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  1. Our Statues of Wrongdoers.Craig K. Agule - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    Many of those memorialized around us in statues are wrongdoers, and so we are often called to consider whether we should take down those statues. Some of those statutes are memorialized for reasons now taken to be wrong; others are memorialized not for but rather despite their wrongdoing. How should we consider those latter cases? One tempting analysis suggests that we need only consider whether the wrongdoing was sufficiently transgressive. In this article, however, I reject that constrained focus. Instead, these (...)
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  • How Statues Speak.David Friedell & Shen-yi Liao - 2022 - The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 80 (4):444-452.
    We apply a familiar distinction from philosophy of language to a class of material artifacts that are sometimes said to “speak”: statues. By distinguishing how statues speak at the locutionary level versus at the illocutionary level, or what they say versus what they do, we obtain the resource for addressing two topics. First, we can explain what makes statues distinct from street art. Second, we can explain why it is mistaken to criticize—or to defend—the continuing presence of statues based only (...)
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  • Statues, History, and Identity: How Bad Public History Statues Wrong.Daniel Abrahams - 2023 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (2):253-267.
    There has recently been a focus on the question of statue removalism. This concerns what to do with public history statues that honour or otherwise celebrate ethically bad historical figures. The specific wrongs of these statues have been understood in terms of derogatory speech, inapt honours, or supporting bad ideologies. In this paper I understand these bad public history statues as history, and identify a distinctive class of public history-specific wrongs. Specifically, public history plays an important identity-shaping role, and bad (...)
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  • Lost for words: anxiety, well-being, and the costs of conceptual deprivation.Ditte Marie Munch-Jurisic - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13583-13600.
    A range of contemporary voices argue that negative affective states like distress and anxiety can be morally productive, broaden our epistemic horizons and, under certain conditions, even contribute to social progress. But the potential benefits of stress depend on an agent’s capacity to constructively interpret their affective states. An inability to do so may be detrimental to an agent’s wellbeing and mental health. The broader political, cultural, and socio-economic context shapes the kinds of stressors agents are exposed to, but it (...)
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  • Objectionable Commemorations: Ethical and Political Issues.Chong-Ming Lim & Ten-Herng Lai - 2024 - Philosophy Compass 19 (2):e12963.
    The term, "objectionable commemorations”, refers to a broad category of public artefacts – such as, and especially, memorials, monuments and statues – that are regarded as morally problematic in virtue of what or whom they honour. In this regard, they are a special class of public artefacts that are subject to public contestation. In this paper, we survey the general ethical and political issues on this topic. First, we categorise the arguments on offer in the literature, concerning the objectionable nature (...)
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  • Political vandalism as counter‐speech: A defense of defacing and destroying tainted monuments.Ten-Herng Lai - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):602-616.
    Tainted political symbols ought to be confronted, removed, or at least recontextualized. Despite the best efforts to achieve this, however, official actions on tainted symbols often fail to take place. In such cases, I argue that political vandalism—the unauthorized defacement, destruction, or removal of political symbols—may be morally permissible or even obligatory. This is when, and insofar as, political vandalism serves as fitting counter-speech that undermines the authority of tainted symbols in ways that match their publicity, refuses to let them (...)
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  • Objectionable Commemorations, Historical Value, and Repudiatory Honouring.Ten-Herng Lai - 2024 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 102 (1):37-47.
    Many have argued that certain statues or monuments are objectionable, and thus ought to be removed. Even if their arguments are compelling, a major obstacle is the apparent historical value of those commemorations. Preservation in some form seems to be the best way to respect the value of commemorations as connections to the past or opportunities to learn important historical lessons. Against this, I argue that we have exaggerated the historical value of objectionable commemorations. Sometimes commemorations connect to biased or (...)
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  • On Resisting Art.James Harold - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (1):35-45.
    What responsibilities do audiences have in engaging with artworks? Certain audience responses seem quite clear: for example, audiences should not vandalize or destroy artworks; they should not disrupt performances. This paper examines other kinds of resisting responses that audiences sometimes engage in, including petitioning the artist to change their works, altering copies of artworks, and creating new artworks in another artist’s fictional world. I argue for five claims: (1) while these actions can sometimes infringe on the rights of artists, the (...)
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  • Fitting Moral Admiration: Achievements and Character.Kyle Fruh - 2023 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (5):864-883.
    I develop three arguments in support of my contention that we should favor achievements over agents as objects of fitting moral admiration. The first argument impugns the epistemic standing with which characterological admiration is standardly issued. The second argument alleges that there is likely to be a difference between widely held folk concepts of character and traits, on the one hand, and an empirically supported view of the reality of those things, on the other. The final argument concerns one way (...)
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  • Commemoration, Militarism, and Gratitude.Kyle Fruh - forthcoming - The Journal of Ethics:1-20.
    Recent years have seen various forms of honorific public art – statues, monuments, and the like – brought under renewed moral scrutiny. This scrutiny has resulted in some high-profile removals, some defacement and additional contextualization to augment existing objects, and some cases of the status quo prevailing. Scholarly treatment of the issues has similarly resulted in arguments that articulate competing values that support removal, modification or preservation. I bring the insights of these arguments to bear on specifically military commemorations, where (...)
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  • Down with this sort of thing: why no public statue should stand forever.Carl Fox - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.
    No statue raised in a public place should stand there indefinitely. Any such monument should have a set date when it is due to be replaced. I make three arguments to support this principle of non-permanence for public commemorative art. First, the opportunity cost of permanent statues is too high. States have a duty, grounded in their need for legitimacy, to support and cultivate democratic values. Public art is a powerful tool that is being drastically underemployed because existing statues are (...)
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  • Questioning the Assumptions of Moralism, Universalism, and Interpretive Dominance in Racist Monument Debates.Dan Demetriou - 2022 - Public Affairs Quarterly 36 (3):233-255.
    This essay questions three widespread assumptions in monument debates it terms “moralism,” “universalism,” and “interpretive dominance.” Roughly: moralism assumes that memorials should be only to good people or good causes; universalism holds that memorials should represent or be “for” the whole polity or its (real or supposed) corporate values; interpretive dominance maintains that, when faced with monuments with reasonable qualifying and disqualifying interpretations, policy should respond to the disqualifying one(s). These assumptions do not settle the debates between removalists and preservationists, (...)
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  • It was a Different Time: Judging Historical Figures by Today’s Moral Standards.Alfred Archer & Benjamin Matheson - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    How should we respond to historical figures who played an important role in their country’s history but have also perpetrated acts of great evil? Much of the existing philosophical literature on this topic has focused on explaining why it may be wrong to celebrate such figures. However, a common response that is made in popular discussions around these issues is that we should not judge historical figures by today’s standards. Our goal in this paper is to examine the most plausible (...)
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  • How Public Statues Wrong: Affective Artifacts and Affective Injustice.Alfred Archer - forthcoming - Topoi:1-11.
    In what way might public statues wrong people? In recent years, philosophers have drawn on speech act theory to answer this question by arguing that statues constitute harmful or disrespectful forms of speech. My aim in this paper will be add a different theoretical perspective to this discussion. I will argue that while the speech act approach provides a useful starting point for thinking about what is wrong with public statues, we can get a fuller understanding of these wrongs by (...)
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  • Fans, Crimes and Misdemeanors: Fandom and the Ethics of Love.Alfred Archer - 2021 - The Journal of Ethics 25 (4):543-566.
    Is it permissible to be a fan of an artist or a sports team that has behaved immorally? While this issue has recently been the subject of widespread public debate, it has received little attention in the philosophical literature. This paper will investigate this issue by examining the nature and ethics of fandom. I will argue that the crimes and misdemeanors of the object of fandom provide three kinds of moral reasons for fans to abandon their fandom. First, being a (...)
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  • Consigning to History.Alfred Archer - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    How might a society wrong people by the way in which it remembers its past? In recent years, philosophers have articulated serval ways in which people may be wronged by dominant historical narratives. My focus will be on a way in which we may wrong people which has yet to feature in this discussion: the consigning of people to history. This paper investigates the wrongs involved in collective narratives that consign certain identities to a country’s past but not its present (...)
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  • Wittgenstein on Reasonable Doubt and Calling Bullshit.Frank Hernandez - 2021 - Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy 1 (9):74-88.
    In this essay I analyze a passage from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. This excerpt contains the expression “O, rubbish!” (Ach Unsinn), which I consider to be closely related to the notions of “bullshit” developed by Harry Frankfurt and Gerald A. Cohen. The relevance of this essay is illustrated with lively examples, both related to contemporary society and identified by Wittgenstein about 70 years ago. The paper is organized in six sections containing 1) an introduction to the topic, 2) an explanation (...)
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