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Archive for the ‘Race and Gender’ Category

rlclrose22

Very occasionally, in the morning when the weather is not too hot, I step out onto my front porch and sit on a broad wooden bench, looking out into my front yard and that of my neighbor’s, enjoying the coolness of the air with nothing save birdsong to disturb the silence. I may bring a cup of tea with me, and perhaps one of my cats will come to sit near.

For the moment, I am at rest. I own the ground upon which I sit. I am fully provisioned and no enemies appear on my immediate horizon. I am well aware that this is an illusion, but choose to pretend in the moment, that all is well. Now in my fifties, my ambitions are modest. “A home, respect, freedom, and neighbors who want the same” (Lamar). I desire peace and quiet broken only by the occasional company of my extended family and close friends. I think that this is a desire commonly held by the overwhelming majority of mature adults existent across the face of the earth, irrespective of their culture, their history, or their present social and economic position within their particular communities. In the following pages it is my intention to describe the realization of this desire by a certain class of men among the petit-bourgeoisie whom I shall refer to as neo-patriarchs.
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So here is an interesting image about the amount of recent women awarded Ph.Ds.

The question, I think, ought to be what is the cause of this large gender inequality in philosophy.  I do not have a problem with the gap in the mathematics intensive fields, but the large disparity in philosophy does seem odd.

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In the Second Treatise, John Locke posits the concept of self-ownership: “… every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body had any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his,” upon which he bases his labor theory of property (LTP). In brief, since one properly owns one’s body, and thus labor, one acquires ownership over a material object because one invests one’s labor in the material object. Ownership, so to speak, transfers from agent through the labor into the material object. So, e.g., one may come to own a flask of wine by investing one’s labor in the growing and harvesting of the grapes, their vinification, and the construction of the flask. A corollary of the LTP is that one may also acquire ownership via trade, wherein one voluntarily exchanges a material object for agreed upon remuneration, gift, and compensation for material transgressions. Although, ideally, if one were to trace the genealogy of an object’s ownership, whether via gift, trade, or compensation, one will find that it begins in original labor investment. In spite of its prima facie strengths, as formulated by Locke, the LTP admittedly suffers from many difficulties, and thus requires modification. When suitably modified, I would argue, the LTP is essentially correct, but its correctness will not concern us at the present moment. Rather, what will concern us here is the plausibility of the self-ownership concept itself, for if the concept of self-ownership proves to be implausible, so too then does the LTP. (However, this last point is contentious; many proponents of the LTP do not postulate self-ownership, but for reasons I shall not state here I think they are wrong not to do so.) While this post does not address every criticism of self-ownership, it addresses the most significant one.

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“Marxian exploitation is the exploitation of people’s lack of understanding of economics.”

Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia

The impetus for this post was provided by two graduate students here at the University of North Florida, Doidos and Solta (not their real names). In conversation with Doidos and Solta, I was made aware that both were rather sympathetic to Marxist political philosophy. (In fact, on more than a few occasions, Solta even claimed to be a Marxist.) Despite their proclamations of capitalism’s “exploitative and oppressive structure” and their palatable antipathy toward the economic system that permits them the luxury of academic pursuit, it occurred to me that neither Doidos nor Solta knew a thing about Marxian economic theory. E.g., they could not for the life of them provide me with a coherent encapsulation of Marx’s conception of surplus-value, use-value, or exchange-value, all of which are necessary for his theory of exploitation. I could only conclude that, for them, “exploitation” and “oppressive” were indicative of a facon de parler rather than an understanding of a political-economic theory. Therefore, it is my hope that both Doidos and Solta read this post (though I am confident that neither will) and listen to the accompanying lecture. Even if they dismiss the critiques of Marx contain herein, perhaps they will learn a bit about their patron saint’s economic thought.

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Four popular female bloggers dicuss the ins and out of blogging in this interesting panel discussion.

(HT: Feminist Philosophers)

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Thick concepts are generally thought of as concepts that are both descriptive and normative. They describe something and, at the same time, say what something should be. Thinner concepts are concepts, then, that pull apart the normative and descriptive. In this essay, I want to use ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ in different ways than these terms of art. I shall be using the terms thick and thin to mean equivocal concepts that are bundled together and can be pulled apart.

The notion of the ‘ideal’ American Indian is a concept, in my terms, that is very thick; very loaded. As I have explained before, there are at least five different ways American Indians are conceived; in religious, cultural, racial, genetic and political terms. The idea of what I shall call ‘the ideal American Indian’ merges all of these together into one single body. The ideal American Indian, then, (that is, the particular individual or concept that epitomizes the American Indian) includes all of these different forms of identity. (We could include, too, that the ideal American Indian is generally understood to be male.)

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“Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.” H. L. Mencken

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