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Cynthia A. Stark
University of Utah
  1. Gaslighting, Misogyny, and Psychological Oppression.Cynthia A. Stark - 2019 - The Monist 102 (2):221-235.
    This paper develops a notion of manipulative gaslighting, which is designed to capture something not captured by epistemic gaslighting, namely the intent to undermine women by denying their testimony about harms done to them by men. Manipulative gaslighting, I propose, consists in getting someone to doubt her testimony by challenging its credibility using two tactics: “sidestepping” and “displacing”. I explain how manipulative gaslighting is distinct from reasonable disagreement, with which it is sometimes confused. I also argue for three further claims: (...)
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  2. Hypothetical Consent and Justification.Cynthia A. Stark - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (6):313.
    Hypothetical contracts have been said to be not worth the paper they are not written on. This paper defends hypothetical consent theories of justice, such as Rawls's, against the view that they lack justificatory power. I argue that while hypothetical consent cannot generate political obligation, it can generate political legitimacy.
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  3. How to Include the Severely Disabled in a Contractarian Theory of Justice.Cynthia A. Stark - 2007 - Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (2):127-145.
    This paper argues that, with modification, Rawls's social contract theory can produce principles of distributive justice applying to the severely disabled. It is a response to critics who claim that Rawls's assumption that the parties in the original position represent fully cooperating citizens excludes the disabled from the social contract. I propose that this idealizing assumption should be dropped at the constitutional stage of the contract where the parties decide on a social minimum. Knowing that they might not be fully (...)
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  4. Contractarianism and Cooperation.Cynthia A. Stark - 2009 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 8 (1):73-99.
    Because contractarians see justice as mutual advantage, they hold that justice can be rationally grounded only when each can expect to gain from it. John Rawls seems to avoid this feature of contractarianism by fashioning the parties to the contract as Kantian agents whose personhood grounds their claims to justice. But Rawls also endorses the Humean idea that justice applies only if people are equal in ability. It would seem to follow from this idea that dependent persons (such as the (...)
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  5. The Rationality of Valuing Oneself: A Critique of Kant on Self-Respect.Cynthia A. Stark - 1997 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 35 (1):65-82.
    Kant claims that persons have a perfect duty to respect themselves. I argue, first, that Kant’s argument for the duty of self-respect commits him to an implausible view of the nature of self-respect: he must hold that failures of self-respect are either deliberate or matter of self-deception. I argue, second, that this problem cannot be solved by understanding failures of self-respect as failures of rationality because such a view is incompatible with human psychology. Surely it is not irrational for people, (...)
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  6. Respecting Human Dignity: Contract Versus Capabilities.Cynthia A. Stark - 2009 - Metaphilosophy 40 (3-4):366-381.
    There appears to be a tension between two commitments in liberalism. The first is that citizens, as rational agents possessing dignity, are owed a justification for principles of justice. The second is that members of society who do not meet the requirements of rational agency are owed justice. These notions conflict because the first commitment is often expressed through the device of the social contract, which seems to confine the scope of justice to rational agents. So, contractarianism seems to ignore (...)
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  7.  79
    Decision Procedures, Standards of Rightness and Impartiality.Cynthia A. Stark - 1997 - Noûs 31 (4):478-495.
    I argue that partialist critics of deontological theories make a mistake similar to one made by critics of utilitarianism: they fail to distinguish between a theory’s decision procedure and its standard of rightness. That is, they take these deontological theories to be offering a method for moral deliberation when they are in fact offering justificatory arguments for moral principles. And while deontologists, like utilitarians do incorporate impartiality into their justifications for basic principles, many do not require that agents utilize impartial (...)
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  8.  99
    Abstraction and Justification in Moral Theory.Cynthia A. Stark - 2010 - Hypatia 25 (4):825-833.
    Ethicists of care have objected to traditional moral philosophy's reliance upon abstract universal principles. They claim that the use of abstraction renders traditional theories incapable of capturing morally relevant, particular features of situations. I argue that this objection sometimes conflates two different levels of moral thinking: the level of justification and the level of deliberation. Specifically, I claim that abstraction or attention to context at the level of justification does not entail, as some critics seem to think, a commitment to (...)
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  9.  78
    Luck, Opportunity and Disability.Cynthia A. Stark - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (3):383-402.
    This paper argues that luck egalitarianism, especially in the guise of equality of opportunity for welfare, is in tension with the ideal of fair equality of opportunity in three ways. First, equal opportunity for welfare is compatible with a caste system in employment that is inconsistent with open competition for positions. Second, luck egalitarianism does not support hiring on the basis of qualifications. Third, amending luck egalitarianism to repair this problem requires abandoning fair access to qualifications. Insofar as luck egalitarianism (...)
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  10.  42
    Political Liberalism and Male Supremacy.Cynthia A. Stark - 2020 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (5):873-880.
    In Equal Citizenship and Public Reason, Watson and Hartley dispute the claim that Rawls’s doctrine of political liberalism must tolerate gender hierarchy because it counts conservative and orthodox religions as reasonable comprehensive doctrines. I argue that their defense in fact contains two arguments, both of which fail. The first, which I call the “Deliberative Equality Argument”, fails because it does not establish conclusively that political liberalism’s demand for equal citizenship forbids social practices of domination, as the authors contend. The second, (...)
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  11.  51
    Pornography, Verbal Acts, and Viewpoint Discrimination.Cynthia A. Stark - 1998 - Public Affairs Quarterly 12 (4):429-445.
    Catharine MacKinnon argues that pornography is action, rather than speech. She argues further that the speech/action distinction is what delineates the scope of the First Amendment. It follows, she thinks, that pornography does not fall within the scope of the First Amendment. I argue that the legal distinction between speech and action on which MacKinnon relies is unstable and therefore cannot determine which utterances fall within the scope of the First Amendment. Indeed, attempting to sort utterances by means of the (...)
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