Carol Gilligan articulates an ethics of care framework that suggests an alternative model to the widely understood and used ethics of justice framework. In this essay, Chloe Davies aims to link women’s use of this care framework to their experience of injustice in public discourse in the West, arguing that the general public’s lack of awareness of an ethics of care framework explains some of the hermeneutical injustices suffered by women in public discourse. Chloe contends that this particular argument allows us to articulate the current limitations of projects of equality in discursive spaces and the possible steps that could be taken to move towards a genuine equality.
This essay poses the question “if slurs and their neutral correlates are both used to describe the same referent, why is one term considered harmful and the other not?” Ruby Allen argues that while slurs may have the same referent as their neutral correlates, they cannot have the same meaning. This is because slurs are created with the intent to discriminate and threaten the group being described, while neutral correlates simply classify and describe such groups. Ruby uses the terms “lesbian” and “dyke” to illustrate this point: while both words refer to the same group of people, their meanings are drastically and intrinsically different. This example is analysed using Christopher Hom’s “combinatorial externalism” and Luvell Anderson’s “deflationary theory”.
In this essay, Luke Gavin discusses Descartes’s foundationalism with respect to the indubitability of foundational ideas, offering a scenario where conceivable doubt might be placed on awareness of one’s mental states (one of the foundational beliefs). Luke responds to an objection that offers immediate acquaintance of mental states as a reason for privileging these beliefs on the basis of the origin of the mental/sensory apparatus.
Comedians are constantly scrutinised for the kinds of jokes they tell, as some jokes are perceived as derogatory, offensive, and even harmful. However, many comedians argue that these condemnations are unwarranted. After all, for them and many others, jokes are just jokes. Is there anything to the argument that “jokes are just jokes” and that jokes are, therefore, exempt from questions of morality? That is, is there something about the form of jokes–their structure–which makes them exempt from having moral implications? Is it ever ethically wrong to laugh at or tell a joke? In this essay, Fraser Gray examines these questions from the perspective of Henri Bergson’s theory of humour, arguing that a certain sub-set of jokes that trade in racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, or other such attitudes are morally wrong to tell and laugh at.
Immanuel Kant develops a philosophy that values human freedom and provides an account of citizenship that remains relevant today. In this essay, Lily Elston-Leadbetter argues that the edifice of citizenship is fundamentally based on structural violence which excludes women and propertyless workers by delegitimising their labour. The limitations of Kant’s account of citizenship will be examined with specific emphasis on domestic labour, refuting his claim that birth is not a limiting factor to citizenship and revealing how the implicit structural violence of his theory has continued into the present.
Luce Irigaray is a well-known critic of phallocentrism in the Western philosophical tradition, as well as an advocate of a new culture or philosophy which respects the specificity of the feminine. In this essay, David Fan argues that for Irigaray, the question of sexual difference is the foundation from which philosophy can be radically transformed. This essay examines how Irigaray reimagines philosophy as an intersubjective wisdom of love, through her construction of a culture of “Two.”
In this essay, Andrew Millar explores Simone de Beauvoir’s re-configuration of the Other from traditional Sartrean existentialist notions of the Other, specifically focusing on her thesis of Woman as Other. Andrew highlights that Beauvoir’s thesis is an essential amendment to existentialist conceptions of Otherness in the way that she centres lived sexual experience in her ontology. Additionally, Andrew explores Beauvoir’s project of “authentic love” as a way of living harmoniously with Otherness by returning to the concept of a Heideggerian Mitsein as a means of dissolving an Otherness based in conflict.
In this essay, Conor Jedam interrogates Martin Heidegger’s theory of art as it appears in his essay, originally published in 1950, “The Origin of the Work of Art”. Conor explains Heidegger’s phenomenological analysis of artwork which reveals art as “truth of beings setting itself to work,” meaning that artworks disclose the particular Being of beings through the necessary conflict between world and earth. Then, through examining Heidegger’s own examples of Vincent van Gogh’s painting of shoes and the Greek temple, Conor criticises Heidegger’s account and argues instead that the coming forth of world in art discloses some truth of the viewer’s Being.
This piece is on G.W.F. Hegel’s classification of art into three categories (the Symbolic, Classical, and Romantic), a system of classification which Hegel had originally understood as a historical process whose end we had reached. Nicholas Desjardins revises this view, arguing that while Hegel’s system is still interesting and relevant to how we understand art today, it should be seen as a process that, far from having ended, is constantly at work on three different levels (the cultural, societal and individual). In this essay’s formulation, Hegel’s three categories of art work together to firstly stimulate wonder; secondly, provide grand, all-encompassing ideals; and then finally, challenge those ideals and provoke continuous reflection.
In this essay, Fraser Gray questions the object-status of nature. They analyse the position raised by philosopher Timothy Morton who argues that we should reject viewing Nature on purely conceptual terms because of the way in which it reduces Nature to its aesthetic value. In agreement with Morton, Fraser highlights through Walter Benjamin’s idea of the aestheticisation of politics how the conceptualisation of Nature on aesthetic terms becomes problematic in the political landscape.
Civil disobedience is an increasingly popular tactic for environmental activists. This form of activism is especially hard to justify in liberal democracies. In this essay, Oscar Delaney examines how civil disobedience may upset a fair political compromise between competing interests, transgress our implied consent to be governed through our participation in electoral democracy, or be unacceptable in the face of less antagonistic alternatives. Despite these factors, Oscar argues that the urgency of our ecological crises and the fraught nature of our democracy justify extra-legal environmental activism.
In this essay, Rebeka Abey proposes that the “situation of woman” described by Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex—the situation where femininity is seen as an appendage to human nature, subordinate to the masculine, and antithetical to expressions of individual transcendence—is the result of deep-rooted western religious and philosophical beliefs. These beliefs include the Christian belief in woman’s required submission to man and the perversity of female power, as well as the overlapping philosophical dichotomies of masculinity/femininity, rationality/irrationality, the master-slave dialectic, and the divine and Absolute human/Other dualism.
This essay reconstructs and responds to Frank Jackson’s argument that conscious experiences involve non-physical properties, a concept referred to as “qualia.” Ruby Allen argues that physicalists wrongly deny the qualia of phenomenal experiences because they misrepresent the distinction between “knowing-that” and “knowing-how.” Ruby consequently proposes that our conceptualisation of consciousness must be differentiated into two distinct levels: phenomenal consciousness and access-consciousness.
In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir engages with G.W.F. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic in her discussion of woman’s alterity in relation to man. Critics claim, however, that her approach is problematic. Contrary to this view, David Fan argues that Beauvoir strategically rethinks Hegel’s philosophical framework in order to account for the possibility of intersubjective collaboration and respect for sexual difference.
This essay examines Immanuel Kant’s Doctrine of Right which states that it is contradictory for citizens to attempt revolution against the state. Considering the work of Charles W. Mills and Frantz Fanon, Jordan Ross argues that Kant misses the racial contract that presupposes the social contract, thus making the “rightful condition” deceitful.
This essay identifies and interrogates the myriad interconnected forms of colonialist oppression that Emily Byrnes argues are the root cause of anthropogenic climate change. These forms of oppression arise from the hierarchical reason-nature dualisms underlying the fundamental structure of Western civilisation. From this standpoint, Emily will argue that the liberation of all Indigenous peoples and lands is absolutely necessary for bringing about an end to the environmental devastation which has catapulted us into our current climate crisis. Given recent events surrounding Indigenous Australian campaigns for independence and COP26, this article is both timely in a political sense and it is highly relevant to the rapidly growing field of environmental philosophy.