the surface-level formal properties of things. It stresses depth, although a different kind than the cognitive scientific depth Carlson wants. This is a depth that is consistent with the anti-dualism of Spinoza, Marx and Dewey. Reinterpreting Bell in this direction, we can say we are moved by certain relations of lines and colors because they direct our minds to the hidden aspect of things, the spiritual side of the material world referred to by Spinoza and developed by Dewey in his concept of experience. Bell hardly “reduces the everyday to a shadow of itself,” as Carlson puts it, since the everyday, as experienced by the artist or the aesthetically astute observer, has, or potentially has, deep meaning. If we reject Bell’s dualism and his downgrading of sensuous experience, we can rework his idea of pure form to refer to an aspect of things detached, yes, from practical use, but not from particularity or sedimented meaning, not purified of all associations.
8. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Elizabeth Millán Brusslan, Orcid-ID Lauren Bush, Ethan Harris An Interview with Elizabeth Millán Brusslan
9. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Casey Haskins The Evolution of Autonomy in Pragmatist Aesthetics
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Writers in pragmatist aesthetics tend, as naturalists, to avoid the originally Kantian-Idealist term “autonomy” when discussing art and aesthetic experience. Even so, a more general autonomy concept, emphasizing that art and the aesthetic comprise a normatively special aspect of experience, is already implicit in much of the pragmatist aesthetics literature, including in John Dewey’s seminal Art as Experience. As the cultural disciplines move beyond earlier modernist- and postmodernist-era debates about art’s total autonomy from or total “heteronomous” absorption within the processes of life, I argue that a more naturalistically down-to-earth version of the above general autonomy idea remains indispensable in a century of social, environmental, and existential crises whose solutions demand creative agency of a kind that artistically charged experiences can inspire. Drawing upon key pragmatist themes, I further develop the general autonomy idea by arguing that aesthetic experiences within and without the fine arts are horizontally transcendent; that art and the aesthetic answer a persistent human need for experiences that are intrinsically rewarding while also serving the instrumental function of being redemptive; that to this end, our global culture needs collectively accessible autonomous spaces within language and experience that can help people explore and interrogate the meanings of what we individually and collectively do; and that the value of our theoretical beliefs about the arts lies not in their power to represent a world supposedly independent of human thought and action but in what they lead us to do in the world. In conclusion, I illustrate this pragmatic interpretation of the general autonomy idea with a reading of Richard Powers’ novel The Overstory.
10. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
2021 Editorial Team
11. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Anna Christina Ribeiro, Orcid-ID Ethan Harris An Interview with Anna Christina Ribeiro
12. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jack Grimes, Kyle Klemme Editors’ Introduction
13. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Susanna Siegel Vigilantism and Political Vision
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Vigilantism, commonly glossed as “taking the law into one’s own hands,” has been analyzed differently in studies of comparative politics, ethnography, history, and legal theory, but has attracted little attention from philosophers. What can “taking the law into one’s hands” amount to? How does vigilantism relate to mobs, protests, and self-defense? I distinguish between several categories of vigilantism, identify the questions they are most useful for addressing, and offer an analysis on which vigilantism is a kind of political initiative done for the sake of enacting an immediate realignment of power in a polity in accordance with a political vision. In addition to defining a special kind of political initiative, my analysis helps us understand a range of rhetorical powers related to vigilantism, including some of the ways that attributions of vigilantism can mask instances of self-defense, and attributions of self-defense can mask instances of vigilantism.
14. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Sally J. Scholz Sexual Violence in Conflict Situations as Structural Injustice: Post Bellum Considerations
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Jus post bellum, a relatively new addition to the just war tradition, offers a set of principles to ensure a just peace. The jus post bellum principles establish important guidelines for punitive and transitional justice in the wake of unjust aggression. However, sexual violence during conflict highlights some of the limits of relying solely on a rights-based approach to jus post bellum. Using the jus post bellum principles, I offer some suggestions for what might be required regarding punishment, compensation, and rights vindication for both individuals and communities, highlighting throughout the limits of relying solely on a rights-based approach to jus post bellum. I then argue that post bellum considerations need to account for the structural injustices of sexual violence in conflict situations. Doing so supports important social justice initiatives proposed for a global response to sexual violence in conflict aimed not only at punishment but at prevention.
15. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Eric Patterson The Afghanistan War and Jus Post Bellum: A Look at 3 Milestones for Peace & Security
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How should we think about justice at war’s end (jus post bellum) in the case of Afghanistan in 2022 and beyond? The basic principles of jus post bellum include order, justice, and conciliation; and there have been numerous policy attempts to realize these principles since the fall of the Taliban and flight of al Qaeda in December 2001. With the precipitous abandonment of Afghanistan by the Biden Administration and other allies in 2021, we have a sober opportunity to reflect on three periods of jus post bellum efforts: an initial humanitarian and human security phase (2002–2005); the surprising resilience of the Taliban and efforts at some sort of national grand bargain circa the 10-year mark (2009–2012); and now a future based upon Western withdrawal and the re-emerging dominance of the Taliban.
16. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Carlos Alberto Sánchez Impoverishing Moral Ecologies: The Case of Mexican Narco-Culture
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In this paper I consider the notion of “moral ecology” in relation to the social/cultural construction known as “narco-culture.” My claim is that the moral ecology of narco-culture is one that is both destructive and prohibitive of human flourishing. The general idea of a “moral ecology” is that the moral space of human conviviality is not unlike an ecological, or environmental, space—both are constituted by various interdependent relations which, when working harmoniously and in optimal capacity, maintain the overall well-being of its inhabitants (i.e., human agents or the flora and fauna). Within non-human ecosystems, the quality or health of rivers, trees, earth, air, predator-prey relationships, etc., define what Allen Hertzke calls the system’s “carrying capacity.” The carrying capacity refers to what the system can handle while staying balanced and healthy and also indicates the point beyond which the system, if overburdened or degraded, begins to fall apart. In a social setting, the ecology is constituted by moral rules and behaviors, the degradation of which can cause the degradation of the entire system.
17. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jovana Davidovic, Kyle Klemme An Interview with Jovana Davidovic: Human Rights and the Moral Responsibilities of War
18. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jason Gardner Against Enemies: A Negative Politics for Contentious Times
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The world is a contentious place, both politically and personally. As a result, virtually all people have enemies both at home and abroad. This essay argues that we should annihilate these enemies, all of them, future as well as present, and do so forthwith. It begins with a metaphysical sketch of enemies, which reveals how such an annihilation is possible and much easier than we generally suppose. It continues by arguing, first, that general prudential considerations yield a prima facie case that it is in our best interest to annihilate our enemies and, second, that moral reasons require this because enemies are persons. The essay ends by briefly considering some implications of this destructive proposal.
19. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Gerald Lang Defensive Liability and the Moral Status Account
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Jonathan Quong argues for the “moral status” account of defensive liability. According to the moral status account, what makes it the case that assailants lack rights against the imposition of defensive violence on them is that they are treating defenders as if those defenders lack rights against the imposition of aggressive violence on them. This “as if” condition can be met in some situations in which one person, A, commands very good but factually inaccurate evidence that another person, B, poses a lethal danger to her. In this “Mistaken Attacker” case, A will be entirely blameless. Nonetheless, A is defensively liable, because A assumes that B is defensively liable despite the fact that B is not defensively liable. In other cases, A may threaten B, who is innocent and hence defensively non-liable, without treating B as if B lacks rights. For example, in the “Conscientious Driver” case, A may have lost control of her car, having taken all due precautions, and be posing a lethal threat to an innocent pedestrian, B, but A is not treating B as if B lacks rights because B’s interests have already been taken fully into account in arriving at the verdict that careful driving is morally permissible. In this paper, I explore and criticize Quong’s account. I argue that the distinctions Quong draws between Conscientious Driver and Mistaken Attacker cannot be sustained in ways that uphold the moral status account, and I suggest that the moral status account’s focus on the “as if” condition is morally undermotivated. The drift of my argument is that we should take much more minimal accounts of defensive liability more seriously than we typically do.
20. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Shawn Kaplan Nonviolent Protesters and Provocations to Violence
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In this paper, I examine the ethics of nonviolent protest when a violent response is either foreseen or intended. One central concern is whether protesters, who foresee a violent response but persist, are provoking the violence and whether they are culpable for any eventual harms. A second concern is whether it is permissible to publicize the violent response for political advantage. I begin by distinguishing between two senses of the term provoke: a normative sense where a provocateur knowingly imposes an unjustified risk of a violent response, and a descriptive sense where the respondent feels provoked. I argue that, when the risk of a violent response is justified, the protesters are not provocateurs but akin to nonculpable, entrapping agents who create an opportunity for the regime to respond with disproportionate violence. The regime’s response can disclose its brutality or criminality, and this can be fairly publicized for political advantage. When nonviolent protesters create an unjustified risk of violence either because the injustice they oppose is insufficient to justify the risk of a violent response or because the risked harms are disproportionate with the likely political advantages derived from the protest, they are partially culpable provocateurs. However, I argue these partially culpable provocateurs can still permissibly publicize the disproportionate violence of the regime so as to shape public opinion.