Call For Papers
“Giving for Global Poverty Relief: Ethical and Empirical Dimensions”
Stanford University, April 8th-9th, 2015
The Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, Stanford University
Peter Singer (Princeton University and University of Melbourne)
It is widely acknowledged that global poverty is a matter of great moral concern, and that efforts to alleviate it ought to be pursued. But there is a great deal of disagreement about a range of ethical and empirical issues concerning aid. The purpose of this conference is to explore these issues and to foster ongoing discussion and collaboration.
The American Section of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (AMINTAPHIL) will award prizes to four early career scholars who submit the best papers for the World Congress of the International Society for the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR), to be held in Washington, D.C., from 27 July to 1 August in 2015. The writer of each winning paper will receive a $750 cash award. For the purpose of this prize competition, an ‘early career scholar’ includes any scholar who doesn’t currently (in AY 2014/15) hold a tenured position.
Those who wish to apply for the prize should submit a paper, prepared for anonymous review, of no more than 5500 words along with an abstract of no more than 400 words to the Executive Director, Ann Cudd. Applicants should also submit their 400 word abstracts to the IVR program committee: firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants must be members of AMINTAPHIL to be eligible for the award. Membership rates currently begin at $30, for a two-year term. You may join AMINTAHIL here.
I am genuinely, truly honored by Harry Brighouse’s comments on the last chapter of my book. Brighouse is one of philosophy’s great theorists of education, and I learned a lot from his remarks. Brighouse’s core worry is that my chapter on religion and public education really has very little to say about the interests of children. And isn’t that an odd oversight on my part?
If I were in the business of offering a general account of the justification of educational institutions, then that would be a severe problem. But given the issues I’m focused on, I think things are more complicated. For starters, within public reason, when we speak of the public justification of laws, it is hard to know how to fit children into that scheme in any direct way. What are children’s’ reasons? And how do we publicly justify law to them?
I disagree with a good deal in Chapter 7 of Kevin’s book. In fact, I am extremely sympathetic with the overall project of de-privatizing religious reasons: like Kevin I want a liberalism, and more importantly a polity, in which faith traditions engage and are engaged, in politics on a basis of mutual respect. So the disagreement came as a relief, because there is nothing worse than being assigned commentary on something you agree with. Tthe kind of schooling system I would like to see is considerably different both from the one he rejects and the one he defends in very brief sketch form. This has the inconvenient consequence that engaging and explaining every disagreement would take many more pages than a blog post bears; the reader will be relieved that I am restricting myself to a couple of thousand words, and am willing to take the risk of being misunderstood (and to subject Kevin to that risk – so, if something I attribute to him seems in any way wrong, please assume the error is mine not his!!).
American public schooling is currently arranged roughly as follows: every child is required to have some formal schooling up to age 16 or 18 (depending on the state), and common schools which purportedly promote a common civic identity are provided free at the point of delivery.  Parents can legally refrain from sending their children to such schools, and send them, instead, to private schools which are very lightly regulated, and are permitted to foster sectarian identities (in practice the vast majority of children in private schools attend religious schools); they can also provide homeschooling which is, in most states, even more lightly regulated than private schooling.
Just a reminder to all that I’m editing an issue of the Monist, on Trust and Democracy, to be published in January 2016. Submissions due January 2015. Here’s the call:
The role of trust in democracies is typically taken for granted: democracies are successful if and only if they are underpinned by widespread trust relations among their citizens. When citizens trust each other, and when they trust their political leaders, citizens will voluntarily comply with the rules and regulations that govern their lives; in other words, they will cooperate to bring about the benefits typically attributed to living under democratic rule. One measure of widespread trust is the willingness of citizens to participate in civil society organizations where they learn to cooperate and therefore to trust others. This special issue of The Monist will focus on the relationship between trust and democracy, for example as outlined by scholars such as Robert Putnam, Pierre Rosanvallon, and Mark Warren. Contributors are asked to focus on questions including but not limited to the following: Is trust essential to democracy? Is trust the right concept with which to explain effective democratic performance, or are other factors (for example, social capital) better suited to do so? How does trust enable democracy to function?
Apologies for the delay in posting my reply to Chad’s really rich comments on Chapter 6 of my book. I decided to delay until after Thanksgiving, as I thought people might be more likely to read the post. But Chad’s arguments were also sufficiently challenging that it took me awhile to figure out how to respond, and I’m not entirely happy with my responses at the moment.
I’ll address Chad’s concerns about judicial restraint, legislative restraint, my general approach to religious accommodation and my take on key accommodation-related court cases in that order.
I. On Judicial Restraint