Volume 27 (2019)
A Defense of Cis-Humanism: Humanism for the Anthropocene
by Andrew Fiala
This paper considers connections between discussions of transgender and transhumanism. Using concepts developed in discussions of transgender studies, the paper defines cis-humanism as affirming the human condition albeit with awareness of the complexity of the concept of humanity and humanism. Cis-humanism affirms mortality, finitude, and the natural givenness of life and world—in contrast with the transhuman aspiration to transform and overcome these limitations. The paper connects some of the problems of the Anthropocene to technological hubris and the quest for transcending the human and human nature in a way that is not grounded in the fact of human mortality.
Tired of Coping, Fed-up with Modern Medicine: Why the Long-term Chronically Ill and Disabled Should Have the Option to Die with Dignity
by James A. Metzger
Disability activists aim to create an environment in which disabled people are able to value themselves just as they are, as individuals endowed with extraordinary bodies, exceptional gifts, and unique insight. There are some, however, whose specific type of disease or impairment(s) makes it nearly impossible to reframe illness or disability in positive terms, no matter how much attention is given to social reengineering, legislative reform, or attitudinal modification. Although most disability activists oppose euthanasia, the author explains why a commitment to core humanist moral principles entails offering a dignified means to die to any who, without regard for proximity to death, are nearing the threshold of just how much pain or loss of bodily integrity they can bear.
Ayn Rand on Rights
by Max Hocutt
Ayn Rand’s brilliance as a writer of political manifestos and her deficiencies as a philosophical analyst are both on display in her 1961 essays on rights. She sides with the angels in favoring negative liberty rights, and she deftly identifies the problem of positive welfare rights when she asks “Who is to pay?” However, her dicta on “rights” invoke an undefined “moral law” that is purportedly known by a “reason” that has no acquaintance with empirical facts. As a result, Rand routinely mistakes her political preferences for philosophical principles and lends her authority to common errors about rights.
Refuting the Four Legs of Southern Confederate Memorial Defenders’ Arguments
by J. Edward Hackett and Walter Isaac
This article discuses four loosely related arguments to try to justify the maintenance of Southern Confederate Monuments. These arguments are: The Tradition Argument, The Slippery Slope Argument, The Free Speech Argument, and The Ethics of Instruction Argument. All four arguments are found wanting and in basic denial of the phenomenological reality that these symbols carry in the public sphere. The constituted phenomenological realities of the life world of hate, violence, and terror these objects possess in the lives of Black Americans is evident when we turn to lived-experience.
Friendship after Freud: Reflections on the Death of a Friend and the End of a Friendship
by Jacob L. Goodson
Is there a difference, philosophically,between a friendship that ends due to a death and a friendship that ends because of something other than death? Is it worthwhile to talk about death, divorce, and loss in ethical or moral terms? I provide affirmative answers to both of these questions. I do so by defending the strange thesis statement that Sigmund Freud offers moral, normative, and wise judgments in his 1917 essay “Mourning and Melancholia”about how to respond to the end of a friendship. Freud’s moral, normative, and wise judgments lead to a Freudian corrective to Seneca’s Stoicism. Freud’s articulation of melancholia becomes a moral claim when understood in relation to Immanuel Kant’s reflections on what is required, deontologically, after a friendship ends. I read Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia”as contributing to the tradition of Kant’s deontological reasoning.
Free Will: Hail and Farewell
by James A. Montanye
This essay traces the evolution of the free will concept, from Plato to the present.It examines interpretations offered by theologians, political philosophers, philosophers of mind and consciousness, neuroscientists, evolutionists, legal scholars, and economists. The essay illuminates the concept’s instrumental use as an artifice for manipulating behavioral adaptations to the scarcity of economic resources. Macroeconomic and ngram data reveal these manipulations as having locked Western civilization into centuries of social and economic stagnation.
The Reliability of Reason:What the Skeptics Point Out
by Charles Murn
Skepticism about the compatibility of naturalism and reason reliable at producing true beliefs has taken a number of forms. Some skeptics attack the reliability of all aspects of reason, while others focus on particular human cognitive faculties that are components of reason. I focus in this article on the foundation of that combined philosophical challenge. It consists of the assertion that naturalism considers the objective conditional probability that humans have reliable cognitive faculties to be low or inscrutable. Methodological naturalism demanding justification for beliefs that is truth indicative overcomes the skeptics’ arguments. However, the required analysis of those arguments reveals important aspects of assessing human cognitive faculties that naturalist epistemology must ensure are elucidated sufficiently and rigorously incorporated into its explanation of the capability and reliability of those faculties at producing truth.