268 episodes

Interview with Philosophers about their New Books
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    • Philosophy
    • 3.0 • 3 Ratings

Interview with Philosophers about their New Books
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    Patricia Hill Collins, "Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory" (Duke UP, 2019)

    Patricia Hill Collins, "Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory" (Duke UP, 2019)

    Is intersectionality a critical social theory? What must intersectionality do to be both critical and a social theory? Must social justice be a guiding normative principle? And what does or should social justice mean in intersectional theory? Patricia Hills Collins explores these questions, and many more, in Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory (Duke University Press, 2019). Engaging a wide range of thinkers, activists, and traditions, including Classical American Pragmatism, the Frankfurt School, and Ida B. Well-Barnett, Collins helps us to reconsider how we think of intersectionality’s history in order to shape its future.
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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Thomas Pradeu, "Philosophy of Immunology" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Thomas Pradeu, "Philosophy of Immunology" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Vaccines make us wholly or partly immune to disease, such as Covid-19. But what is it to be immune? What is an immune system, and what does it do? In its beginnings, immunology was considered the science of the self/non-self distinction: the immune system comprised the self’s defenses against invading non-self pathogens, and was a sophisticated system possessed only by vertebrates. In Philosophy of Immunology (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Thomas Pradeu explains why these traditional conceptions have been upended over the past 20 years or so. It is now accepted that even single celled organisms have immune systems and that immune systems are also active in many biological activities, including regulation of foreign entities that are not part of the body but are not pathogens either, such as the gut microbiome. Pradeu, who is senior researcher at CNRS and University of Bordeau, defends his view of the individual as an immunologically unified chimera, and speculates about the implications for our understanding of cognition and psychiatric illness in the light of new discoveries of overlap between the immune and nervous systems.
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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Thomas P. Crocker, "Overcoming Necessity: Emergency, Constraint, and the Meanings of American Constitutionalism" (Yale UP, 2020)

    Thomas P. Crocker, "Overcoming Necessity: Emergency, Constraint, and the Meanings of American Constitutionalism" (Yale UP, 2020)

    A core duty of government is keeping those it governs safe. However, in modern democratic states, government is structured by a Constitution, which establishes constraints and checks on the power of any one office. But emergencies – from natural disasters to terrorist attacks – often call for a swift response that presses against those constraints and checks. In the United States, the President has claimed the authority to do what’s necessary to secure and protect the American people. Can such claims be squared with a commitment to the Constitution?
    In Overcoming Necessity: Emergency, Constraint, and the Meanings of American Constitutionalism (Yale 2021), Thomas Crocker argues for a conception of American constitutionalism that can address the need for government to respond to emergencies without losing its normative bearings.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Fanny Söderbäck, "Revolutionary Time: On Time and Difference in Kristeva and Irigaray" (SUNY Press, 2019)

    Fanny Söderbäck, "Revolutionary Time: On Time and Difference in Kristeva and Irigaray" (SUNY Press, 2019)

    What is the relationship between time and sexual difference? Are the categories of linearity and circularity that have so dominated conceptions of time sufficient for the emancipatory aims of feminist theory and praxis? In Revolutionary Time: On Time and Difference in Kristeva and Irigaray (SUNY Press, 2019), Fanny Söderbäck engages the work of Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray to argue that neither linear nor circular models of time make change possible. Only through returning to and revitalizing the past can we enliven the present in ways that make a new future possible. Time and sexual difference, she argues, must be thought together.
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    • 1 hr
    Kyle Johannsen, "Wild Animal Ethics: The Moral and Political Problem of Wild Animal Suffering" (Routledge, 2020)

    Kyle Johannsen, "Wild Animal Ethics: The Moral and Political Problem of Wild Animal Suffering" (Routledge, 2020)

    Many sentient (or possibly sentient) wild animals follow a reproductive strategy whereby they have large numbers of offspring, the vast majority of which suffer and die quickly or suffer and die slowly. Either way, there is a huge amount of suffering in the wild. And it is a truism in ethics that we have a duty to alleviate or prevent unnecessary suffering. If we could intervene in nature to prevent this suffering, shouldn’t we? 
    In Wild Animal Ethics: The Moral and Political Problem of Wild Animal Suffering (Routledge, 2020), Kyle Johannsen argues that we do have this duty. On his view, the value of unspoiled nature only conflicts with botched interventions, not effective ones, and we already do intervene in ways that help wild animals, such as through rabies vaccinations intended primarily to protect domesticated animals. But through gene editing we could do quite a bit more – create a 3-week window from birth where newborns do not suffer from pain, or even turn carnivores into herbivores. Johannsen, an adjunct assistant professor of philosophy at Queen’s University, offers a savvy and provocative discussion of this relatively neglected issue of animal welfare, along with some recommendations on how we can address it.
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    • 1 hr 10 min
    Regina Rini, "The Ethics of Microaggression" (Routledge, 2020)

    Regina Rini, "The Ethics of Microaggression" (Routledge, 2020)

    Seemingly fleeting and barely legible insults, slights, and derogations might seem morally insignificant. They’re the byproducts of ordinary thoughtlessness and insensitivity; moreover, insofar as they inflict harm at all, the harm seems miniscule – hurt feelings, disappointment, annoyance, momentary frustration. Aren’t such things as insults and put-downs in the eye of the beholder, anyway? Surely, there are bigger fish to fry.
    In The Ethics of Microaggression (Routledge 2021), Regina Rini takes seriously this kind of skeptical stance towards the phenomena of microaggression. Indeed, she finds that a common understanding of microaggression is too vulnerable to skeptical challenge. However, she then develops and defends an alternative conception of microaggression that preserves the experiences of those who suffer microaggression while quelling skeptical objections. Along the way, she also proposes strategies for morally dealing with microaggressors.
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    • 1 hr 2 min

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