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Estlund, Cynthia. Working Together: Crossing Color Lines at Work
2005, Labor History. 46 (1):79-98
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Added by: Deryn Mair Thomas
Abstract: Amidst signs of declining social capital, the typical workplace is a hotbed of sociability and cooperation. And in a still-segregated society, the workplace is where adults are most likely to interact across color lines. The convergence of close interaction and some racial diversity makes the workplace a crucial institution within a diverse democratic society. Paradoxically, the involuntariness of workplace associations—the compulsion of economic necessity, of managerial authority, and of law—helps to facilitate constructive interaction among diverse co-workers. Where racial diversity is a fact of organizational life (and the law can help to make it so), then employers and workers have their own powerful reasons—psychological and economic—to make those relationships constructive, even amicable. I contend here that it is where we are compelled to get along, and not where we choose to do so, that we can best advance the project of racial integration.

Comment: This text raises interesting questions about the relationship between diverse workplaces and democratic practices, and in particular, makes an interesting argument about the implications for racial integration. It can therefore be used to prompt students to think generally about democratic political structures, citizenship, and equality, while also encouraging discussion in particular about the role that work plays in promoting good civic practices.

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Haddock-Seigfried, Charlene. Pragmatism and Feminism: Reweaving the Social Fabric
1996, University of Chicago Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: Though many pioneering feminists were deeply influenced by American pragmatism, their contemporary followers have generally ignored that tradition because of its marginalization by a philosophical mainstream intent on neutral analyses devoid of subjectivity. In this revealing work, Charlene Haddock Seigfried effectively reunites two major social and philosophical movements, arguing that pragmatism, because of its focus on the emancipatory potential of everyday experiences, offers feminism its most viable and powerful philosophical foundation. With careful attention to their interwoven histories and contemporary concerns, Pragmatism and Feminism effectively invigorates both traditions, opening them to new interpretations and appropriations and asserting their timely philosophical relevance. This foundational work in feminist theory simultaneously invites and guides future scholarship in an area of rapidly emerging significance.

Comment: This text is the perfect introduction to the history of how feminism influenced pragmatism, and vice versa, and how pragmatism can still offer a viable philosophical foundation for feminism. So, for students who are interested in both topics, they would do well to read this text. It offers a number of great quotations from early female and African-American proponents of pragmatism, and it also outlines a rich feminist perspective, grounded in a pragmatic outlook, on how to do philosophy and think about society in general.

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Mouffe, Chantal. The Democratic Paradox
2000, Verso
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Jojanneke Vanderveen
Abstract: The Democratic Paradox is a collection of essays by the Belgian political theorist Chantal Mouffe, published in 2000 by Verso Books. The essays offer further discussion of the concept of radical democracy that Mouffe explored in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, co-authored by Ernesto Laclau.

Comment: This is a short book discussing agonistic pluralism. It is a critique of Rawlsian justice and Habermasian discourse ethics.

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O'Neill, Onora. The public use of reason
1986, Political Theory 14 (4):523-551.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa
Abstract: LIBERALS OFTEN THINK diversity of belief and its expression should be tolerated in order to respect either individuals or reason and truth themselves. Because they are agnostic about the good for man, they hold that liberty for each to pursue his or her conception of the good in "self-regarding" matters is required, and that practices of toleration are important aspects of this liberty. They also often advocate practices of toleration as means by which reasoned and true beliefs can come to prevail over false beliefs. Each line of thought justifies practices of toleration as means to something which is seen both as logically independent and as of more fundamental value. These familiar lines of thought are not the only possible liberal vindication of toleration. In Kant's writings toleration is not a derivative value, to be established only when the value of true and reasoned belief and of liberty in self-regarding matters has been established. His arguments for toleration of what he terms "the public use of reason" presuppose neither antecedently given standards of rationality nor that any class of self-regarding individual actions is of special importance. For Kant the importance of (some sorts of) toleration is connected with the very grounding of reason, and so in particular with the grounding of practical reason. His arguments suggest that liberal political thinking can vindicate practices of toleration without commitment either to a strong form of individualism or to the view that we can distinguish "self-regarding" acts, and without claiming that reasoning either has a "transcendent" vindication or is groundless. The themes of toleration and of the grounding of reason are brought together in many Kantian texts. The most important is the Critique of Pure Reason, in particular the section of the Doctrine of Method called "The Discipline of Pure Reason in Respect of its Polemical Employment." I The same connection is stressed in many other places, including scattered passages in the Second and Third Critiques, in the Logic, and in Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone. A number of shorter essays, including "What Is Enlightenment?" (1784), "What Is Orientation in Thinking?" (1786), "Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose" (1784), "The Conflict of the Faculties" (1798), "On the Common Saying 'This may be True in Theory, but it does not Apply in Practice' " (1795), and "Perpetual Peace" (1795),2 appear at first to have much to say about toleration, including the political aspects of toleration, and little about the grounding of reason. Yet here too the themes are often interwoven. The close connections between the short political essays and the central critical writings suggest not only that the essays are part of Kant's systematic philosophy, and not marginal or occasional pieces, but also perhaps that the entire critical enterprise has a certain political character. If this is the case, it is no accident that the guiding metaphors of The Critique of Pure Reason are political metaphors. If the discussion of reason itself is to proceed in terms of conflicts whose battlefields and strife are scenes of defeat and victory that will give way to a lasting peace only when we have established through legislation such courts, tribunals, and judges as can weigh the issue and give verdict, then it is perhaps not surprising that Kant links his discussions of politics very closely to larger issues about the powers and limits of human reason. However, this is a large and for present purposes somewhat tangential issue.3 The more immediate concern is to see how Kantian arguments link toleration to the very grounding of reason.

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

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Okin, Susan Moller. Forty acres and a mule’ for women: Rawls and feminism
2005, Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (2):233-248.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Lizzy Ventham
Abstract: This article assesses the development of Rawls's thinking in response to a generation of feminist critique. Two principle criticisms are sustainable throughout his work: first, that the family, as a basic institution of society, must be subject to the principles of justice if its members are to be free and equal members of society; and, second, that without such social and political equality, justice as fairness is as meaningful to women as the unrealized promise of 'Forty acres and a mule' was to the newly freed slaves.

Comment: I would use this piece to accompany any teaching on John Rawls and his political philosophy. It provides some good summary of a number of different feminist critiques of Rawls and his responses to them, as well as providing new ideas for why Rawls still misses the mark. It can be a good basis for discussion on a number of different feminist criticisms of Rawls' philosophy.

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Tan, Sor-Hoon. Why Equality and Which Inequalities?: A Modern Confucian Approach to Democracy
2016, Philosophy East and West 66(2): 488–514
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Wilson Lee
Abstract:

Abstract: This article challenges the conventional view that Confucianism has no place for the value of equality by shifting the focus from direct justification of equality (Why equality?) to concerns about actual social and political problems (Which inequalities are objectionable?). From this perspective, early Confucian texts endorse some inequalities, in particular those based on virtue, while objecting to others, especially socioeconomic inequalities. Confucians do not consider equality or inequality as inherently valuable, but evaluate them in relation to issues of good government.

Comment: Coming from a Confucian perspective, the paper examines the relation between equality and democracy with implications for both reconstructing Confucian political philosophy for today and democratic theory as such. This is an important point of dialogue for Anglophone political philosophers to have a more objective picture of Confucian political philosophy instead of the usual imperialist caricatures. The point of dialogue is also being explored by a Singaporean scholar in Singapore (despite having been once a crown colony its scholarship is unfortunately very much ignored in the Anglophone world), whose work and life lies at the intersection of Chinese and Anglo-European intellectual traditions.

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Tsai, George. The morality of state symbolic power
2016, Social Theory and Practice, 42(2):318–342
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Added by: Ten-Herng Lai
Abstract: Philosophical interest in state power has tended to focus on the state’s coercive powers rather than its expressive powers. I consider an underexplored aspect of the state’s expressive capacity: its capacity to use symbols (such as monuments, memorials, and street names) to promote political ends. In particular, I argue that the liberal state’s deployment of symbols to promote its members’ commitment to liberal ideals is in need of special justification. This is because the state’s exercise of its capacity to use symbols may be in tension with respecting individual autonomy, particularly in cases in which the symbols exert influence without engaging citizens’ rational capacities. But despite the fact that the state’s deployment of symbols may circumvent citizens’ rational capacities, I argue that it may nonetheless be permissible when surrounded by certain liberal institutions and brought about via democratic procedures.

Comment: This paper is not about objectionable commemorations in particular, but sets out to explore how any political symbols can be justified at all in a liberal democratic state. This should be a preliminary to any discussion we have about statues and monuments. A particular point of interest is that, according to Tsai, the state ought to engage with its citizens through rational persuasion. This will be relevant to latter discussions regarding the nature of moral education, and the role emotions play in it.

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