Monthly Archives: October 2016

Akwugo Emejulu – Women of Colour’s Agency and White Ignorance: Thinking through Erasure and Resistance

Political Theory Research Group series 2016/17: 26 October

Kara Walker - A Subtlety (source: metacynic on Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

Kara Walker – A Subtlety (source: metacynic on Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

Akwugo Emejulu provided a chapter for discussion from her forthcoming book on the effects of austerity on minority women in France and Britain. In this chapter she, together with her co-author Leah Bassel, sets out the ways in which notions of political racelessness reproduce and legitimate violent erasure and exclusion of minority women from the European polity. Of particular concern is the role the white European left plays in perpetuating political racelessness to the detriment of such excluded groups. The chapter also reflects on how minority women can respond to these European commitments that have enabled post-colonial amnesia and white ignorance.

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Christina Dineen – Needs and the Demands of Justice

This is a write-up of the weekly meeting of the Political Theory Research Group, 19th October

jakarta_slumhome_2A Jakarta Slum (Credit Jonathon McIntosh (CC BY 2.0))

Christina presented a draft of the final chapter of her PhD, ‘Need and the Demands of Justice’. What is need, and what kind of moral obligations does it place on us? Christina argues that agents with the ability to meliorate the existentially urgent needs of humans have a duty to help, up to the threshold of sacrificing things of significant cost to themselves. Even agents without that ability, however, have a duty to respond to the existentially urgent needs of others, such that they acknowledge the gravity of their plight. This chapter focuses upon the concrete nature and extent of those duties. In order for agents to effectively discharge their duties in the face of an immensely complicated picture of global suffering, Christina argues that agents have a duty of coordination. This permits the organisation of a division of labour according to a strategic plan that identifies high priority areas. In many ways, this is a vision with an affinity to the research and organisation of ‘effective altruism’, scaled-up to the level of global institutional coordination. Christina emphasises that responsive actions should be attentive to context, focus on net impact, and undergo iterative learning. She also defends a pro tanto duty of enforceability in which states are licensed to enforce a system of coordinated, global harm-reduction.

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Elizabeth Cripps – Justice, Integrity and the Green Parenting Duty

Political Theory Research Group series 2016/17: 12 October

Source: Vinoth Chandar (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Source: Vinoth Chandar (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This week we had the pleasure of discussing Dr Elizabeth Cripps’ paper, which introduced the idea of a “green parenting duty” as a requirement of climate justice and of respecting one’s child as a future moral agent. The work is to be presented later this month at the Aristotelian Society.

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Gisli Vogler – Margaret Archer, Hannah Arendt, and the Humanising Project of Reflective Judgement in Late Modernity

This is a write-up of the meeting of the Political Theory Research Group, 5th October 2016

Hannah Arendt Photo: Saibo

Hannah Arendt
Photo: Saibo

For many, the modern predicament is defined by our epistemological inability to formulate absolutist ethical criteria, and our practical inability to bring about a political consensus in their absence. In this paper, Vogler contends that a suitably reflexive form of judgement, augmented in the social world that all humans share with one another, provides one compelling escape route. In making this argument, he calls for the improbable meeting of two disparate figures: Hannah Arendt and Margaret Archer. For Arendt, the traditions which once anchored judgement have fragmented, leaving a gaping lacuna into which the dehumanising tendencies of the first half of the twentieth century stepped. In this situation, our ‘common sense’ – the way in which judgement transcends individuals to find intersubjective validity, forming a shared universe through which politics can be negotiated – has to be resuscitated without succumbing to either thoughtlessness (Eichmann) or absolutism (Plato). The solution, Arendt argues, is to cultivate a reflexive way of thinking. First, through a disinterested perspective which enables us to consider issues independent of our immediate needs. Second, through enlarging our mentality, so that we are able to ‘go visiting’ and imagine the perspectives of others.

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Maximilian Jaede – Thomas Hobbes’s Proto-Liberal Conception of Peace

Political Theory Research Group series 2016/17: 28 September

Thomas Hobbes Credit: Skara kommun (CC BY 2.0)

Thomas Hobbes (credit: Skara kommun (CC BY 2.0))

Maximillian Jaede’s paper “Thomas Hobbes’s Proto-Liberal Conception of Peace” is an introductory chapter to a larger book project of the same title. In the chapter, he argues that there are more points of convergence between Hobbesian and liberal conceptions of peace than we might think. Indeed, although ‘Hobbesian realism’ and ‘liberalism’ are often characterised as rivals, a Hobbesian vision of peace is best seen as proto-liberal.

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