A forum for philosophers and other scholars to discuss academic work and current affairs with race and gender in mind.
Find symposia on recently published books and articles by following the links that appear on the right column.
Some argue that same-sex marriage is not an equal rights issue because, where same-sex marriage is illegal, heterosexuals and homosexuals have the exact same right to marry—i.e., the right to marry one adult of the opposite sex. I dispute this argument by pointing out that while societies that prohibit same-sex marriage equally permit individual heterosexuals and homosexuals to marry one adult of the opposite sex, same-sex couples in such societies are denied an important right that opposite-sex couples enjoy—i.e., the right (...) to marry. I argue that the right to marry is fundamentally, not an individual right, but a couple’s collective right, analogous to assembly rights.
Much of feminist theory takes issue with traditional, liberal theories of consent and obligation. Though none have proposed abandoning obligation outright, there has been a general shift among feminists towards a responsibility paradigm. Responsibility models acknowledge given relationships and interdependence, and so posit responsibilities as given, regardless of whether they are voluntary. But in theories that take freedom as a principal value, a move from a socially unembedded voluntarism to socially embedded responsibility leaves something missing. Constructive accounts of and prescriptions (...) for freedom must consider the reality of social life; yet acknowledging that relations are given need not require subordinating the role of voluntarism and consent in most relationships. In this paper I offer a commitment framework that seeks to supplant obligation while also reconciling relational given-ness and voluntarism. I propose an analysis of commitment that takes relations as the starting point and then show how the concept can: 1. guide actions 2. account for responsibilities 3. enhance freedom and 4. avoid a large share of coercive forces that are believed as necessary for reinforcing obligation and responsibility fulfillment.
A curious ambiguity has arisen in the race debate in recent years. That ambiguity is what is actually meant by ‘biological racial realism’. Some philosophers mean that ‘race is a natural kind in biology’, while others mean that ‘race is a real biological kind’. However, there is no agreement about what a natural kind or a real biological kind should be in the race debate. In this article, I will argue that the best interpretation of ‘biological racial realism’ is one (...) that interprets ‘biological racial realism’ as ‘race is a genuine kind in biology’, where a genuine kind is a valid kind in a well-ordered scientific research program. I begin by reviewing previous interpretations of ‘biological racial realism’ in the race debate. Second, I introduce the idea of a genuine kind and compare it to various notions of natural and real biological kinds used in the race debate. Third, I present and defend an argument for my view. Fourth, I provide a few interesting consequences of my view for the race debate. Last, I provide a summary of the article.
Oppression can be unjust from a luck egalitarian point of view even when it is the consequence of choices for which it is reasonable to hold persons responsible. This is for two reasons. First, people who have not been oppressed are unlikely to anticipate the ways in which their choices may lead them into oppressive conditions. Facts about systematic phenomena (like oppression) are often beyond the epistemic reach of persons who are not currently subject to such conditions, even when they (...) possess adequate information about the particular consequences of their choices. Second, people may be (much) less responsible for remaining in oppressive conditions, even if they are responsible for entering circumstances of oppression. Oppression that results from a person’s choice may cause or contribute to dramatic changes in that person, and these changes may be sufficient to undermine the person’s responsibility for the results of her earlier choice. (shrink)