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Cohon, Rachel, , . Hume’s Moral Philosophy
2010, E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy [electronic resource]
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Introduction: Hume’s position in ethics, which is based on his empiricist theory of the mind, is best known for asserting four theses: (1) Reason alone cannot be a motive to the will, but rather is the “slave of the passions” (see Section 3) (2) Moral distinctions are not derived from reason (see Section 4). (3) Moral distinctions are derived from the moral sentiments: feelings of approval (esteem, praise) and disapproval (blame) felt by spectators who contemplate a character trait or action (see Section 7). (4) While some virtues and vices are natural (see Section 13), others, including justice, are artificial (see Section 9). There is heated debate about what Hume intends by each of these theses and how he argues for them. He articulates and defends them within the broader context of his metaethics and his ethic of virtue and vice.

Hume’s main ethical writings are Book 3 of his Treatise of Human Nature, “Of Morals” (which builds on Book 2, “Of the Passions”), his Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, and some of his Essays. In part the moral Enquiry simply recasts central ideas from the moral part of the Treatise in a more accessible style; but there are important differences. The ethical positions and arguments of the Treatise are set out below, noting where the moral Enquiry agrees; differences between the Enquiry and the Treatise are discussed afterwards.

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Coleman, Elizabeth Burns, , . Repatriation and the Concept of Inalienable Possession
2010, In The Long Way Home, edited by Paul Turnbull and Michael Pickering: Berghan Books.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: The concept of inalienable possession often figures centrally in debates about repatriation of cultural artifacts (which are also often artworks). The right of alienability (or the right to transfer title to property) is one of the core rights in Western property theory. If property is inalienable, this means that title to it cannot rightly be transferred. In this paper, Coleman analyzes the concept of inalienable possession, and argues that laws (such as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)) can foist a conception of inalienable possession on indigenous peoples that can be inaccurate to past and changing cultural norms. She uses this point to offer a distinction between property and ownership. This opens up conceptual space for a link between objects and identity through ownership that might nevertheless allow for the alienability of such property.

Comment: This paper is best for a course unit that is making room for in-depth discussion of the property dimensions of cultural property. It would pair well with Janna Thompson’s “Art, Property Rights, and the Interests of Humanity,” or James O. Young’s “Cultures and Cultural Property.” It can be also used together with or in lieu of Sarah Harding’s much longer and more detailed paper “Justifying Repatriation of Native American Cultural Property.”

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Kim, Jaegwon, , . Making Sense of Emergence
1999, Philosophical Studies 95(1-2): 3-36.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Summary: This chapter explores the core thought of the idea of emergentism, that as systems acquire increasingly higher degrees of organizational complexity, they begin to exhibit novel properties which in some sense transcend the properties of their constituent parts, and behave in ways that cannot be predicted on the basis of the laws governing simpler systems. The birth of emergentism can be traced back to John Stuart Mill and his distinction between “heteropathic” and “homeopathic” laws. Academic philosophers contributed to the development of emergence and the attendant doctrines of emergentism, but it is interesting to note that the fundamental idea seems to have had a special appeal to scientists and those outside professional philosophy. In spite of this, emergentism failed to become a visible part of mainstream philosophy of science because philosophy of science was, at the time, shaped by positivist and hyper-empiricist views that dominated Anglo-American philosophy.

Comment: Kim’s argument is one of the most important objections to emergence in philosophy of mind. Though complex, a basic understanding of it is essential to a proper treatment of nonreductive physicalism. In any context where emergentism is taught, this paper would serve as an important counterpoint.

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Nida-Rumelin, Martine, , . Grasping phenomenal properties
2006, In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Abstract: I will present an argument for property dualism. The argument employs a distinction between having a concept of a property and grasping a property via a concept. If you grasp a property P via a concept C, then C is a concept of P. But the reverse does not hold: you may have a concept of a property without grasping that property via any concept. If you grasp a property, then your cognitive relation to that property is more intimate then if you just have some concept or other of that property. To grasp a property is to understand what having that property essentially consists in.

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Thompson, Janna, , . Cultural Property, Restitution and Value
2003, Journal of Applied Philosphy 20(3): 251-262
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: In this paper, Thompson approaches questions about the repatriation of art and artifacts through the lens of cultural property. She briefly discusses the nature of cultural property itself, and then moves on to exploring how her preferred conception of cultural property (roughly, culturally significant objects that are legitimately acquired by a collectivity) can facilitate or hinder claims for repatriation. In particular, she discusses the relationship between cultural property-based claims and potentially countervailing considerations, such as the purported universal value (or “value for humanity”) of cultural heritage.

Comment: This text offers a helpful introduction to cultural property and repatriation that is clear, readable, and concise. It is a good choice if you only have time for a single reading on this topic, but it also pairs well with most other readings in this module.

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Warren, Karen J., , . A Philosophical Perspective on the Ethics and Resolution of Cultural Property Issues
1989, In The Ethics of Collecting Cultural Property, edited by Phyllis Mauch Messenger. USA: University of New Mexico Press.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: Warren’s chapter offers a careful and systematic look at arguments concerning what she calls “the 3 R’s”: restitution (or repatriation) of cultural property, restrictions on cultural imports and exports, and the rights (to ownership, access, etc.) over cultural property. She ultimately argues that this framework should be overturned in favor of an approach to cultural property disputes that is modeled on conflict resolution. This approach deprioritizes traditional talk of property and ownership in favor of a focus on preservation.

Comment: Due to its clear and organized approach, this article is an excellent teaching resource, and a good choice in particular if you plan to do a single reading on repatriation issues. While it often focuses more on summary than developing the many argumentative approaches mentioned, it offers a helpful backbone for further discussion.

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