The Limitations of Perceptual Transparency

Abstract: My first aim in this paper is to show that the transparency claim cannot serve the purpose to which it is assigned; that is, the idea that perceptual experience is transparent is no help whatsoever in motivating an externalist account of phenomenal character. My second aim is to show that the internalist qualia theorist’s response to the transparency idea has been unnecessarily concessive to the externalist. Surprisingly, internalists seem to allow that much of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience depends essentially (and not just causally) upon externally located properties. They argue that we can also be aware of internal, non-intentional qualia. I present an alternative response the internalist can make to the transparency claim: phenomenal character is wholly internal, and seeming to be aware of externally located properties just is being aware of internally constituted experiential features.

Monogamies, Non-Monogamies, and the Moral Impermissibility of Intimacy Confining Constraints

Abstract: In this paper, I argue that intimacy confining constraints—or a categorical restriction on having additional intimate relationships—is morally impermissible. Though some scholars believe that this problem attaches exclusively to monogamous relationshipps, I argue that it also applies to non-monogamous relationships—such as polyfidelitous relationships—as well. As this point requires a deconstruction of the juxtaposition that erroneously places monogamy and non-monogamy as binary opposites, this paper reveals a variegated and interpenetrating field of intimate non-monogamous relationships, the existence of which gets us closer to realizing the transformative power contained within non-monogamous relationships.

Civic Tenderness as a Response to Child Poverty in America

Abstract: This chapter presents a portrait of American children as situationally vulnerable and introduces the public emotion of civic tenderness as a response to the indifference that is routinely directed toward this vulnerability. Discussions of pro-social empathic emotions typically prioritize emotions like sympathy and compassion. While they are important in their own right, these pro-social emotions are responses to situations of current need. Civic tenderness is a response to situations of vulnerability. Insofar as a person or group is now in a situation of need, they had to have first been vulnerable to experiencing that need. Since vulnerability is conceptually prior to need, civic tenderness is prior to these other pro-social emotions. Through the process that I call tenderization, I explain how tenderness for poor and impoverished children’s vulnerability can be expanded to a society’s members, institutions, and systems.

‘I Don’t Want To be a Playa No More’: An Exploration of the Denigrating effects of ‘Player’ as a Stereotype Against African American Polyamorous Men

Abstract: This paper shows how amatonormativity and its attendant social pressures converge at the intersections of race, gender, romantic relationality, and sexuality to generate peculiar challenges to polyamorous African American men in American society. Contrary to the view maintained in the “slut-vs-stud” phenomenon, I maintain that the label ‘player’ when applied to polyamorous African American men functions as a pernicious stereotype and has denigrating effects. Specifically, I argue that stereotyping polyamorous African American men as players estranges them from themselves and it constrains their agency by preemptively foreclosing the set of possibilities of what one’s sexual or romantic relational identities can be.

Meat Eating and Responsibility: Exploring the Moral Distinctions between Meat Eaters and Puppy Torturers

Abstract: In his influential article on the ethics of eating animals, Alastair Norcross argues that consumers of factory raised meat and puppy torturers are equally condemnable because both knowingly cause serious harm to sentient creatures just for trivial pleasures. Against this claim, I argue that those who buy and consume factory raised meat, even those who do so knowing that they cause harm, have a partial excuse for their wrongdoings. Meat eaters act under social duress, which causes volitional impairment, and they often act from deeply ingrained habits, which causes epistemic impairment. But puppy torturers act against cultural norms and habits, consciously choosing to perform wrongful acts. Consequently, the average consumer of factory raised meat has, while puppy torturers lack, a cultural excuse. But although consumers of factory raised meat aren’t blameworthy, they are partially morally responsible for their harmful behavior – and for this, they should feel regret, remorse, and shame.

Socratic Metaethics Imagined

Abstract: A time machine mysteriously appeared one day in ancient Athens. Curious about the future of philosophical dialogue, Socrates entered the device and traveled to the 21st Century. He spent several months in the United Kingdom and United States discussing metaethics before returning to Athens, now a devoted and formidable quasi-realist moral genderexpressivist.

The Origin of Concepts

Publisher’s Note: Only human beings have a rich conceptual repertoire with concepts like tort, entropy, Abelian group, mannerism, icon and deconstruction. How have humans constructed these concepts? And once they have been constructed by adults, how do children acquire them? While primarily focusing on the second question, in The Origin of Concepts , Susan Carey shows that the answers to both overlap substantially.

Carey begins by characterizing the innate starting point for conceptual development, namely systems of core cognition. Representations of core cognition are the output of dedicated input analyzers, as with perceptual representations, but these core representations differ from perceptual representations in having more abstract contents and richer functional roles. Carey argues that the key to understanding cognitive development lies in recognizing conceptual discontinuities in which new representational systems emerge that have more expressive power than core cognition and are also incommensurate with core cognition and other earlier representational systems. Finally, Carey fleshes out Quinian bootstrapping, a learning mechanism that has been repeatedly sketched in the literature on the history and philosophy of science. She demonstrates that Quinian bootstrapping is a major mechanism in the construction of new representational resources over the course of childrens cognitive development.

Carey shows how developmental cognitive science resolves aspects of long-standing philosophical debates about the existence, nature, content, and format of innate knowledge. She also shows that understanding the processes of conceptual development in children illuminates the historical process by which concepts are constructed, and transforms the way we think about philosophical problems about the nature of concepts and the relations between language and thought.

Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure and Change Social Norms

Publisher’s Note: Norms in the Wild takes a unique look at social norms, answering questions about diagnosis (how can we tell that a shared practice is a social norm?), measurement (how do we measure expectations and preferences?), and change (which tools can we adopt to effect norm change?). The theories developed in the book are brought to life by examining real-life cases of norm creation and abandonment, the rationale behind policy interventions, and how change can be spearheaded by various types of trendsetters, be they individuals, groups, or the media. By exploring how a range of problems, from poor sanitation to child marriage, can be addressed, the book shows how social norms can have a causal impact on collective behavior, and which interventions may succeed in creating new norms or abandoning harmful ones. In laying the theoretical groundwork for implementing social changes in a contextually sensitive and empirically based way, it also diagnoses why some less culturally attuned attempts to eliminate negative practices have failed.

Equal Citizenship and Public Reason. A Feminist Political Liberalism

Publisher’s Note: This book is a defense of political liberalism as a feminist liberalism. The first half of the book develops and defends a novel interpretation of political liberalism. It is argued that political liberals should accept a restrictive account of public reason and that political liberals’ account of public justification is superior to the leading alternative, the convergence account of public justification. The view is defended from the charge that such a restrictive account of public reason will unduly threaten or undermine the integrity of some religiously oriented citizens and an account of when political liberals can recognize exemptions, including religious exemptions, from generally applicable laws is offered. In the second half of the book, it is argued that political liberalism’s core commitments restrict all reasonable conceptions of justice to those that secure genuine, substantive equality for women and other marginalized groups. Here it is demonstrated how public reason arguments can be used to support law and policy needed to address historical sites of women’s subordination in order to advance equality; prostitution, the gendered division of labor and marriage, in particular, are considered.

Justice and Non-Human Animals – Part I

Abstract: It is widely held that moral obligations to non-human beings do not involve considerations of justice. For such a view, nonhuman interests are always prone to be trumped by human interests. Rawlsian contractarianism comprises an example of such a view. Through analysis of such theories, this essay highlights the problem of reconciling the claim that humans have obligations to non-humans with the claim that our treatment of the latter is not a matter of justice. We argue that if it is granted that the basic interests of non-human beings sometimes count for more than the peripheral interests of humans, then our understandings of obligation and of justice must be aligned, so that what we say about obligation is not countered by assumptions about the invariable priority of humans in matters of justice. We further consider whether such a conclusion can be endorsed by those who adopt certain alternative theories to contractarianism. We conclude that adherents of a range of theories including sentientism and biocentrism must accept that human interests can sometimes be superseded by animal interests, and that this applies not least in matters of justice.