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Fara, Delia Graff, , . Phenomenal Continua and the Sorites
2001, Mind 110(440): 905-935.
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Abstract: I argue that, contrary to widespread philosophical opinion, phenomenal indiscriminability is transitive. For if it were not transitive, we would be precluded from accepting the truisms that if two things look the same then the way they look is the same and that if two things look the same then if one looks red, so does the other. Nevertheless, it has seemed obvious to many philosophers (e.g. Goodman, Armstrong and Dummett) that phenomenal indiscriminability is not transitive; and, moreover, that this non-transitivity is straightforwardly revealed to us in experience. I show this thought to be wrong. All inferences from the character of our experience to the non-transitivity of indiscriminability involve either a misunderstanding of continuity, a mistaken interpretation of the idea that we have limited powers of discrimination, or tendentious claims about what our experience is really like; or such inferences are based on inadequately supported premisses, which though individually plausible are jointly implausible.

Comment: A very good paper for an interesting and controversial claim. Very logically rigorous, well-presented and easy to follow, even if not necessarily convincing. Interesting in philosophy of mind in its own right, and is also a good illustration of use of logic in constructing an argument. It does require skill in quantificational logic to understand.

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Okin, Susan Moller, , . Is multiculturalism bad for women?
1999, Princeton University Press
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Publisher’s Note: Polygamy, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, punishing women for being raped, differential access for men and women to health care and education, unequal rights of ownership, assembly, and political participation, unequal vulnerability to violence. These practices and conditions are standard in some parts of the world. Do demands for multiculturalism — and certain minority group rights in particular — make them more likely to continue and to spread to liberal democracies? Are there fundamental conflicts between our commitment to gender equity and our increasing desire to respect the customs of minority cultures or religions? In this book, the eminent feminist Susan Moller Okin and fifteen of the world’s leading thinkers about feminism and multiculturalism explore these unsettling questions in a provocative, passionate, and illuminating debate.

Okin opens by arguing that some group rights can, in fact, endanger women. She points, for example, to the French government’s giving thousands of male immigrants special permission to bring multiple wives into the country, despite French laws against polygamy and the wives’ own bitter opposition to the practice. Okin argues that if we agree that women should not be disadvantaged because of their sex, we should not accept group rights that permit oppressive practices on the grounds that they are fundamental to minority cultures whose existence may otherwise be threatened.

In reply, some respondents reject Okin’s position outright, contending that her views are rooted in a moral universalism that is blind to cultural difference. Others quarrel with Okin’s focus on gender, or argue that we should be careful about which group rights we permit, but not reject the category of group rights altogether. Okin concludes with a rebuttal, clarifying, adjusting, and extending her original position. These incisive and accessible essays — expanded from their original publication in Boston Review and including four new contributions — are indispensable reading for anyone interested in one of the most contentious social and political issues today.

The diverse contributors, in addition to Okin, are Azizah al-Hibri, Abdullahi An-Na’im, Homi Bhabha, Sander Gilman, Janet Halley, Bonnie Honig, Will Kymlicka, Martha Nussbaum, Bhikhu Parekh, Katha Pollitt, Robert Post, Joseph Raz, Saskia Sassen, Cass Sunstein, and Yael Tamir.

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Young, Iris Marion, , . Five faces of oppression
2009, In George L. Henderson & Marvin Waterstone (eds.), Philosophical Forum. Routledge. 270
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Diversifying Syllabi: The concept of ‘oppression’ cannot be captured by traditional, distributive conceptions of justice. Oppression is also not a unified phenomenon with an underlying, fundamental essence. To make sense of oppression, we need to revise our accounts of social ontology to recognize the existence of “groups.” Social groups can experience oppression in any of the following, crucially distinct five ways: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. Individuals within these groups can experience all, multiple, or just one of these forms of oppression and can also find themselves, simultaneously, in dominant groups/positions in other contexts. A revised social ontology that accounts for the existence of such groups shows that redistribution of material goods will not eliminate these forms of oppression.

Comment: This text is most useful in teaching on the nature of justice, as it offers a valuable alternative to the theories typically discussed in undergraduate classes. It offers a great introduction to the notion of systemic injustice and issues in gender and racial discrimination. Since the text is written in a fairly approachable way, it can offer a good introductory text in some junior courses, stimulating reflection on issues typically taken for granted.

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