Ray and Josh wonder whether groups can be held morally responsible. They explore whether individuals or collectives are to blame for structural problems, Who should be considered responsible for things like climate change and systemic racism?
Roving Philosopher (Seek to 5.40): Holly J McDede explores why environmental lawsuits against corporations, like energy companies, do not succeed very often.
The hosts welcome Marion Smiley, professor of philosophy at Brandeis University, to discuss whether we can ever be responsible for anything except ourselves. Smiley argues that we can. The hosts probe into what makes a group responsible and when exactly an individual member is responsible for the actions of a group they belong to.
They explore the proposition that responsibility exists on a scale, with some group members being more or less responsible than others. Marion notes that individuals who actively oppose their group’s wrong behavior—for example citizens protesting their government’s violence—are not to blame for those groups’ harms, though passive bystanders are. The hosts explore how this criterion might apply to different scenarios and the possibility that individual rights clash with collective responsibilities.
Finally, Smiley and the hosts explore whether the purpose or actions of organizations are what are bad. Smiley then fields questions about whether reparations are owed to Black Americans, and distinguishes between forward-looking and backward-looking collective responsibility in doing. The trio conclude by discussing whether a theory of collective action is needed before we ascribe and debate collective responsibility.
60-Second Philosopher (47.00) Ian Shoales ponders the complexity of who is to blame, concluding everybody and nobody is to blame and that effects have many causes.
Sunday, October 4, 2020 -- 2:02 AM« Après moi le déluge » said
« Après moi le déluge » said Madame de Pompadour to her lover, Louis XV, after his losing the battle of Rossbach. A certain political elite in the US has made it their motto, making statements that benefit them and harm the more vulnerable among us. Take the Senators who were informed of the health crisis to come earlier this year. They stated that COVID wouldn't be disruptive all the while rebalancing their investment portfolios. One example among so many. Why do these Senators believe they are stripped from any responsibility towards their constituents?
Sunday, November 15, 2020 -- 12:36 PMhmm...had to take time to
hmm...had to take time to look up google 'apres moi...' after reading alfredo's comment above...
answer - in short, because humans do a lot of sh-- if we think no one knows...and the more power one has, the greater the temptation to do sh--. the curtain is lifted for any of us only occasionally, thank god. it's not clear how many of our leaders across the board exploit their power in similar or worse ways...even those of us with stellar constructed reputations... it's pretty straightforward human condition madness and filth... god only knows what mother teresa or the dalai lama or jesus himself was up to when they thought no one was watching....
(see also, 'Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely' - dunno the latin)
...but anyway.. really i am writing with a technical question for the philosophy talkers, which is:
Has anybody been tracking the decrease in the 'syllables/second' rate of Merle Kessler since his "Duck's Breath Mystery Theater" days, when the rate was truly phenomenal? Is there a graph somewhere? Tried googling for one but can't find.. Thanks for the help in tracking this statistic down,
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 -- 5:59 PMThis show lost me on
This show lost me on reparations. If any they should all be paid forward. The state does not owe an historical debt based on skin color. Some have profited at the expense of their own race. Would those be asked to pay.? The idea the state could correct history is as flawed as the idea that history can be corrected. It can't.
Germany was made to pay reparations for WWI. Look where that got us.
Let's start with healthcare for all and free education. Let's progress to UBI. That is reparation enough for being human in an inhumane world.
Backward reparations are backward.
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 -- 9:13 PMI was commenting on another
I was commenting on another post by Daniel in the show on hate, that diverges there to reparations, and thought twice about responding there, and would move that comment here, as this show is explicitly discusses reparations.
Here is the comment I responded to ==> https://www.philosophytalk.org/comment/reply/6944/8437
If you don't care to click back to the comment - allow me to summarize.
The post discusses the challenges and complexities of addressing reparations, the potential consequences of failing to do so, and the importance of including the victims of historic injustice in the process of determining reparative measures.
It's is well done but very different than my simple take above, but I think it is worth a reply here. If Daniel replys I think I can make a counter very much in line with what I have said above, but with example and theory. If not, his words are a good read if nothing else.
Here is my response.
You are all about the complexities surrounding the North American slave reparations case. Still, several points require clarification to make your argument more coherent.
1. The term "essential predicate of undesired object-persistence" is unclear in the context of your post. Please explain more precisely how it applies to the reparations case.
2. Please clarify the distinction between compensation and reparation, as these concepts form the backbone of your argument. Elaborating on their specific meanings and implications in this context would help me understand your words, if not your thought.
3. The notion of "obligation-quantity of generated duty-failure" is vague. It would be helpful if you further explain this concept and its relationship to the reparations case.
4. The term "injustice-permission" is not well-defined in your post. Providing a more straightforward definition and elaborating on its role would help.
5. The concept of "determination-demand" is not explicitly explained. How does this relate to the distribution and execution of reparative measures?
6. Lastly, the role of paradox in your argument needs to be clarified; in fact, it doesn't make sense. Can you explain that?
If you address these concerns, you have a good argument. As you may know, I don't entirely agree with you, but the clarifications will help because I differently and would like to get to the bottom of your ideas here.
Let's talk about reparations.
Saturday, March 18, 2023 -- 3:51 PMOn what is your interest in
On what is your interest in North American reparations based? Are you saying that the legitimacy of its legal claim should be ignored because it risks neo-fascist counter-reaction (as per the 2nd paragraph of your 3/10/21 post)?
Sunday, March 19, 2023 -- 2:56 PMDaniel,
I don’t recall exactly my sentiments from 3/10/21, but reading back through, I am currently most interested in the feasibility and fairness of addressing historical injustices through such measures. Focusing on current social programs like healthcare, education, and UBI seems to provide more effective solutions than seeking litigation or legislation based on group identity.
I'm not opposed to legal claims, but I'm unaware of precisely what "North American reparations" are legal or even extant. Some municipalities have budgeted reparations for housing exclusions. I know of one beachfront in California repatriated - but these only make up some North American reparations you might be talking about.
I'm still interested in understanding your perspective on reparations, the specific concepts and terms you mentioned in your original note, and the clarifications above, are still requested. Let's get at this to continue or at least come to terms.
Monday, March 20, 2023 -- 4:16 PMThe legal claim derives from
The legal claim derives from slavery's criminality being retroactively applicable, with the result that the institution loses its legal protections which it had been granted by its former legal status. By inheriting stolen property and other effects of previous criminal action their owner and inheritor is obligated to return it or provide sufficient recompense. The question of whether and to what degree this obligation is legal rather than solely moral is the question of reparations in the slavery case. Reply to your numbered interrogation in the post of 3/15/23 is numbered similarly below:
1) Essential predication by undesirable object-persistence has no relation to the slavery-reparations case. Only if it were objected to could it be so predicated.
2) Distinction between compensation and reparation is technical and has no relation to the argument. If the victim survives, compensation is possible. If not, then reparations replace compensation for the court-remedy.
3) On the failure to perform one's duty which increases quantitatively over time, the reference is to the number of duty-performance failures being equal to the number of individuals who are failing to perform them, not one person failing repeatedly. But the obligation derives from the same thing: If two people witness a crime and one of them leaves the scene, the other's still on the hook for reporting it.
4) Injustice-permission refers to witness inaction.
5) Determination-demand of reparations arises together with translation of its legal justification into the practice of its distribution, --from which, as it turns out, the victim can not be spared. Without it the perpetrator's relevant judgement is insufficient.
6) Speculation that this last point might appear to some as a paradox plays no role in the argument.
Tuesday, March 21, 2023 -- 10:41 PMDaniel,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and clarifications. I am not entirely opposed to the idea, but the devil is in the details. Perhaps we can find common ground by examining contemporary examples of reparative initiatives like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa and the 1619 Project in the United States.
The TRC was established post-apartheid to address the harm suffered by Black South Africans and foster reconciliation between Black and White communities. It provided reparations in various forms, including financial compensation, lost wages, homes, and symbolic gestures like public apologies. In contrast, the 1619 Project aims to reframe the general understanding of slavery and its role in US history. Adapted for K-14 curricula and AP African American Studies programs, the project seeks to acknowledge and address past injustices through education, although it faces considerable pushback. Initiatives like these, which raise public awareness, should precede any policy changes regarding reparations. The harms in our country are nowhere as near as that of Apartheid.
The TRC succeeded in multiple ways, such as fostering reconciliation by allowing individuals to share their stories and recognize past wrongs. Furthermore, the reparations helped alleviate some of the harm endured by Black South Africans, promoting social and economic equality. It's crucial to note that the TRC's reparations were not exclusively financial but also included symbolic gestures addressing Apartheid's moral harms. In the US, however, finding individuals who can genuinely offer such apologies, or victims even who can directly attribute their life concerns to their great great great grandparents (I might have even missed a great there) may be challenging due to generational distance and diverse outcomes. Directing effort and tax dollars towards educational initiatives like the 1619 Project is a better path until more people buy into their privilege and responsibilities.
While reparations can be costly and complex, their potential benefits in promoting reconciliation and addressing past injustices are worth considering. The focus should be on supporting the disadvantaged rather than rectifying past wrongs. Cases like Bruce's Beach in California should be prosecuted, but financial settlements alone might not quell criticisms of reparations as a money grab. Some of those who benefited from slavery have since lost their wealth; how can they be made to pay? Pursuing the Tulsa race massacre case is another practical counter-example, as it, too, is limited to direct victims rather than subsequent generations. Slavery would need to go six times as many generations back.
Given the current political and social climate, addressing reparations is essential. The TRC's example shows that reparations can be a practical and effective method albeit for living victims, for confronting past injustices and fostering reconciliation. The details are different here, and we should consider a healing and constructive approach centered on education, social welfare, and mental health to tackle North American injustices. Those problems are in front of us, even as they are rooted in the past.
We may not agree on everything, but these ideas may offer a path forward. What do you think?
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 -- 5:30 PMYou're putting too much
You're putting too much emphasis on agreement. Under any reparations-law, it couldn't be resisted, and agreement wouldn't matter. In the interest of approaching the slavery case from another one of reparations-obligation, take the necessity of the disposal of depleted uranium within territorial Iraq after the '03 invasion. The question there is who has the responsibility of doing it? Because the victims of the crime should not be responsible for cleaning up its mess, it is the responsibility of the perpetrator. Once the responsible party is identified, it becomes a matter of possible means. The task in the Iraq case has a simple solution: Because no one wants to do it, it must therefore be rotated among those responsible, even to the point of compulsory service or citizen lottery. Could something similar work in the case of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?
Thursday, March 23, 2023 -- 8:13 PMDaniel,
Please share a link or details on the use of compulsory service or citizen lottery to clean up depleted uranium in Iraq.
Saturday, March 25, 2023 -- 1:14 PMThere are two links with
There are two links with which a justification of state compulsion of respective action could not dispense:
1) between liberty-exercise and agent-responsibility, and
2) between international state crime and citizen-complicity.
Saturday, March 25, 2023 -- 5:57 PMI looked for specifics here,
I looked for specifics here, and can't find any online record of this lottery program or compulsory service.
Below are some links I read through:
Sunday, March 26, 2023 -- 2:29 PMYou raise an interesting
You raise an interesting question about how a suggested program for a future time might be found as having already occurred. If one takes independent Lakota statehood, for example, as suggested by Russel Means in 1973 and taken to the U.N. by Lakota envoy Fools Crow, does your analysis indicate that such statehood is not needed because it had already formally existed prior to its forced removal?
Sunday, March 26, 2023 -- 4:18 PMDaniel,
Sorry for the misunderstanding here. What you stated originally was different from what you meant, and I understand from your clarification.
Suppose it is only a hypothetical you are presenting. In that case, it does not help, as ordinary people can not perform the complex task of DU removal whether they are responsible or not, nor is a lottery or compulsive service necessitated by the lack of desire from those responsible. The analogy does not work in the case of the trans-Atlantic slave trade reparations on several other grounds, but these are sufficient. All citizens can pay reparations, and the requirement that reparations be made by lottery or compulsory service is not necessary.
Lakota statehood is a more interesting comparison, but first, let us agree on what I have put forth here.
Monday, March 27, 2023 -- 10:47 AMAs you're well aware, there's
As you're well aware, there's nothing to agree with in what you've said here because there's nothing you've said. Readable is an opinion, that someone else should clean up your mess because it's too complicated for you, and a piece of deliberate nonsense, that because everyone can pay a little bit, no one should pay anything. It's not likely therefore that your contribution would be valued in such a discussion.
Monday, March 27, 2023 -- 6:32 PMDaniel,
I thought as much... very well. If you want to discuss tense or hypothetical statements go for it.
Here is your original statement along with it's implications.
"The task in the Iraq case has a simple solution: Because no one wants to do it, it must therefore be rotated among those responsible, even to the point of compulsory service or citizen lottery." ==> This sentence is in the present tense and describes the situation as it currently exists, with the task in the Iraq case being a problem that needs a simple solution. The sentence suggests a course of action that could be taken to address the problem - rotating the task among those responsible, even if it means compulsory service or a citizen lottery. This phrasing suggests that the situation is ongoing and the proposed solution is a real possibility for addressing the problem.
It could just be plainly stated or put in the past subjunctive==>"If the task in the Iraq case were to have a simple solution, it would have been that because no one wanted to do it, it must therefore be rotated among those responsible, even to the point of compulsory service or citizen lottery." ==> this sentence describes a hypothetical situation. It imagines a scenario where the task in the Iraq case had a simple solution, and suggests that the solution would have been to rotate the task among those responsible. The use of the past subjunctive tense and the word "would" indicate that this scenario did not actually happen, but rather is a hypothetical or contrary-to-fact condition. This phrasing suggests that the proposed solution is not currently being considered or implemented, but rather is a hypothetical idea for addressing the problem.
To have fun with this, you might have also used the future imperfect, which to your clarification might also have been most accurate ==> "The task in the Iraq case will have a simple solution: Because no one will want to do it, it will therefore have to be rotated among those responsible, even to the point of compulsory service or citizen lottery."
In any tense, it is nonsensical as DU clean up would have to be done by qualified technicians.
So much for your more germane example of Lakota statehood. That ship has sailed.
Harold G. Neuman
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 -- 6:20 AMOn TS' remarks: i too have
On TS' remarks: i too have puzzled over paybacks. They seem, on their face, counterintuitive. Why? Because they encourage continuing the practice, which implies there would be no end to it. I wonder if this is one reason why some want to resort to revisionism; to cancel culture, using the currently popular phrase. The notion of equal opportunities and level playing fields might still be tenable if only there were the will to make it so. It appears there has always been the us vs them mentality.
Are we all, somehow wired this way? Or are all of us evolved(jaded?)to a point where, intuitively, we cannot trust anyone anymore? I hope I am just flat wrong here. I would rather be wrong than right.
Harold G. Neuman
Monday, February 21, 2022 -- 6:47 AMMost of us hold some
Most of us hold some culpability We have to make things happen, within the limitations of the serenity prayer. Because when we only watch and wonder, we lack the courage to do better. It can be said that laziness is the father of inaction, sure. But the results are, as a practical matter, the same. At times, it is hard to say whether lack of courage or initiative are at bottom of inaction. Other motives, profit; self-interest, etc., are self-evident and cannot evade scrutiny. There is a thin line, unlike the Supreme Court Justice who said he knew pornography when he saw it. And, ironically, thin lines are the hardest to differentiate.