CFP: Metaphilosophy, on Claudia Card

Call for Papers

Criticism and Compassion: The Ethics and Politics of Claudia Card

Special Issue, co-edited by Robin S. Dillon and Armen Marsoobian

Metaphilosophy seeks submissions for a special issue on the philosophical work and influence of Claudia Card.
Deadline for submissions: May 15, 2016. Anticipated publication date: October 2016.

Claudia Card, who was the Emma Goldman (WARF) Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison until her untimely death in September 2015, is perhaps best well-known for her influential work in feminist philosophy and her monographs on evil, Confronting Evils: Terrorism, Torture, Genocide (Cambridge 2010) and The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil (Oxford 2002). She also published nearly 150 articles and reviews, in addition to delivering nearly 250 lectures, on a wide variety of topics in normative ethical theory, environmental ethics, theories of justice and of punishment and mercy, and the ethics of Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. Her work in feminist philosophy includes pioneering essays and a monograph on lesbian ethics (Lesbian Choices (Columbia 1995); influential essays and a monograph on moral agency, character, and moral luck in circumstances of oppression (The Unnatural Lottery: Character and Moral Luck (Temple 1996); as well as essays on separatism, domestic violence and lesbian battering, rape as a form of terrorism, pitfalls of mothering and marriage, homophobic military codes, the evils of closeting, and legacies of oppression. In addition to the monographs on evil, she also published papers on terrorism, genocide, hate crimes, racist violence, torture, gray zones of complicity, and possibilities for responding to evils without perpetuating them and for dismantling evils in everyday life. She edited or co-edited volumes on feminist ethics and politics, Simone de Beauvoir, genocide, and religious commitment and salvation.

In addition to her influence through her publications, Claudia Card was also a gifted and beloved teacher and mentor who, for almost 50 years at UW-Madison, nurtured students interests and passion for philosophy and directed more than 20 Ph.D. theses, in addition to serving on dozens of other dissertation committees.

We encourage submissions that center any aspect of Claudia Card’s philosophical work and/or influence. Essays should be around 8000 words in length and should be accompanied by abstracts of no more than 200 words. Please follow the Author Guidelines as detailed on the Metaphilosophy homepage. Electronic submissions (by e-mail) are preferred.

Please send submissions by May 15, 2016 to

Department of Philosophy
Southern Connecticut State University
New Haven, CT 06515, USA
Telephone: (203) 392 6792
Fax: (203) 392 6338
Email: metaphil at


Open letter in support of George Yancy

On December 24, our valued colleague George Yancy published a piece in the New York Times Stone column. Its title was “Dear White America”. It was the culmination of 19 interviews with distinguished thinkers on the subject of race. The interview series brought philosophers into discourse with real time political events, as a new social movement took form bringing international attention to the racial injustice of the US criminal justice system.


Yancy’s column resulted in a storm of hate mail and calls directed his way. The emails he received included violent threats, such as “Someone needs to put a boot up your ass and knock your fucking head off your shoulders,” and included threats to his family. These messages were filled with racial invective, and meant to frighten and intimidate him into silence.


Social movements by their nature raise controversies that go to the heart of a society, whether they are social movements for women’s suffrage, or against abortion. They seek, by their nature, fundamental normative change. Discussing them therefore elicits strong emotions. But we will have no way to digest either their merits or their excesses if we do not have spaces to discuss social movements in a reasoned and respectful way,. George Yancy’s interviews provided a way for philosophers to do this. His culminating column is a call for white America to face the structural facts of injustice, and to recognize the ways individual attitudes are shaped by and contribute to the racism in our society.


In the media, scientific “experts” are regularly brought to bear on public debate. But scientific experts do not play the role of philosophers; the role of scientific expertise is often to put an end to debate, rather than incite it. Since its inception, the Stone has not shied away from fundamental moral and political controversy. Its participants do not pretend to be experts who resolve questions once and for all, but rather to incite debate and challenge. By bringing philosophers into public engagement, the Stone attempts to add something novel to American media engagement with events.


Yancy’s interview series embodies the Stone’s founding ideal: open philosophical discourse and debate about the challenging moral and political struggles of our day. Yancy’s “Dear White America” piece was his own personal message, lessons learned during the process of navigating almost two dozen philosophers through an engagement with what may very well turn out to be an iconic and historically important social movement.


Radical social movements in their time are always viewed as disturbances of the moral order. It is only retrospectively that social movements are viewed as speaking truth to power in ways that make moral sense. In the United States, for example, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. is universally celebrated, including by citizens who share the ideology of those who despised him in his lifetime. This may be used as evidence of their success. But given persisting failures of equality in the United States, a more plausible explanation is that they have been assimilated into a rhetoric that views the polity as ever more just, the society progressively more fair and decent. The fact that social movements make retrospective moral sense does not mean that the practices that accompany them change in materially significant ways.


We can see in the example of the response to Yancy, that the Black Lives Matter too is viewed by some as a disturbance of the fundamental moral order, in much the same way as the Civil Rights Movement was. That the reaction to Yancy’s challenge has taken the form of vicious personal racism is, one may think, good evidence of the need for the message and the movement.


But one need not endorse the aims and goals of the Black Lives Matter movement in order to deplore the reaction to Yancy’s piece. We hold that whatever side one takes on this or other debates, free philosophical discussions on matters of profound social and political importance is a central function of the Stone. We authors of the Stone believe that discussions of the sort we have in its pages are a vital component of a healthy democracy. We stand together in support of our colleague George Yancy, and strongly repudiate these attempts to silence him.


Sincerely yours,

Read More »

CFA: Philosophy of ‘Race’ and Racism, University of Oxford, 27-29 June 2016

CFP: Reconsidering the Philosophical Canon, Duquesne University, April 23rd 2016

Reconsidering the Philosophical Canon

Duquesne University

April 23, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Penelope Deutscher, Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University

Duquesne Women in Philosophy (D-WiP) invite philosophical papers on the question of reconsidering the philosophical canon. Given the recent discussions on the limitations of the philosophical canon, we aim to facilitate a discussion on the future directions of philosophy, how we may reconsider our reading of the history of philosophy and the question of canonicity. Papers are welcome from historical perspectives as well as from within contemporary philosophical discourse. We invite abstract submissions of maximum 500 words to by March 7, 2016. Allotted presentation time will be 20 minutes.

Possible areas of exploration include:

  • women in the history of philosophy
  • philosophy done from minority perspective in the history of philosophy
  • intersection of race and gender in the history of philosophy
  • attempts in contemporary philosophy of reformulating the North American and European philosophical canon
  • historical or critical approaches to the modernity in terms of canonization of philosophical
  • feminist writings on the philosophical canon
  • problems of race and racism in Modern philosophy

Why young women are less enthusiastic about Hillary: One account

The following is from a column in the NY Times by a 32 year old female lawyer, Jill Filipovic. Her account makes sense to me, in part because I’ve seen a similar account in another context. Bright young female scientists will often, some analyses have said, not realize how gender biased their field is until around the time they go up for tenure.  By then the exclusion of women is much more obvious, in part because they are becoming victims.

A number of people are quoted in the article, and it seems to me some wise things are said. The whole thing is very worth reading, but some snippets may give you the sense of a major argument in “Why Sexism at the Office Makes Women Love Hillary Clinton:”

Even for women active in feminist causes in college, as I was a dozen years ago, [some time in employment] can be a rude awakening. As a young lawyer, one of the first things I noticed about department meetings at my law firm was not just the dearth of female partners, but that one of the few female partners always seemed to be in charge of ordering lunch. I listened as some of my male colleagues opined on the need to marry a woman who would stay home with the children — that wasn’t sexist, they insisted, because it wasn’t that they thought only women should stay home; it was just that somebody had to, and the years in which they planned on having children would be crucial ones for their own careers.

I saw that the older white, male partners who mentored the younger white, male associates were able to work long days and excel professionally precisely because their stay-at-home wives took care of everything else; I saw that virtually none of the female partners had a similar setup.

In jobs that followed, managers would remark that they wanted “more women” and proceed to reject qualified candidates. (Similar dynamics took place with minority candidates.) There were always reasons — not the right cultural fit, not the right experience, a phenomenon of unintentional sexism now well documented in controlled studies. I watched as men with little or irrelevant experience were hired and promoted, because they had such great ideas, or they fit in better. “We want a woman,” the conclusion seemed to be, “just not this woman.”

A telling anecdote:

“A lot of the women I was friends with in college would have never called themselves feminists, but now that we’ve been in the workplace for 10 years, a lot has changed and they’re becoming more radical,” said Aminatou Sow, a digital strategist and a founder of a support network for women in technology called Tech LadyMafia. They realize, she said, “that the work world and the world at large remains a place that’s built by men and for men.”

That’s part of what makes Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy so compelling for Ms. Sow. “I pray to God that one day we can field a female Bernie Sanders candidate, some disheveled lady yelling, and the country will seriously consider her,” she said. “But nothing in our culture indicates to me that that’s remotely possible right now.”

Male students underrate female students

From press release about an article in PLOS ONE

Female college students are more likely to abandon studies in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines than their male classmates, and new research from the University of Washington suggests that those male peers may play a key role in undermining their confidence.

Published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, the study* found that males enrolled in undergraduate biology classes consistently ranked their male classmates as more knowledgeable about course content, even over better-performing female students.

The over-ranking equated to males ranking their male peers smarter by three-quarters of a GPA point* than their equally-performing female classmates, showing what researchers say amounts to a clear and consistent gender bias. Female students, on the other hand, repeatedly showed no significant bias in whom they picked as knowledgeable.

Dialogues on disability – Jesse Prinz

Shelley Tremain’s excellent series of interviews continues, over at Discrimination and Disadvantage. Today, she talks to Jesse Prinz about the urban ghetto, gentrification, culture, social cognition, art, depression, and much, much more.

My guest today is Jesse Prinz. Jesse teaches at the City University of New York, Graduate Center, where he is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Committee on Interdisciplinary Science Studies. His research interests include emotions, moral psychology, social identity, classification, and aesthetics and emphasize the historical, social, and cultural factors that influence how we act and think. Jesse’s favorite recreational activities revolve around art, including watching films, going to galleries, writing an art blog, and studying art history.

You can read the whole piece here.

Thanks to Shelley and Jesse for a fascinating piece!