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Entries Tagged as 'Sociology'

Harrassment, Racism, & “Harmless Torturers”

October 30th, 2014 · 4 Comments

One of the more useful thought experiments I’ve encountered in philosophy, because it seems to apply to so many situations, is Derek Parfit’s “Harmless Torturers,” from his celebrated book Reasons and Persons: The Harmless Torturers. In the Bad Old Days, each torturer inflicted severe pain on one victim. Things have now changed. Each of the […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Language and Literature · Sexual Politics · Sociology

Discriminating Between Discriminations

February 27th, 2014 · 30 Comments

Like most of my friends, I think Arizona governor Jan Brewer was probably right to veto SB 1062, which as Reason‘s J.D. Tucille writes, was less a “blow against big government” than a “homophobic stunt” designed to signal official approval of anti-gay animus, while creating a special class of associational rights for people who justify […]

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Tags: Sexual Politics · Sociology

Men Did Invent the Internet (and That’s a Huge Problem)

June 5th, 2012 · 43 Comments

Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin recently unleashed some righteous fury on the “steaming turd of an opening line in David Streitfeld’s otherwise serviceable New York Times piece about [...] gender discrimination in Silicon Valley.” The offending line: “Men invented the Internet.” The thing is—and hold the rotten fruit, I’m going somewhere with this—that’s actually pretty accurate. […]

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Tags: Sociology · Tech and Tech Policy

Does Early Childbearing Affect Poverty?

May 15th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Matt Yglesias points to recent research questioning the oft-asserted link between early childbearing and later poverty: Kearney and Levine used data on miscarriages to isolate the impact of giving birth from background characteristics that may contribute to a decision to give birth. When used this way as a statistical control, the negative consequences of teen […]

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Tags: Sociology

The Psychological Prerequisites of Punditry

May 3rd, 2012 · 14 Comments

There’s a widespread sense—of debatable historical accuracy, but widespread all the same—that we’re living in an era of especially pronounced political polarization, with a correspondingly poor ratio of tribal slogan slinging to meaningful democratic deliberation.  One possible explanation for this is that the massive explosion of our media ecosystem makes it increasingly possible for us […]

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Tags: Sociology

Trayvon Martin and the Moral Clarity Hypothesis

March 27th, 2012 · 16 Comments

Sanford police are pushing back in the face of public criticism, saying that witnesses have corroborated George Zimmerman’s account of his fatal encounter with Trayvon Martin. Given how many salient facts about the case seem to have been missed in the initial investigation—Zimmerman’s history of arrests for violence, the failure to test the admitted shooter […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Law · Sociology

And May the Demographic Odds Be Ever in Your Favor. Or Not.

March 26th, 2012 · 17 Comments

The weekend, a depressing number of supposed Hunger Games fans expressed attitudes ranging from surprise to undisguised racist hostility at the discovery that black actors had been cast to play the characters Rue and Thresh in the movie. As more attentive fans were quick to point out, these reactions were not only ugly but obtuse: […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Sociology

Undercover Atheists?

March 26th, 2012 · 18 Comments

Writing at The American Prospect a few weeks back, Patrick Caldwell expressed puzzlement at the view, seemingly widespread on the right, that the hegemonic forces of secularism are somehow forcing believers out of the public square: When I first read Santorum’s comments though, I was mostly struck by how off base his statement is from […]

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Tags: Religion · Sociology

Straussian Social Conservatism and the “Dangers of Contraception”

February 24th, 2012 · 43 Comments

The philosopher Leo Strauss was perhaps best known for the view that great philosophical works—especially those produced in times when persecution for heretical views was commonplace—often concealed an “esoteric” message, intended only for an elite of truly “philosophical” readers, that was different from, and often quite at odds with, the surface meaning of the text.  […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · Religion · Sociology

An Afterthought on “Responsibility”

February 24th, 2012 · No Comments

It occurs to me that some of the confusion I mentioned in the previous post has to do with a certain ambiguity around the terms “responsible” and “responsibility.”  In addition to to the simple causal sense of “responsible,” which is obviously linked to the others, we use it to mean “properly subject to moral praise […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · Sociology