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Iddo Landau

This paper critically examines Sartre's argument for the meaninglessness of life from our foundationless freedom. According to Sartre, our freedom to choose our values is completely undetermined. Hence, we cannot rely on anything when choosing and cannot justify our choices. Thus, our freedom is the foundation of our world without itself having any foundation, and this renders our lives absurd. Sartre's argument presupposes, then, that although we can freely choose all our values we have a meta-value that we cannot choose: that values are acceptable only if they are justified by some independent factor rather than by one's free choice. I argue that we need not accept this presupposition: subjectivists may well choose to be 'proud subjectivists' who are pleased with, rather than ashamed by, their subjectivism. Indeed, many subjectivists, including those considering the meaning of life - for example, Harry Frankfurt and Brooke Alan Trisel - adopt this position.

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Migration Destination Choice as a Criterion of Self-Identification

The Case of Young People Leaving Noril’sk and Dudinka

Nadezhda Zamyatina

specific behavioral patterns and motivations. The objective of this paper is thus to demonstrate that the choice in the direction of migration is shaped not by simple economic conditions and opportunities or solely by the social networks of the prospective

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Tatiana Bulgakova

Since the early 1990s, religious landscape in Siberia has been rapidly changing and becoming more complicated because of the activities of foreign missionaries. The options for individual religious choice have increased, being at the same time

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James J. Fiumara

Nitzan Ben Shaul, Cinema of Choice: Optional Thinking and Narrative Movies

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Discourses of Choice and Experiences of Constraint

Analyses of Girls' Use of Violence

Marion Brown

Girls who use violence are marginalized as the worst of the mean girls, disrupting conventional femininity codes and causing panic in the streets. Twenty two girls participated in a qualitative study in Nova Scotia about what it means to be a girl and use violence. Interpretations presented here suggest that their reasoning can be contextualized through an analysis of neoliberalism, racism, heterosexism and classism, as they navigate discourses of choice and experiences of constraint.

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Is Jewish Identity a Matter of Choice?

The Case of Young Jews in Contemporary Poland

Marius Gudonis

In the current wave of academic and media interest on the apparent renaissance of a Jewish community in Poland after 1989, it has become customary to define the new generation of Polish Jews by the element of choice in their identity construction. Such a distinction is poignant in the light of Poland’s troubled postwar history. Following the tragedy of the Shoah, in which ninety percent of the 3.3 million prewar Jewish population perished, those who survived and remained in the country were almost entirely polonised. After 1947, manifestations of Jewishness were increasingly curtailed as part of the Stalinist drive to create an ethnically homogenous nation.

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Gerald F. Gaus

This essay analyses optimal voting rules for one form of deliberative democracy. Drawing on public choice analysis, it is argued that (i) the voting rule that best institutionalises deliberative democracy is a type of a supermajority rule. Deliberative democracy is also committed to (ii) the standard neutrality condition according to which if x votes are enough to select alternative A, x votes must be enough to select not-A. Taken together, these imply that deliberative democracy will often be indeterminate. This result shows that deliberative democracy is ill-equipped to provide guidance as to how actual political disputes are to be legitimately resolved.

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Energy Choices

Humanity's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth

Laura Nader

Andrea Behrends, Stephen P. Reyna, and Günther Schlee, eds., Crude Domination: An Anthropology of Oil (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011), 325 pp.

John-Andrew McNeish and Owen Logan, eds., Flammable Societies: Studies on the Socio-economics of Oil and Gas (London: Pluto Press, 2012), 370 pp

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John Gillespie

This overview of Sartre's theater within the context of the symposium focuses on the inherent ambiguities of his theory and practice. His plays, as committed literature, are not always successful in their pedagogical intention of changing the minds of his audiences. On the one hand, he seeks to provide universal situations with which everyone can collectively identify, and on the other he wishes to convince them of the value of freedom and confront them with problems and conflicts they must resolve for themselves. These spectators then exercise that freedom by taking ideological viewpoints that are in conflict with those of the plays. Moreover, the plays are often complex and ambiguous, and set far from a contemporary French context, thus demanding a certain sophistication of interpretation. Sartre's skill as a dramatist is to write plays that engage the public in debates about the key questions of the day, even though, because of his open approach, he does not always succeed in changing their minds.

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The Choice of Ignorance

The Debate on Ethnic and Racial Statistics in France

Patrick Simon

For more than a century, statistics describing immigration and assimilation in France have been based on citizenship and place of birth. The recent concern for racial discrimination has given rise to a heated controversy over whether to introduce so-called "ethnic categories" into official statistics. In this article, I make an assessment of the kind of statistics that are available today and the rationale behind their design. I then discuss the main arguments put forward in the controversy and argue that antidiscrimination policies have created a new need for statistics that outweigh the arguments against the use of "ethnic statistics." In fact, beyond the technical dimension of this controversy lies a more general political debate about the multicultural dimensions of French society.