October 25: Emily Dupree

Come join us Monday, October 25, to discuss Emily Dupree’s Paper “Revenge”.

This meeting is on Zoom. The zoom link will be sent out in advance of the meeting to all those on the practical philosophy workshop email list. If you would like to be added to the list, please email pbourbon@uchicago.edu

When: 10:30-12:20 am

Paper is available under ‘download’. Please email pbourbon@uchicago.edu if you require the password.

Abstract:

There is a cluster of enduring assumptions in much of our Western philosophical inheritance on the topic of revenge: first, that revenge is a moral evil incompatible with freedom; second, that it is irrational; and finally, that revenge has no place in our practical lives once sociopolitical organizations are up and running. In one telling passage, Martha Nussbaum describes anger’s vengeful impulses as involving beliefs that are “false and incoherent, ubiquitous though they are.” But these assumptions, as I will argue, oversimplify questions regarding the status of revenge under conditions of political failure. What can wronged parties do when the state no longer adequately safeguards their moral personhood? When it seems that private vengeance is the only recourse one has in the aftermath of immense interpersonal harm?

In this paper I explore these questions through the first-personal accounts of revenge taken by Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust, and develop an account in which revenge is rational to pursue. This rationality is grounded in the moral good that it provides revenge-seekers: the actualization of a moral personhood that was eroded by the interpersonal conditions that constituted the state’s failure. While I do not commit myself in this paper to defending revenge all things considered, I make the still-robust claim that revenge provides a moral good and it is therefore rational to pursue it. This good is related to the more general good of actualizing one’s moral personhood. In this way, I deny the first two assumptions of our philosophical inheritance, and I show that the last assumption – that revenge has no place in our practical lives once sociopolitical organizations are up and running – is a tautology once we understand the nature of revenge itself.

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October 11: John Proios

Come join us Monday, October 11, to discuss John Proios’s Paper “Plato’s Scientific Feminism”.

 Where: Haskell 315

When: 10:30-12:20 am

Paper is available under ‘download’. Please email pbourbon@uchicago.edu if you require the password.

Abstract:

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates argues that in the ideal city women and men in the guardian class should receive the same education (451e–52a, 456d–57a), and do the same work (453b–56b). Indeed, Socrates emphasizes that the highest office in the ideal city, of philosopher-rulers, will include philosopher-queens and not just philosopher-kings (540c). Socrates’ conclusions have been approved by other philosophers who believe in equality as a value—they value equal opportunity, irrespective of sex, or equal consideration, irrespective of sex, either as treatment owed to both sexes in recognition of some valuable feature shared by both, or as necessary for the realization of some other fundamental value, such as freedom or the development and exercise of core human capacities, to which both sexes are equally entitled.  In this paper we argue that unlike those philosophers, the Socrates of Plato’s Republic does not assign the same jobs to women and men on the basis of valuing equality at all. Rather, his basis for assigning men and women the same work is scientific:  with respect to civic contribution, women’s nature is the same as men’s, although on the whole inferior.   Our central claim is that, at core, the judgment that women and men ought to do the same work irrespective of sex is a method of collecting and dividing kinds according to nature, so that the ‘ought’ is scientific rather than moral. Insofar as feminism is concerned with equality as a value, Plato’s argument for sex equality in the division of labour falls far short of a feminist position. Thus, our paper answers several key questions about Socrates’ argument, such as the backdrop of class inequality in the city, Socrates’ appeal to an alleged observation about women’s inferiority, and his use of ‘womanly’ as a term of derogation elsewhere.

We look forward to the discussion!

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May 24: Claudia Hogg-Blake

Please join us next Monday, May 24, for a discussion with Claudia Hogg-Blake (University of Chicago) on her paper “Love and Attachment”.

When: Monday, May 24, 09:30-11:00 am CST

Where: Zoom (join mailing list for information)

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May 10: Richard Kim

Please join us next Monday, May 10, for a discussion with Richard Kim (Loyola University Chicago) on his paper “Habituation, Nature, and Sprouts: Aristotle and Mencius on Moral Development”.

When: Monday, May 10, 09:30-11:00 am CST

Where: Zoom (join mailing list for information)

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April 26: Amy Levine

Please join us next Monday, April 26, for a discussion with Amy Levine (University of Chicago) on her paper “Meaning and Waste”.

When: Monday, April 26, 09:30-11:00 am CST

Where: Zoom (join mailing list for information)

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April 23: Anselm Müller

Please join us next Friday, April 23, for a discussion with Anselm Müller (emeritus, University of Trier) on his paper “Involuntary Rationality”.

When: Friday April 23, 03:00-4:30 pm CST (note unusual time!)

Where: Zoom (join mailing list for information)

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March 15: Ben Laurence

Please join us coming Monday, March 15, for a discussion with Ben Laurence (University of Chicago) on his paper “Do Human Rights Have a History?”

When: Monday, March 15, 09:30-11:00am CST

Where: Zoom (join mailing list for information)

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March 8: Benjamin Callard

Join us on the coming Monday, March 8, for a discussion with Ben Callard (University of Chicago) on his paper “The Ethics of Echo Chambers.”

When: Monday, March 8, 09:30-11:00am CST

Where: Zoom (join mailing list for information)

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February 15: Andrew Beddow

Join us coming Monday, February 15, for a discussion with Andrew Beddow (University of Chicago) on his paper “The Organic Theory of the State: An Account and Defense.”

When: Monday, February 15, 09:30-11:00am CST

Where: Zoom (join mailing list for information)

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December 10: Gregory Brown

Join us coming Thursday, December 10, for a discussion with Gregory Brown (University of Chicago) on his paper “The Use of Reason.”

The paper should be read in advance and is available here.

When: Thursday 10, 09:30-11:00am CST

Where: Zoom (join mailing list for information)

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