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Plumwood, Val. Feminism and the Mystery of Nature
1994, Routledge.
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Added by: Anne-Marie McCallion
Publisher’s Note:

Two of the most important political movements of the late twentieth century are those of environmentalism and feminism. In this book, Val Plumwood argues that feminist theory has an important opportunity to make a major contribution to the debates in political ecology and environmental philosophy. _Feminism and the Mastery of Nature_ explains the relation between ecofeminism, or ecological feminism, and other feminist theories including radical green theories such as deep ecology. Val Plumwood provides a philosophically informed account of the relation of women and nature, and shows how relating male domination to the domination of nature is important and yet remains a dilemma for women.

Comment: Val Plumwood (11 August 1939 – 29 February 2008) was an Australian philosopher and ecofeminist known for her work on anthropocentrism. From the 1970s she played a central role in the development of radical ecosophy. Working mostly as an independent scholar, she held positions at the University of Tasmania, North Carolina State University, the University of Montana, and the University of Sydney. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature draws on the feminist critique of reason to argue that the master form of rationality of western culture has been systematically unable to acknowledge dependency on nature, the sphere of those it has defined as ‘inferior’ others. Plumwood illuminates the relationship between women and nature, and between ecological feminism and other feminist theories. This chapter on Feminism and Ecofeminism is situated here in the list because it furthers the critical evaluation of nature which Menon draws by turning the discussion on it’s head. Whilst Menon illustrates the ways in which the of nature is utilised as a means of distorting ‘moral’ and political action, Plumwood illustrates the ways in which the concept of nature itself has been distorted and corrupted by colonial and patriarchal reali

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Menon, Nivedita. Seeing Like a Feminist
2012, Penguin India and Zubaan Books.
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Added by: Anne-Marie McCallion
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For Nivedita Menon, feminism is not about a moment of final triumph over patriarchy but about the gradual transformation of the social field so decisively that old markers shift forever. From sexual harassment charges against international figures to the challenge that caste politics poses to feminism, from the ban on the veil in France to the attempt to impose skirts on international women badminton players, from queer politics to domestic servants’ unions to the Pink Chaddi campaign, Menon deftly illustrates how feminism complicates the field irrevocably. Incisive, eclectic and politically engaged, Seeing like a Feminist is a bold and wide-ranging book that reorders contemporary societ

Comment: Nivedita Menon is an influential feminist academic, who briefly taught in Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi, and is currently a professor of political science in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. What probably heightens her ability to see through the flawless nude makeup of our patriarchal culture is the fact that she was brought up in the Nair community of Kerala which, until her grandmother’s generation, was matrilineal. Seeing Like A Feminist is about both the challenges faced by feminism in India as well as global and intersectional movements of feminism. It covers a wide range of issues like the Hindu Code Bills, the Pink Chaddi campaign that was heavily criticized by the media, ‘gender verification’ tests for the Olympic Games, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, gender performativity, the Women’s Reservation Bill (Sharma, 2016). In this chapter, Menon critically examines the concept of ‘nature’ how it functions to corset our perception and actions, and in turn, constrain woBTQ+ emancipation.

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Johri, Mira, Ryoa Chung, et. al.. Global health and national borders: the ethics of foreign aid in a time of financial crisis.
2012, Globalization and Health 8:19
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Mira Johri
Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The governments and citizens of the developed nations are increasingly called upon to contribute financially to health initiatives outside their borders. Although international development assistance for health has grown rapidly over the last two decades, austerity measures related to the 2008 and 2011 global financial crises may impact negatively on aid expenditures. The competition between national priorities and foreign aid commitments raises important ethical questions for donor nations. This paper aims to foster individual reflection and public debate on donor responsibilities for global health. METHODS: We undertook a critical review of contemporary accounts of justice. We selected theories that: (i) articulate important and widely held moral intuitions; (ii) have had extensive impact on debates about global justice; (iii) represent diverse approaches to moral reasoning; and (iv) present distinct stances on the normative importance of national borders. Due to space limitations we limit the discussion to four frameworks. RESULTS: Consequentialist, relational, human rights, and social contract approaches were considered. Responsibilities to provide international assistance were seen as significant by all four theories and place limits on the scope of acceptable national autonomy. Among the range of potential aid foci, interventions for health enjoyed consistent prominence. The four theories concur that there are important ethical responsibilities to support initiatives to improve the health of the worst off worldwide, but offer different rationales for intervention and suggest different implicit limits on responsibilities. CONCLUSIONS: Despite significant theoretical disagreements, four influential accounts of justice offer important reasons to support many current initiatives to promote global health. Ethical argumentation can complement pragmatic reasons to support global health interventions and provide an important foundation to strengthen collective action.

Comment: Designed for researchers, students, and practitioners in global health, this text offers an introduction to four important contemporary accounts of global justice and traces the implications of each position concerning responsibilities for health of people who live outside one’s own country. The text was written to empower each reader to develop her own position on responsibilities for global health. It is useful as a basis for classroom discussion and debate on contemporary challenges such as global health governance, aid, and distribution of scarce resources such as access to Covid-19 diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.

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Obdrzalek, Suzanne. Moral transformation and the love of beauty in Plato’s symposium
2010, Journal of the History of Philosophy 48(4): 415-444
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous
Abstract:

This paper defends an intellectualist interpretation of Diotima’s speech in Plato’s Symposium. I argue that Diotima’s purpose, in discussing the lower lovers, is to critique their erōs as aimed at a goal it can never secure, immortality, and as focused on an inferior object, themselves. By contrast, in loving the form of beauty, the philosopher gains a mortal sort of completion; in turning outside of himself, he also ceases to be preoccupied by his own incompleteness.

Comment: On Eros in the Symposium. Would be great in any course that has a unit on this.

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Heinzelmann, Nora. Compensation and moral luck
2021, The Monist 104 (2):251-264
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous
Abstract:

In some vicarious cases of compensation, an agent seems obligated to compensate for a harm they did not inflict. This raises the problem that obligations for compensation may arise out of circumstantial luck. That is, an agent may owe compensation for a harm that was outside their control. Addressing this issue, I identify five conditions for compensation from the literature: causal engagement, proxy, ill-gotten gains, constitution, and affiliation. I argue that only two of them specify genuine and irreducible grounds for compensation, and that factors determining the agent’s obligations may be beyond their control. However, I suggest that this is unproblematic. There is thus no problem of circumstantial moral luck for compensation.

Comment: Argues that there is no problem of moral luck for obligations of compensation. Surveys possible ethical justifications of compensation and may thus be used as a text in a class on reparation, restoration, and related issues in applied ethics and political philosophy. Also discusses moral luck, particularly circumstantial luck, and may thus be used to showcase how the issue of moral luck arises in the circumscribed context of compensation.

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Bortolotti, Lisa, John Harris. Disability, Enhancement and the Harm-Benefit Continuum
2006, In John R. Spencer & Antje Du Bois-Pedain (eds.), Freedom and Responsibility in Reproductive Choice. Hart Publishers
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Nils-Hennes Stear
Abstract:

Suppose that you are soon to be a parent and you learn that there are some simple measures that you can take to make sure that your child will be healthy. In particular, suppose that by following the doctor’s advice, you can prevent your child from having a disability, you can make your child immune from a number of dangerous diseases and you can even enhance its future intelligence. All that is required for this to happen is that you (or your partner) comply with lifestyle and dietary requirements. Do you and your partner have any moral reasons (or moral obligations) to follow the doctor’s advice? Would it make a difference if, instead of following some simple dietary requirements, you consented to genetic engineering to make sure that your child was free from disabilities, healthy and with above average intelligence? In this paper we develop a framework for dealing with these questions and we suggest some directions the answers might take.

Comment: This is a paper that gives an account of enhancement and disability in terms of one's relative position on a harmed and benefitted continuum, and defends enhancement on completely general moral grounds according to which the pro tanto duty to enhance is the same as the pro tanto duty not to disable. It pairs well with criticisms of the 'new eugenics', such as Robert Sparrow's 'A Not-So-New Eugenics' (2011) and more generally with consequentialist or specifically harm-based accounts of moral obligation.

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Lai, Ten-Herng. Political vandalism as counter-speech: A defense of defacing and destroying tainted monuments
2020, European Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):602-616
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous
Abstract:

Tainted political symbols ought to be confronted, removed, or at least recontextualized. Despite the best efforts to achieve this, however, official actions on tainted symbols often fail to take place. In such cases, I argue that political vandalism—the unauthorized defacement, destruction, or removal of political symbols—may be morally permissible or even obligatory. This is when, and insofar as, political vandalism serves as fitting counter-speech that undermines the authority of tainted symbols in ways that match their publicity, refuses to let them speak in our name, and challenges the derogatory messages expressed through a mechanism I call derogatory pedestalling: the glorification or honoring of certain individuals or ideologies that can only make sense when members of a targeted group are taken to be inferior.

Comment: For topics on debates regarding monuments, statues, commemorations etc. There are many papers on this topic, but this one is among the few that directly engages with the justifiability of vandalism as a form of activism. May also fit courses on activism, racism, and speech act theory.

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Howard-Snyder, Frances. Rule Consequentialism is a Rubber Duck
1995, American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (3):271 - 278
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Joe Slater
Abstract:

Rubber ducks, clothes horses, drug store cowboys, clay pigeons, stool pigeons, Bombay duck and hot dogs have something in common. They are not what their names suggest. Someone who didn't know English very well might think that a stool pigeon was a kind of pigeon or that Bombay duck was a kind of duck. But he would be wrong. Linguistic evidence of this sort is not a reliable guide to the nature of reality. I shall argue that the same is true of rule consequentialism.

Comment: Useful for giving to students who might ask whether rule consequentialism is *really* consequentialism.

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Baldwin, James. Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind
1963, in: The Fire Next Time. Penguin Classics. pp. 3-22
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Added by: Suddha Guharoy, Andreas Sorger
Abstract:

Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.

Comment: Published in 1963, this essay offers a scathing attack on the racist history of America and its contemporary present in the 1960s. The text provides a trenchant critique of the way racism has shaped, and continues to shape, relations between whites and blacks in American society by suggesting that whites are trapped by a history they refuse to acknowledge – thereby making them unable to conceive of black Americans as their fellow co-citizens. Thus, for Baldwin, it is imperative that whites are made to recognise this history, as a failure to do so will inevitably result in an outbreak of violence. It is a compelling narrative of various quotidian as well as extraordinary incidents interwoven with local and international political causes and repercussions.

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Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism
2000, NYU Press
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Publisher's Note: This classic work, first published in France in 1955, profoundly influenced the generation of scholars and activists at the forefront of liberation struggles in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Nearly twenty years later, when published for the first time in English, Discourse on Colonialism inspired a new generation engaged in the Civil Rights, Black Power, and anti-war movements and has sold more than 75,000 copies to date.

Aimé Césaire eloquently describes the brutal impact of capitalism and colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of "progress" and "civilization" upon encountering the "savage," "uncultured," or "primitive." Here, Césaire reaffirms African values, identity, and culture, and their relevance, reminding us that "the relationship between consciousness and reality are extremely complex. . . . It is equally necessary to decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same time that we decolonize society."

Comment: Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism is a foundational text in postcolonial theory, which provides an excoriating critique of not only European practices of colonialism, but also the underlying theories and logics used to justify them. Specifically, Césaire takes aim at the view of colonialism as a ‘civilising mission’, where benevolent Europeans would provide non-white non- Europeans with the tools necessary for modernisation. Instead, he argued that colonialism wrought destruction everywhere it went, killing people, eradicating civilisations, and obliterating any alternative cultural ideas that contrasted European values. Crucially, Césaire explores the psychological effects of colonialism on both the colonised and the coloniser – a theme that would be taken further by Frantz Fanon (a student of Césaire’s) in his writings.

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