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A. W. Eaton. ‘A Lady on the Street but a Freak in the Bed’: On the Distinction Between Erotic Art and Pornography
2018, British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (4): 469-488
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Added by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: How, if at all, are we to distinguish between the works that we call ‘art’ and those that we call ‘pornography’? This question gets a grip because from classical Greek vases and the frescoes of Pompeii to Renaissance mythological painting and sculpture to Modernist prints, the European artistic tradition is chock-full of art that looks a lot like pornography. In this paper I propose a way of thinking about the distinction that is grounded in art historical considerations regarding the function of erotic images in 16 th -century Italy. This exploration suggests that the root of the erotic art/pornography distinction was—at least in this context—class: in particular, the need for a special category of unsanctioned illicit images arose at the very time when print culture was beginning to threaten elite privilege. What made an erotic representation exceed the boundaries of acceptability, I suggest, was not its extreme libidinosity but, rather, its widespread availability and, thereby, its threat to one of the mechanisms of sustaining class privilege.

Comment: The paper has implications reaching far beyond the pornography debate. Could similar power relations not impact art classification elsewhere? It might be useful to discuss this in the context of Larry Shiner's 'The Invention of Art,' where the historical processes leading to the establishment of the modern Western system of the arts are analysed, including examples such as the exclusion of weaving as it became a female-dominated profession. Reaching even further, this can be applied to attitudes to art of other cultures, with (post)colonial power relations impacting on the way works are classified. Finally, Eaton’s text can serve as a sceptical argument against the classificatory project altogether: could all our attempts to distinguish art from non-art be just expressions of discrimination along various lines of priviledge?

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Abbate, Cheryl. Meat Eating and Responsibility: Exploring the Moral Distinctions between Meat Eaters and Puppy Torturers
2020, Utilitas, 2020: 1-8
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Cheryl Abbate
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.

Comment: This essay would be best taught alongside Alastair Norcross's widely taught paper "Puppies, Pigs, and People" (https://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/readings/norcross.pdf), as Cheryl Abbate's paper is a direct response to Norcross's.

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Abell, Catharine. Art: What It Is and Why It Matters
2012, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85: 671–91.
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Added by: Simon Fokt
Content: The first three sections of this paper offer a very useful overview of modern definitions of art. Most major types of definitions are introduced and explained in a succinct way, followed by a discussion of selected objections they face. First, Abell introduces functionalism and discusses its problems with extensional adequacy. Second, procedural theories including Dickie’s institutional and Levinson’s historical definitions are discussed, and criticized for their circularity and inability to account for art’s value. Next, Abell considers two mixed theories, formulated by Robert Stecker and David Davies. She shows how they can overcome the difficulties discussed above, but run into their own problems. Finally, Berys Gaut’s cluster account is introduced and criticized for its circularity and difficulties in determining all sufficiency conditions for being an artwork. In the remainder of the paper Abell focuses on developing her own version of the institutional theory.

Comment: This text can provide the students with an overview of modern definitions of art. Theories are presented in a clear, succinct way, with their main features, strengths and weaknesses identified. The selection of objections discussed, however, is not representative – rather it serves the aim of developing Abell’s own definition. The later sections of the text are excellent, but address much more complex issues and are significantly less accessible for undergraduate students. They might be used in Masters level teaching or as advanced further reading on the institutional definition.

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Abell, Catharine. Pictorial realism
2007, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):1 - 17.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir
Abstract: I propose a number of criteria for the adequacy of an account of pictorial realism. Such an account must: explain the epistemic significance of realistic pictures; explain why accuracy and detail are salient to realism; be consistent with an accurate account of depiction; and explain the features of pictorial realism. I identify six features of pictorial realism. I then propose an account of realism as a measure of the information pictures provide about how their objects would look, were one to see them. This account meets the criteria I have identified and is superior to alternative accounts of realism.

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Abhinavagupta. Abhinavabhāratī
2006, In M.M. Ghosh (ed.) Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharatamuni: Text, Commentary of Abhinava Bharati by Abhinavaguptacarya and English Translation.Delhi: New Bharatiya Book Corporation.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn
Summary: Abhinavagupta’s famed commentary on Bharatamuni’s treatise on drama, the Nāṭyaśāstra, in which he details aesthetic expression and experience according to a theory of rasa, or aesthetic relish. Abhinavagupta’s theory is the most influential account of how the rasas or aesthetic emotions transcend the bounds of the spectator and artwork in a three-part process including depersonalization, universalization, and identification.

Comment: This text is appropriate for an in-depth study of Indian aesthetics. It requires an at least an introductory background in Indian philosophy to be accessible.

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Abímbọ́lá, Kọ́lá. Culture and the Principles of Biomedical Ethics
2013, Journal of Commercial Biotechnology, 19 (3): 31-39.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord
Abstract: This paper examines the roles of culture in the principles of biomedical ethics. Drawing on examples from African, Navajo and Western cultures, the paper maintains that various elements of culture are indispensable to the application of the principles of biomedical ethics.

Comment: This text presents a clear introduction to questions about the application of biomedical ethical principles outside of Western medical contexts. It contains a good overview of the Western interpretation and application of autonomy, as well as other, culturally specific, interpretations of autonomy in medical contexts. This makes it useful as a text to introduce students to the way in which conflicts occur over the application of medical ethical principles in context prior to looking at specific cases (such as Jehovah's Witnesses refusal to accept blood transfusions or the well known case of the Hmong medical culture).

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Abíódún, Rowland. Àkó-graphy: Òwò Portraits
2013, in: John Peffer and Elisabeth L. Cameron (eds.), Portraiture & Photography in Africa, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, pp. 287-312.
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Added by: Hans Maes
Summary: Argues that the introduction of photography did not significantly interfere with, or terminate, the àkó legacy of portraiture. Shows instead that the stylistic elements of the àkó life-size burial effigy – a sculpted portrait that attempts to capture the physical likeness, identity, character, social status of a deceased parent – informed the photographic traditional formal portrait in Òwò, Nigeria.

Comment: Useful in discussing portraiture, as well as depiction and representation in general.

Artworks to use with this text:

Mamah, Carved, life-size, fully dressed second-burial effigy for Madam Aládé, EÌpelè- Òwò, Nigeria (1972)

Striking example of the practice. Demonstrates how the àkó tradition appears to have influenced the way elderly people posed for photographs.

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Abudu, Kenneth U. , Imafidon, Elvis. Epistemic Injustice, Disability, and Queerness in African Cultures
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 393-409
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Added by: Björn Freter
Abstract: Perception, representations, and knowledge claims about disability and queerness vary across societies and cultures. In African cultures negative knowledge claims and representations of disability and queerness create a perception of the disabled and queer that are not only detrimental to such persons in African societies but arguably undermine the work of understanding difference and tolerance in general. These negative claims raise some epistemological questions, such as: how do Africans come to know about disability and how are such knowledge claims validated within African communities? Against this backdrop, this chapter critically examines the epistemology of disability and queerness in African traditions. It shows that the epistemic authoritarianism found in African epistemology leads to an epistemic injustice that contributes immensely to the discrimination against disabled and queer beings as reflected in many cultural practices across the continent of Africa. The chapter argues that knowledge claims about disability and queerness in Africa emerge mainly from neglect, superstition, myth, and, above all, ignorance.

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Adams, Carol. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
2000, New York City: Continuum.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord
Back Matter: The Sexual Politics of Meat argues that what, or more precisely who, we eat is determined by the patriarchal politics of our culture, and that the meanings attached to meat eating are often clustered around virility. We live in a world in which men still have considerable power over women, both in public and in private. Carol Adams argues that gender politics is inextricably related to how we view animals, especially animals who are consumed. Further, she argues that vegetarianism and fighting for animal rights fit perfectly alongside working to improve the lives of disenfranchised and suffering people, under the wide umbrella of compassionate activism.

Comment: This is a clear and easily accessible introductory text on the relationship of feminism to vegetarianism. The text is compelling and interesting, making a chapter or two excellent for an introductory course that concerns feminism, gender politics, other animals, or vegetarianism. The text in its entirety would be excellent in an upper division course concerning ecofeminism.

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Adams, Laurie. Art on Trial: From Whistler to Rothko
1976, New York: Walker & Co
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir
Publisher's Note: This book examines six modern art trials covering a wide range of legal and artistic considerations ... the first in-depth examination of the art trial from every intriguing point of view.

Comment: Of particular interest is chapter 4: Traitor or forger? - Van Meegeren vs. Vermeer, dealing with issues of authenticity, forgery, and art ontology

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Adams, Marilyn McCord. Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God
1999, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
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Added by: Jamie Collin
Publisher' Note: When confronted by horrendous evil, even the most pious believer may question not only life's worth but also God's power and goodness. A distinguished philosopher and a practicing minister, Marilyn McCord Adams has written a highly original work on a fundamental dilemma of Christian thought - how to reconcile faith in God with the evils that afflict human beings. Adams argues that much of the discussion in analytic philosophy of religion over the last forty years has offered too narrow an understanding of the problem. The ground rules accepted for the discussion have usually led philosophers to avert their gaze from the worst - horrendous - evils and their devastating impact on human lives. They have agreed to debate the issue on the basis of religion-neutral values, and have focused on morals, an approach that - Adams claims - is inadequate for formulating and solving the problem of horrendous evils. She emphasizes instead the fruitfulness of other evaluative categories such as purity and defilement, honor and shame, and aesthetics. If redirected, philosophical reflection on evil can, Adams's book demonstrates, provide a valuable approach not only to theories of God and evil but also to pastoral care.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on philosophy of religion or atheism. It is most likely that this would serve as a secondary rather than primary reading, but would be particularly useful for students who feel that discussions of the problem of evil for theism are carried out at too high a level of abstraction to get to what is really central to the problem.

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Adrian Piper. Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume II: A Kantian Conception
2008, APRA Foundation Berlin
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Publisher’s Note:

Adrian Piper argues that the Humean conception can be made to work only if it is placed in the context of a wider and genuinely universal conception of the self, whose origins are to be found in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. This conception comprises the basic canons of classical logic, which provide both a model of motivation and a model of rationality. These supply necessary conditions both for the coherence and integrity of the self and also for unified agency. The Kantian conception solves certain intractable problems in decision theory by integrating it into classical predicate logic, and provides answers to longstanding controversies in metaethics concerning moral motivation, rational final ends, and moral justification that the Humean conception engenders. In addition, it sheds light on certain kinds of moral behavior – for example, the whistleblower – that the Humean conception is at a loss to explain.

Comment: Best discussed alongside Kantian and Humean texts. In particular, the work considered requires prior knowledge of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Hume's conception of the self.

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Adrian Piper. Rationality and the Structure of the Self: Reply to Guyer and Bradley
2018, Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Abstract:

These two sets of comments on Volume II of my Rationality and the Structure of the Self (henceforth RSS II), from the two leading philosophers in their respective areas of specialization – Kant scholarship and decision theory – are the very first to appear from any quarter within academic philosophy. My gratitude to Paul Guyer and Richard Bradley for the seriousness, thoroughness and respect with which they treat RSS – and my admiration for their readiness to acknowledge the existence of books that in fact have been in wide circulation for a long time – know no bounds. Their comments and criticisms, though sharp, are always constructive. I take my role here to be to incorporate those comments and criticisms where they hit the mark, and, where they go astray, to further articulate my view to meet the standard of clarity they demand. While Guyer’s and Bradley’s comments both pertain to the substantive view elaborated in RSS II, my responses often refer back to the critical background it presupposes that I offer in RSS Volume I: The Humean Conception (henceforth RSS I). I address Guyer’s more exegetically oriented remarks first, in order to provide a general philosophical framework within which to then discuss the decision-theoretic core of the project that is the focus of Bradley’s comments.

Comment: This text offers the responses of the author to critiques of her work Rationality and the Structure of the Self (Volume II). To be used to deepen the ideas treated in the second volume of Rationality and the Structure of the Self and have a clearer picture of this work, including potential critiques and how to address them.

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Adrian Piper. Xenophobia and Kantian Rationalism
1993, Philosophical Forum 24 (1-3):188-232
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Abstract:

The purpose of this discussion is twofold. First, I want to shed some light on Kant's concept of personhood as rational agency, by situating it in the context of the first Critique's conception of the self as defined by its rational dispositions. I hope to suggest that this concept of personhood cannot be simply grafted onto an essentially Humean conception of the self that is inherently inimical to it, as I believe Rawls, Gewirth, and others have tried to do. Instead I will try to show how deeply embedded this concept of personhood is in Kant's conception of the self as rationally unified consciousness. Second, I want to deploy this embedded concept of personhood as the basis for an analysis of the phenomenon of xenophobia.

Comment: Requires prior knowledge of the works written by Kant, especially the first Critique and the concept of personhood. To be used after having developed knowledge on the above mentioned philosophical themes.

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Akkitiq, Atuat, Akpaliapak Karetak, Rhoda. Inunnguiniq (Making a Human Being)
2017, In: Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: What Inuit Have Always Known to be True. Joe Karetak, Frank Tester, Shirley Tagalik (eds.), Fernwood Publishing.
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Added by: Sonja Dobroski and Quentin Pharr
Abstract: The Inuit have experienced colonization and the resulting disregard for the societal systems, beliefs and support structures foundational to Inuit culture for generations. While much research has articulated the impacts of colonization and recognized that Indigenous cultures and worldviews are central to the well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities, little work has been done to preserve Inuit culture. Unfortunately, most people have a very limited understanding of Inuit culture, and often apply only a few trappings of culture -- past practices, artifacts and catchwords --to projects to justify cultural relevance. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit -- meaning all the extensive knowledge and experience passed from generation to generation -- is a collection of contributions by well- known and respected Inuit Elders. The book functions as a way of preserving important knowledge and tradition, contextualizing that knowledge within Canada's colonial legacy and providing an Inuit perspective on how we relate to each other, to other living beings and the environment.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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