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Alcoff, Linda Martin, , . On Judging Epistemic Credibility: Is Social Identity Relevant?
2000, In Naomi Zack (ed.), Women of Color and Philosophy: A Critical Reader. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 235-262.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Abstract: In assessing the likely credibility of a claim or judgment, is it ever relevant to take into account the social identity of the person who has made the claim? There are strong reasons, political and otherwise, to argue against the epistemic relevance of social identity. However, there are instances where social identity might be deemed relevant, such as in determinations of criminal culpability where a relatively small amount of evidence is the only basis for the decision and where social prejudices can play a role in inductive reasoning. This paper explores these issues.

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Devereaux, Mary, , . Protected space: Politics, censorship, and the arts
1993, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 51 (2):207-215.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: Anniversaries are appropriate times for reflection. On this, the 50th anniversary of the Ameri can Society for Aesthetics, I want to explore a complicated and confusing situation currently facing Anglo-American aesthetics. Works of art were once esteemed as objects of beauty. I In the past several years, however, artists have been accused of encouraging teenage suicide, urban rage, violence against women, and poisoning American culture. Museum directors have been indicted on obscenity charges, and artists and organizations receiving federal grants have been required to sign pledges that they will not pro mote, disseminate, or produce materials that may be considered obscene. Today in America, as in other times and places, artists face de mands for their art to conform to religious and moral criteria. These demands are not new, but they challenge the view that artistic expression falls under the protection of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.2

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Moody-Adams, Michele M., , . How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable
2019, Catharsis 23
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Joe Slater

Abstract: It is tempting to assume that disagreements about the principles, policies and institutions that shape contemporary political life – especially the disagreements that emerge during contemporary political contests in the United States – are uniquely uncivil. But for much of human history, disagreement about such matters has often been a rough and tumble affair and the best evidence of this emerges in contests for political power. Unflattering epithets about political opponents can be found in hieroglyphics on the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, and political insult and invective were common in political competitions in ancient Rome. Moreover, with the rise of the modern political campaign and increased sophistication and complexity in the means for transmitting and targeting campaign messages innuendo, rumor, and even outright character assassination, became familiar fixtures of political life.

Comment: Discusses disagreement in politics, and how disagreement can remain respectful. Also considers the decline of civility in discourse in America and why civil disagreement is important.

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Suchon, Gabrielle, , . A Woman Who Defends All the Persons of Her Sex: Selected Philosophical and Moral Writings
2010, University of Chicago Press.
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Added by: Francesca Bruno, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: During the oppressive reign of Louis XIV, Gabrielle Suchon (1632-1703) was the most forceful female voice in France, advocating women’s freedom and self-determination, access to knowledge, and assertion of authority. This volume collects Suchon’s writing from two works – Treatise on Ethics and Politics (1693) and On the Celibate Life Freely Chosen; or, Life without Commitments (1700) – and demonstrates her to be an original philosophical and moral thinker and writer. Suchon argues that both women and men have inherently similar intellectual, corporeal, and spiritual capacities, which entitle them equally to essentially human prerogatives, and she displays her breadth of knowledge as she harnesses evidence from biblical, classical, patristic, and contemporary secular sources to bolster her claim. Forgotten over the centuries, these writings have been gaining increasing attention from feminist historians, students of philosophy, and scholars of seventeenth-century French literature and culture. This translation, from Domna C. Stanton and Rebecca M. Wilkin, marks the first time these works will appear in English.

Comment: This volume could be assigned in an early modern (survey) course together with other texts by women philosophers of this time, such as Mary Astell. Suchon's prose is long-winded but clear. There are a number of tensions in the text between (some of) Suchon's ideas, which offer a good opportunity for discussion with students.

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Yoshida Kenkō, , . Essays in Idleness: The Tsurezuregusa of Kenkō
1998, Columbia University Press.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Despite the turbulent times in which he lived, the Buddhist priest Kenkō met the world with a measured eye. As Emperor Go-Daigo fended off a challenge from the usurping Hojo family, and Japan stood at the brink of a dark political era, Kenkō held fast to his Buddhist beliefs and took refuge in the pleasures of solitude. Written between 1330 and 1332, Essays in Idleness reflects the congenial priest’s thoughts on a variety of subjects. His brief writings, some no more than a few sentences long and ranging in focus from politics and ethics to nature and mythology, mark the crystallization of a distinct Japanese principle: that beauty is to be celebrated, though it will ultimately perish. Through his appreciation of the world around him and his keen understanding of historical events, Kenkō conveys the essence of Buddhist philosophy and its subtle teachings for all readers. Insisting on the uncertainty of this world, Kenkō asks that we waste no time in following the way of Buddha. In this fresh edition, Donald Keene’s critically acclaimed translation is joined by a new preface, in which Keene himself looks back at the ripples created by Kenkō’s musings, especially for modern readers.

Comment: The writings of Kenkō, a 14th century court poet turned Japanese Buddhist priest, reflecting on a wide range of ordinary and extraordinary subjects in the random style of zuihitsu (“follow the brush”) Japanese composition. His essays were highly influential on Japanese aesthetics, especially the value placed on impermanent, irregular, and imperfect beauty, and the place of understatedness in a turbulent world. This text is best accessed by a reader with a basic understanding of Japanese aesthetics and Buddhism.

Related reading:

  • Robert E. Carter The Japanese Arts and Self-Cultivation. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008.
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