The Contemporary Period

17.1 Appiah

  • Define cosmopolitanism and cultural relativism.
  • Understand why Appiah thinks cosmopolitanism may help answer the social and ethical questions that arise from the differences among cultures.
  • State and evaluate Appiah’s views on cultural relativism.
  • Explain why Appiah insists that we shouldn’t expect everyone to become cosmopolitan.

17.2 Nussbaum

  • Understand Nussbaum’s principle of equal moral respect for all individuals and illustrate how she applies it to the problem of religious intolerance.
  • Give examples of religious prejudice and fear that have arisen in the United States.
  • Summarize the three ingredients that Nussbaum believes should be part of our approach to religious tolerance and intolerance.

17.3 Blum

  • Know the two beliefs that Blum identifies as essential to racism.
  • Understand why Blum is concerned about the “conceptual inflation” of the words racist and racism.
  • Explain Blum’s three categories of racism.
  • Know why Blum rejects the view of racism as solely systemic.

17.4 King

  • Give an overview of the segregationist South in the 1960s and detail some of its civil rights abuses.
  • Tell the story of Rosa Parks’s courageous stand against racial segregation and discrimination.
  • Review King’s philosophy of nonviolent protest, explaining its key features.

17.5 Chalmers

  • Know how Chalmers defines consciousness.
  • Define the “hard problem” of consciousness.
  • Explain Chalmers’s zombie argument against reductionist accounts of consciousness. That is, explain why he says that if it is logically possibly that his zombie could exist, then physical states must not be essential to conscious experience.

17.6 Gardiner

  • Explain Gardiner’s idea of the “real global environmental tragedy” and why he believes it is mostly an ethical failure.
  • Understand the three “storms” that hinder our ability to behave ethically.
  • Explain the “tyranny of the contemporary” and why it is above all a moral question.

17.7 Derrida and Cixous

  • Define Derrida’s notion of logocentrism.
  • Explain his concept of deconstruction and what deconstructing texts is meant to disclose.
  • Understand the process of dismantling “binary oppositions.”
  • Know what Cixous means by “feminine writing” and why she thinks it’s important.
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