We are pleased to announce our next Ethics discussion on Chike Jeffers's new article, "The Cultural Theory of Race: Yet Another Look at Du Bois's 'The Conservation of Races." Jeffers is an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. The article is available open access here. Tommie Shelby, professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard, is kicking off the discussion with a critical precis of Jeffers's article. Here now is Tommie Shelby:
Jeffers’s article is rich, subtle, provocative, and carefully argued. It makes
contributions to a number of related debates within what has come to be called
the philosophy of race. Jeffers offers a fresh interpretation of Du Bois’s
influential essay “The Conservation of Races” (1897) and helpfully situates his
reading within the context of leading commentaries on that piece. Extracting
insights from Du Bois, he defends a cultural theory of the meaning of “race” that
highlights the cultural dimensions of racism. And he stakes out a position on
the ethics of resistance to racism, calling for the conservation of racial
identities now and in the imagined postracist future.
If you are a contributor whose first name starts with "K" or "L," it's your special month, and we encourage you to post something. Check the calendar of events to make sure you won't be posting on top of some other planned event. Remember, we are happy to see more informal blogging, so feel free to let that half-baked idea rip!
This is the 1000th post on PEA Soup—a milestone
that seems a good occasion for reflection on the blog. We would welcome fond
memories of past discussions on the Soup or suggestions for how to improve it.
As the newcomer to Soup, I cannot give enough shout outs to the Fantastic 4
that created and sustained it for its first 9 years: Dan Boisvert, Josh Glasgow,
Doug Portmore, and David Shoemaker. Thanks guys—all of us who have benefitted
from the Soup owe you.
The blog is doing well. We are now averaging over 1000
visits a day. And there are a variety of new initiatives that we are excited
about that are only just starting up. We have significantly expanded the
excellent journals we are partnered with, started up the Featured Philosopher
series, and encouraged our contributors to post a new thread at least once a
year. As you can already see, the blog is becoming more active and there will
be more posts than ever before.
Just a quick note to point out the new "Calendar of Events" feature on PEA Soup, with the link in the banner above. It will keep you informed of forthcoming events, e.g., the Featured Philosophers scheduled to appear (several are already scheduled) and the various journal discussions. This will better enable you to plan your life around the Soup.
So pleased to be welcoming Avia Pasternak officially as a contributor (and associate editor) to PEA Soup! Avia is a lecturer in political theory in the Department of Government at University of Essex, working on, among other things, collective responsibility and the relation between global justice and democratic theory.
In our last post, we mentioned our partnerships with a variety of excellent journals publishing new work in ethics and political philosophy. In this post, we want to explain ways in which we will try to push the blog to expand in a more informal direction as well, capturing again some of that old time bloggy fun we used to have. We have two proposals.
First off, we (Daves Sobel and Shoemaker) are happy and excited to have received the baton from Dan Boisvert, Josh Glasgow, and Doug Portmore to co-edit PEA Soup for the indefinite future. Thanks so much to D, J, and D for their excellent contributions to the philosophical community via the construction and caretaking of the blog for well-nigh 9 years. We hope not to despoil their legacy. But we aim higher than non-despoilage; we also have several ideas for ways of energizing the blog and expanding its reach, a few of which we will explain in this and a subsequent post.
This is a call for
abstracts for the first annual Workshop
for Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy to be held Oct. 17-20, 2013 in
Tucson, AZ at the Westward Inn Hotel and Resort. Abstracts in all areas of
Political Philosophy are welcome.
submit an abstract, you must first go to the above web page and register. Once
your registration is accepted, you will be able to login at that page and
upload an abstract. Abstracts should not
be e-mailed to the editors. Abstracts of between 250-500 words are due no
later than April 15th . Submission of an abstract will be
taken to imply that the paper is not under submission for publication elsewhere
as well as implying an agreement to include the paper in the resulting volume
of Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy,
if accepted. There is a limit of one submission per person. We expect to be
able to inform those whose papers have been accepted no later than May 15th,
The authors of all accepted abstracts
will be expected to provide drafts of their essays for distribution to the workshop’s
attendees three weeks prior to the workshop, present their ideas at the workshop,
and submit the paper for possible inclusion into the inaugural volume of Oxford
Studies in Political Philosophy by
January 15th, 2014. It is important to note, however, that acceptance
of an abstract for the workshop in no way guarantees that the paper will be
accepted for publication.
workshop is free and open to the public. We regret that we are unable to
provide any financial support for those whose abstracts are accepted
Hope to see you in Tucson,
David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne, and Steve Wall (editors)
Previously I have argued here (and here) that the Self-Ownership views associated with left and right-libertarianism have difficulties stemming from their failure to adequately differentiate serious from unimportant property rights infringements. The self-ownership libertarian (the only kind of libertarian I am here discussing) tends to conclude that we enjoy very strong protection against paternalism or infringing our property rights for the sake of the greater good of others. They tend to reach these conclusions by supposing that our property rights provide strong (if not absolute) protection even against infringements that involve only small or trivial harm to the person whose rights are infringed. This presupposition is what licenses the inference that such actions are quite generally wrong without an investigation into the size of the harm that would be caused by the infringement.
But such powerful protections would make impermissible most pollution or fires as these things cross the border of other people’s property, e.g. their lungs, without permission. I argued earlier (following Nozick and Railton), that when we see this, we see that the above simple path from self-ownership to a vindication of traditional libertarian conclusions is unpromising. Thus the path from self-ownership to traditional libertarian conclusions needs to become more complicated if it is to be plausible.
One obvious way to respond to the challenge would be to distinguish between important property rights and relatively trivial ones and be willing to sell violations of the less important property rights relatively cheaply for social good. That is, the view might provide a theory of value that explains why some property rights are more significant than others by showing that some protect more valuable things and others protect only trivial things.