Brooklyn Public Philosophers: Ask A Philosopher Booth

I’ll be sitting in the Brooklyn Public Philosophers Ask A Philosopher booth at the Union Square Greenmarket this Wednesday, May 17th from 12:00-2:00pm.

Come on by to ask a question, mull over a thought experiment, or talk about what’s going on in the world (and grab a bite to eat at the market, too)!

And be sure to check out the Brooklyn Public Philosophers podcast The Owl, where listeners can submit questions for local philosophers to discuss.

About Brooklyn Public Philosophers:

Brooklyn Public Philosophers is a forum for philosophers in the greater Brooklyn area to discuss their work with a general audience, hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library. Its goal is to raise awareness of the best work on philosophical questions of interest to Brooklynites, and to provide a civil space where Brooklynites can reason together about the philosophical questions that matter to them.

Update:

A photo of Laura at the Ask A Philosopher Booth.

New Publication: “Are Children Capable of Collective Intentionality?” in Childhood and Philosophy

My article, “Are Children Capable of Collective Intentionality?” has just been published in Childhood and Philosophy, Volume 13, No 27. The article is now available on the web, and can be found here: http://www.e-publicacoes.uerj.br/index.php/childhood/article/view/26958

Abstract

The family presents an interesting challenge to many conceptions of collective activity and the makeup of social groups. Social philosophers define social groups as being comprised of individuals who knowingly consent to their group membership or voluntarily act to continue their group membership. This notion of voluntarism that is built into the concept of a social group rests upon a narrow conception of agency that is difficult to extend beyond able-minded autonomous adults. Families, however, are often comprised of members who supposedly lack this developed sense of agency and are therefore considered incapable of consenting to join or remain in a group: infants and small children. So, the family seems to be an odd fit for the designation of social group, even though it is often heralded as a paradigm example of one. In this paper I argue that children and infants are in fact agents who are capable of collective intentionality, especially in the context of the family where they act cooperatively and reciprocally with their caretakers. In doing so, I present an understanding of the family as a social group that has degrees of voluntarism for all members in the forms of joint readiness and joint commitment. I argue for this in three steps. First, I employ Margaret Gilbert’s concepts of joint commitment and joint readiness as a framework for collective intentionality. Second, echoing Carol Gould, I argue that we ought to expand our understanding of agency beyond the ideal case. Third, I draw upon recent research from Michael Tomasello that demonstrate a child’s ability to act cooperatively and reciprocally. Together these steps provide a strong foundation for the claim that children and infants are agents capable of collective intentionality within families.

Upcoming Poster Presentation at the 2017 Pacific APA

I am very happy to announce that I will be presenting a poster of new research at the 2017 Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in Seattle! The poster presentation will take place on Friday, April 14th at the Westin, Seattle.

The poster is titled: “Are Children Capable of Collective Intentionality?”

Information about the conference can be found here: Pacific APA Online

And a program can be found here: 2017 Pacific APA Meeting Program

Upcoming Presentation for the New York Society for Women in Philosophy

I’m delighted to announce that I will be presenting my research for the New York Society for Women in Philosophy! The talk is being held on Tuesday, October 18th at 6:30pm at The Graduate Center, CUNY. More details can be found here: NYSWIP

 

Who Cares? Examining Needs, Care, and Responsibility for a More Caring Version of the State

Abstract

Social and political theories must take seriously the needs that persons have because all persons have needs. Likewise, care and caring activities must be taken equally seriously, as all persons require care throughout their lives to meet their needs when they are unable to do so themselves. I propose that we view needs and their corresponding care activities through a new lens that clarifies the role that the state plays in meeting a majority of the needs of its citizens. I sketch out a taxonomy of needs, and the corresponding caring activities that may successfully meet those needs, as the first step in determining who is responsible to provide care in different contexts. I propose that we think of needs as being either primary or secondary in nature, and that we think of the caring activities that meet these needs as being either direct (or indirect) primary caring activities or as secondary caring activities. I argue that family members are more effective primary caregivers and have a responsibility to perform primary caring activities. Similarly, I argue that the state has a responsibility to perform many secondary caring activities for citizens because of the unique way that secondary needs arise.

Upcoming Presentation at the Long Island Philosophical Society Spring 2016 Conference

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I am happy to announce that I will be presenting new research at the Long Island Philosophical Society Spring 2016 Conference! The conference is being held at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, New York on April 9. The program can be found here: LIPS 2016 Program

Who Cares? Examining Needs, Care, and Responsibility for a More Caring Version of the State

Abstract

Social and political theories must take seriously the needs that persons have because all persons have needs. Likewise, care and caring activities must be taken equally seriously, as all persons require care throughout their lives to meet their needs when they are unable to do so themselves. I propose that we view needs and their corresponding care activities through a new lens that clarifies the role that the state plays in meeting a majority of the needs of its citizens. I sketch out a taxonomy of needs, and the corresponding caring activities that may successfully meet those needs, as the first step in determining who is responsible to provide care in different contexts. I propose that we think of needs as being either primary or secondary in nature, and that we think of the caring activities that meet these needs as being either direct (or indirect) primary caring activities or as secondary caring activities. I argue that family members are more effective primary caregivers and have a responsibility to perform primary caring activities. Similarly, I argue that the state has a responsibility to perform many secondary caring activities for citizens because of the unique way that secondary needs arise.

New Publication: “Childhood, Growth, and Dependency in Liberal Political Philosophy” in Hypatia

5rATM9NcMy article, “Childhood, Growth, and Dependency in Liberal Political Philosophy” has just been published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Volume 31, Issue 1. The article is now available on the web and in print, and can be found here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hypa.12214/abstract

Childhood, Growth, and Dependency in Liberal Political Philosophy

Political philosophy presents a static conception of childhood as a state of lack, a condition where intellectual, physical, and moral capacities are undeveloped. This view, referred to by David Kennedy as the deficit view of childhood, is problematic because it systematically disparages certain universal features of humanity—dependency and growth—and incorrectly characterizes them as features of childhood only. Thus there is a strict separation between childhood and adulthood because adults are characterized as fully autonomous agents who have reached the end of their moral and cognitive development. I argue that this view is mistaken, and limits both the developmental abilities of adults and ongoing moral development within an organized state. I propose that we view dependency as a human condition. By doing so, children and adults form the kind of relationship with one another that encourages the growth and development of our moral sense in both childhood and adulthood.

Read the full article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hypa.12214/full

Upcoming Presentation at the 32nd Annual NASSP Social Philosophy Conference

I am happy to announce that I will be presenting a paper at the 32nd Annual Social Philosophy Conference sponsored by the North American Society for Social Philosophy (NASSP)! The conference is being held at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. My presentation will take place on Friday, July 17th.

The paper is titled: “Civil Service and Education: Changing our View of Dependency.”

The full conference program can be found here.

 

The Social & Political Philosophy Working Group: Spring 2015 Call For Abstracts!

I’m a Co-Chair for the Social & Political Philosophy Working Group. We serve as a forum for the discussion of works-in-progress in any area of social and political philosophy or applied ethics.  We have an open Call For Abstracts for our Spring 2015 Workshop series. Please check it out if you have work you would like to present!

Please see our website for more details: http://sppgroup.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

SPP CFA Spring 2015

Spring 2015 Call For Abstracts If you would like to offer a paper-in-progress for discussion at a Spring 2015 SPP workshop, please submit an abstract (no more than 500 words) to cunysppworkshop@gmail.com by January 31, 2015. If we have more submissions than available workshop spaces, we will prioritize submissions based on diversity of approach and overlap with recent workshops. Submissions for Spring 2015 will automatically be considered for workshops in future semesters.

Upcoming Presentation at the 2014 APA Eastern Division Meeting

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I’m very excited to be a part of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) Symposium at the 2014 Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association. I will be a part of the first IAPC Symposium session on Sunday, December 28th.

My paper, “Children of the State: How the Concept of Childhood Influences Political Philosophy” can be found, along with the other presenters’ papers and full symposium schedule, on the IAPC website.

Information for the symposium can be found below:

Philosophy of Childhood: Exploring the Boundaries

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A Special Symposium of

The Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children

     Constituting two sessions of

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December 28-29 at the Downtown Marriott in Philadelphia, PA

Chaired by Dr. David Kennedy (Montclair State University)