SpTp Philosophy and Race
SpTp Philosophy and Race PHIL 391
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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Virginia Wisoky on Monday October 5, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 391 at Christian Brothers University taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see /class/219464/phil-391-christian-brothers-university in PHIL-Philosophy at Christian Brothers University.
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Date Created: 10/05/15
Ethics and Normative Moral Theory Ethics comes from the Greek Ethos character custom Thus at its most basic ethics is that field of study concerned with what it means to be a good person and the rules or norms that appropriately guide our actions what we call morality In some instances it makes sense to distinguish morals a particular set of action guiding rules from ethics the study of such rules in general but in here we will treat them as synonyms Morality is a set of rulesnorms standards but clearly they are not the only standards out there In fact morality is a very specific subset of the rules that organize our experience and social existence Distinguished by 1Address issues that concern human well being 2Have priority over other standards 3Legitimacy depends on the adequacy of the justification offered for them On this basis we can distinguish moralityethical principles from other common types of standards etiquette law Where do they come from custom culture family peers religion personal choice 3 ways of thinking about ethics 1 What people actually believe or do 2 The set of principles that should govern people s behavior 3 Attempt to specify the character and content of this should This third sense is the primary focus of philosophical ethics Thinking about the differences between these three senses reveals the importance of justification to philosophical ethics What is justification A helpful starting point is the distinction between explanation and justification The differences resolve into aims and means Explanation uses causal inferences to account for why something happened Justification uses noncausal features to judge that something should happenbe the case Consequentialism The moral status of an action determined by the value of its consequences Teleological Rightwrong subordinate to value Value can be defined a number of ways Most general is good UP act in such a way as to maximize good utility happiness pluralistic a number of nonreducible goods preference range of satisfiable preferences Counting Value The advantage of the quantitative Rules everyone counts the same everyone includes future someone s total pleasurenot majority hierarchy of pleasures Criticisms Measurement Justice slave class Deontology Kantian Good Will wout qualification Goodmotivated for the right reasons Reasons Duty is the right reason Acknowledgement of the force of the moral lawthe humanityautonomy of myself and others Duty CI Universal Law Humanity Problems Rigorism Indecision Contractarian Once again emphasis is on reasons but in this instance the reasonreasons analyzed are those appropriate to a rationally determined community Virtue Ethics In contrast to C and D V focuses not on the characteristics of right action but on the conditions necessary for the creation of good character Traditionally a good character is defined with the help of a list of Virtues In the face of a dilemma the questions becomes quotWhat would the Virtuous person doquot Problems What Virtues Whose Weak decision making procedure The Classification of Races Towards a Genealogy Genealogy There are three senses of the term thatI am relying on 1 Logical the order of reasons to which 39race39 is a response 2 Historical the historical progress of the concept 3 Philosophical the relation of the concept to philosophy and how philosophy uses it Francois BernierquotA New Division of the Earthquot 1684 Extensive traveler Proposes to divide the world according to the quotremarkable differencequot of specific somatic qualities Notice that he doesn39t begin with such difference can such difference really be the key but with nationality First names the European species whites in which he includes aboriginal Americans Then the Africans are distinguished by lips amp nose skin hue skin texture light beard hair quotspecies of woolquot In this context he makes an important point differences persist across generations Then the Asians are distinguished by in addition body frame and incline of face Then finally the Lapps of which he knows very little but asserts that they must be different At that point he begins to discourse on the distribution of beautiful women Immanuel Kant quotOf the different human racesquot 1777 Kant begins by making a terminological logical distinction crucial to the development of the concept of race between race and species As Kant makes clear a species physical genus is defined according to the quotunity of the reproductive 8 The task of identifying these unities reveals the natural law cause of the line of descent On these grounds 9 Asserting otherwise duplicates causes and makes monogenesis less likely How does Kant explain the obvious differences between people By noting that some quotdeviationsquot breed true and some do not Those that do not hair color are called quotvariationsquot those that do mark racial differences 9 def So What are the races List on 11 Why these four All of the quotvariationsquot can be traced back to these four racial types 11 through interbreeding or incomplete adaptation to climate change In this 39miXing39 Kant asserts that White and black are the fundamental terms sets them in opposition What explains the presence of both variation and racial difference According to Kant39s theory specific physical developments are explained by the development of inherent capacities in the physical nature of a creature Those capacities which produce specific local changes are called by Kant quotseedsquot Those that produce global changes are called quotnatural predispositions Kant is in general relying on a teleological account of history in general and natural history in particular This teleology presumes a creator In general these capacities are developed in the conteXt of specific environmental influences air humidity sun but not diet More specifically Kant speculates on some internal physical mechanism acidity of the blood At this stage Kant takes up a question already noted deviations from what and makes some attempt to specify the root of all racial differentiation Decides on the brunette human they are the type to settle in the temperate belt and they have made all of the good stuff See 20 Of course this raises all sorts of other questions why not same race in similar places what about localization blacks in Africa First answered by reference to migration of already raced peoples only root stock can change Second by discussion of geographic isolation Kant39s latter essay quotOn the use of teleological principles in historyquot makes use of this analysis in a slightly different conteXt 1788 Johann Gottfried von HerderquotIdeas on the philosophy of the history of humankindquot 1784 Two things to note about Herder39s starting point 1diversity of human to be explained by reference to atomistic nature of human beings 2humans shot through with the world As such the natural state of human beings is Change 24 On this basis then Herder denies the substantial reality of any specific differences insisting 25 He goes on to deny the practice of distinguishing people on the basis of race insisting instead that a more legitimate distinction is a cultural one peoples 26 Blumenbach quotOn the natural variety of Mankindquot In Blumenbach we see more of the same In the wake of all of the differences evident amongst people there are 5 principal varieties Caucasian Mongolian Ethiopian American and Malay Of these the Caucasian is the original because most handsome white the primitive color degenerates into brown Alcoff Hanchard Omi and Winant Linda AlcoffquotMestizo Identityquot As we saw in Zack for Alcoff the key to the analysis of mixed race is the question of identity who is the mixed race person This sets up a conflict the philosophicalwestern tradition thinks identity in terms of purity authenticity This is a model that doesn t fit the complications of racial cultural pluralism of Latin America Quotation from Bolivar 1 39 Strange situation of the mixed race individual disliked by both the dominant group and the oppressed group As Alcoff emphasizes this essentially works to deny social recognition to the mixed race person Thus Alcoff emphasizes that common to the experience of mixed race is that it is constitutedexperienced as a lack 143 a lack at least from the perspective of the purity ideal How can we address this dynamic Models to overcome this lack privilege purity even in the face of images like the melting pot Races fixed by phenotypic differences Whiteness not a color Question of different patterns of assimilation One answer South America vs North America RomanIberian vs Germanic Another enlightenment ideals vs colonizing aspirations Latin American Philosophy Conclusions 1 racial identity will continue to be important 2 any sufficient account of self must account for race 3 Positive reconstruction of mixed race liminal figure aufhebung Michael Hanchard Black Cinderella Using Habermas s notion of the public sphere Hanchard examines the racial politics of Brazil with an eye to describing how marginalized racial groups constitute an identity in contact with and contrast to the public sphere What is the public sphere A way of characterizing the development of an individual public as opposed to statesocial public Following Habermas Hanchard notes that the notion is at the same time expansive and exclusive Left out are marginalized populations the one s that never had a substantial sphere of private activity What about Brazil Situation in Americas substantially different than in Europe cf 166 7 Substantial implications for Afro Brazilians Both slaves and libertos Not substantial enough to preclude a whole range of racial exclusions and oppressions but it did mean that in Brazil there was a greater interpenetration of Afro and Euro Brazilian cultures art forms physical aesthetics The willingness of Euro Brazilians to assimilate aspects of Afro Brazilian culture paradoxically limited ability of Afro brazilians to claim their own cultural space Excluded from the public sphere yet deprived of resources to claim their own they had to aggressively seek to reclaim their contributions in the name of Afro Brazilian specificity a move which increased the conflictual and limiting character of Brazilian racial politics Brazil has become more like the US Michael Omi amp Howard Winant Racial Formation This is a more formal abstract piece Adds to our attempt to specify the concept of race What do they add How about another definition of race 183 Implications anti essentialist but not post racial Race as the product of what 0 amp W call racial formation 184 How is race produced as a racial project 185 O amp W then exemplify their theory by looking at racial projects operating in the social political and personal spheres They buttress their theoretical account with a history of the concept and of its employment one of the conclusions of which is that for a large part of its history the US has been a racial dictatorship 197 An important implication of this historical account is its ability to tell as story about the emergence of the concept of racism One feature of this history is its indeterminacy there are competing and often contradictory accounts of racism as color consciousness vs unequal distribution of power etc They argue that the concept of racial formation does a better job with the concept of racism 205 and allows for a better definition 206 See examples of this type of analysis 208 10
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