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Let me stump for another Nick who also has a paper in Inquiry. "A Genealogy of Emancipatory Values" from Nick Smyth (Fordham) is to my mind a stunningly original approach to thinking about the origin of moral values through the lens of cultural history. Very strongly recommend this paper to those analytic moral philosophers who might otherwise recoil from the word 'genealogy'.

Antinatal, not Antirational

Fav reminds me: I also enjoyed Nick Smyth's paper "What is the Question to Which Anti-Natalism is the Answer?" in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (2020). I have pretty strong anti-natalist sympathies (though I've never written on the topic), and it seems to me that Smyth identifies a serious problem for the theory. In short: abstract considerations about whether or not coming into existence is preferable to never coming into existence don't really touch the actual non-theoretical considerations that motivate people to have children. The paper also raises a more global challenge to ANY sort of applied ethics that draws ethical conclusions without taking these kinds of first-personal non-theoretical perspectives into account.

It's one of those papers where I strongly disagree with the overall "vision," but I appreciate the beauty of the argument, and I appreciate that a defender of anti-natalism needs to do some serious work to show that Smyth's argument fails. Maybe I'll write a reply. :)

Marcus Arvan

I'm a big fan of Smyth's paper on anti-natalism as well!

Thesis 11

I'd like to acknowledge the really excellent public philosophy that Olufemi O. Taiwo (Georgetown) has been doing over the past few years in venues like Aeon, Dissent, The Philosopher, Boston Review, and The Nation on topics ranging from policing to the pandemic, standpoint epistemology to climate change. (Links on his website.) He writes about Very Big Problems in a style which is informed and erudite, but also lucid and engaging. I consistently find valuable and original perspectives in his work for grappling with social problems that seem utterly intractable at first glance.

Nick Smyth

Fav, Antinatal, your checks are in the mail.

Paying it forward, I'll second that comment about Professor Taiwo's public work, I have found it extremely enlightening and forward-thinking. I'd also recommend Amanda Bryant's "The Epistemic Inadequacy of Free Range Metaphysics" and Max Hayward's "Practical Reason, Sympathy and Reactive Attitudes".


I'm a big fan of the work of Aydin Mohseni (ABD at UC Irvine), especially his paper Truth and Conformity on Networks (coauthored with fellow grad student Cole Williams). The paper is here: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10670-019-00167-6 and you can play around with the model here: https://amohseni.shinyapps.io/Truth-and-Conformity-on-Networks/

I'll third the recommendation to check out Táíwò's public philosophy. He has put out several excellent pieces just in 2020.

Nicolas Delon

Thanks so much for showcasing my paper, Marcus.

If I may plug one paper by an early-career scholar that I've really enjoyed, I recommend a recent paper in PPQ by Angie Pepper. Citation and abstract follow.

Pepper, A. (2020) Glass Panels and Peepholes: Nonhuman Animals and the Right to Privacy. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 101: 628– 650. https://doi.org/10.1111/papq.12329.

In this paper, I defend the claim that many sentient nonhuman animals have a right to privacy. I begin by outlining the view that the human right to privacy protects our interest in shaping different kinds of relationships with one another by giving us control over how we present ourselves to others. I then draw on empirical research to show that nonhuman animals also have this interest, which grounds a right to privacy against us. I further argue that we can violate this right even when other animals are unaware that we are watching them.

And since we're on the theme of genealogy, I'll recommend Matthieu Queloz's work, although he's not overlooked or underrated but already justly recognized.


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