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Patrick S. O'Donnell
Adjunct Instructor, Department of Philosophy, Santa Barbara City College
Interests: philosophy of law and legal theory, philosophy of mind, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of science, religious worldviews, psychoanalysis, psychology
Recent Activity
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Today is the 106th anniversary (March 25, 1911) of the fire at the Triangle Waist (often ‘Shirtwaist’) Company in New York City in which 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men – died. Most of these workers were young Jewish and Italian immigrant women. “Because the owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits – a then-common practice to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to [ostensibly] reduce theft – many of the workers who could not escape from the burning building simply jumped from the high windows.” The owners of the factory were prosecuted for the fire but won an acquittal, “thanks to the exceptionally effective representation of legendary attorney Max Steuer” (Steve Lubet). There is a wonderful website with primary and secondary sources and sundry helpful stuff about this industrial disaster at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Professor Marcia L.... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is an international direct action advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with AIDS (PWAs) and the AIDS pandemic to bring about legislation, medical research, and treatment and policies to ultimately bring an end to the disease by mitigating loss of health and lives. ACT UP was effectively formed in March 1987 at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York. Larry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent. Kramer had co-founded the GMHC but had resigned from its board of directors in 1983. According to Douglas Crimp, Kramer posed a question to the audience: ‘Do we want to start a new organization devoted to political action?’ The... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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March 24, 1977: On this date Rodolfo Jorge Walsh (January 9, 1927 – March 25, 1977) an Argentine writer, journalist and revolutionary of Irish descent, published his “Open Letter from a Writer to the Military Junta” (excerpts from which are below) accusing them of disappearing thousands of Argentines. The next day he was murdered. “In 1976, in response to censorship imposed by the military dictatorship, Walsh had created ANCLA, (Clandestine News Agency), and the ‘Information Chain,’ a system of hand-to-hand information distribution whose leaflets stated in the heading: Reproduce this information, circulate it by any means at your disposal: by hand, by machine, by mimeograph, orally. Send copies to your friends: nine out of ten are waiting for them. Millions want to be informed. Terror is based on lack of communication. Break the isolation. Feel again the moral satisfaction of an act of freedom. Defeat the terror. Circulate this information.”... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Alphonse Maddin “Watch Al Franken shut down Gorsuch’s cruel decision in the ‘Frozen Trucker’ case” “I had a career in identifying absurdity. And I know it when I see it.” Al Franken’s questioning crystallizes the haughty contempt and condescension Republicans generally and Judge Gorsuch in this instance often have—patriotic populist rhetoric notwithstanding—toward the everyday lives of working people, their “lived experience” as the phenomenologist would say. Gorsuch claims to have “empathy”* for the trucker but, as he forthrightly admits, he refused at the time, and refuses here once more, to imaginatively put himself in the shoes of Alphonse Maddin** on the day in question. See the decision in TransAm Trucking v. Administrative Review Board (2016). (Click on the video in the link for the full transcript of this portion of the confirmation hearing.) * “I empathize with him entirely.” ** “I don’t know, I wasn’t in the man’s shoes.” Meaning:... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Painting of the Sharpeville massacre, which took place 21 March 1960, Sharpeville, South Africa, currently located in the South African Consulate in London. Godfrey Rubens (painter and photographer) The shootings at Sharpeville marked a turning point. Not only did it highlight the wanton violence of the oppressors, but it removed any belief of the possibility of making a dent in the system by means of protest politics alone. Following so quickly after the crushing of the Pondo Revolt by purely military action, the Sharpeville and Langa shootings broke the belief that a nonviolent revolution was possible. Furthermore, the mass arrests and detentions that followed the declaration of a State of Emergency, and the holding of thousands of people without trial, destroyed any hope that the legal system could be used to halt police repression. It was evident that the long chain of legal victories in the courts had been broken... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
First, for your consideration: “The current period [this was written in the early 1980s, although it’s even more apt today] … is the first moment since the 1920s in which owners of capital have openly rejected a compromise that involves public influence over investment and the distribution of income. For the first time in several decades, the Right has an historical project of its own: to free accumulation from all the fetters imposed on it by democracy. For the bourgeoisie never completed its revolution. Just as it freed accumulation from the restraint of the feudal order, the bourgeoisie was forced to subject it to the constraint of popular control exercises through universal suffrage. The combination of private property of the means of production with universal suffrage is a compromise, and this compromise implies that the logic of accumulation is not exclusively the logic of private actors. What is involved in... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Bullshit ideological euphemisms run amok in VP’s marketing (yes, that’s the right word) of the Trump administration’s “health care” legislation: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence “promoted the administration’s health care plan heavily on Twitter, sending out more than 20 messages from his official account, @VP, with messages such as: “Freedom, personal responsibility and state flexibility—that’s what works, and that’s what our plan will do. #VPinFL”[emphasis added] This is the same crypto-fascist who repeatedly and erroneously proclaims, like John Boehner before him, that we have “the best healthcare system in the world,” as he did recently in Kentucky: “We’re going to make the best healthcare system in the world even better.” Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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This list goes a bit beyond “promises and contract theory,” strictly speaking, but where that occurs, the material is thought to have some bearing on the subject. Please let me know of any conspicuous omissions, as I’m relying on this material to revise an introductory essay on promises and contract theory. * Atiyah, Patrick S. “Contracts, Promises and the Law of Obligations,” 94 Law Quarterly Review 193 (1978), reprinted in Linzer (below): 78-91. Atiyah, P.S. Promises, Morals, and Law. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, revised ed., 1983. Atiyah, P.S. Essays on Contract. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Atiyah, P.S. An Introduction to the Law of Contract. New York: Oxford University Press, 5th, 1995. Austin, J.L (J.O. Urmson and Marina Sbisà, eds.) How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2nd, 1975. Ayres, Ian. And Gregory Klass. Insincere Promises: The Law of Misrepresented Intent. New Haven, CT:... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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The way people, particularly young people, live now resembles in its economic instability the situation of the nineteenth century workers and artisans who made the Commune, most of whom spent most of their time not working but looking for work. After 2011, with the return virtually everywhere of a political strategy grounded in taking up space, seizing places and territories, turning cities — from Istanbul to Madrid, from Montreal to Oakland — into theaters for strategic operations, the Paris Commune has become newly illuminated or visible, it has entered once again into the figurability of the present. Its forms of political invention have become newly available to us not as lessons but as resources, or as what Andrew Ross, speaking about my book, called “a useable archive.” The Commune becomes the figure for a history, and perhaps of a future, different from the course taken by capitalist modernization, on the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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At Opinio Juris, Kevin Jon Heller brings us news that the Trump administration is “demand[ing] that Cambodia pay back $500 million it owes the US for providing support to Lon Nol’s unpopular regime.” As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald a couple of days ago: “The debt started out as a US$274 million loan mostly for food supplies to the then US-backed Lon Nol government but has almost doubled over the years as Cambodia refused to enter into a re-payment program. William Heidt, the US’s ambassador in Phnom Penh, said Cambodia’s failure to pay back the debt puts it in league with Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe. ‘To me, Cambodia does not look like a country that should be in arrears … buildings coming up all over the city, foreign investment coming in, government revenue is rapidly rising,’ Mr. Heidt was quoted as saying by the Cambodia Daily.” Let’s recall some... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Below is a substantial excerpt from the Introduction to David A. Cleveland’s Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2014). I hope it entices you to read the book, for while I have yet to finish, what I have read thus far and what I’ve peeked at in what’s to come, is very good. In brief—and for what it’s worth—I highly recommend it. Cleveland is Professor of Environmental Studies and Geography at my alma mater, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), although I’ve never taken a course from him nor do I personally know him. (I have left out the embedded references for the notes.) “The mainstream industrial agrifood system has been remarkably successful over the long run in increasing food production at a rate faster than population growth, with the promise of continuing to do so in the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“Jason Chaffetz’s iPhone comment revives the ‘poverty is a choice’ argument” By Philip Bump, The Washington Post, March 7, 2017 “It’s much easier to deal with poverty if you can convince yourself that the impoverished brought it on themselves. Nearly everyone would concur that those who suffer from poverty through no fault of their own deserve support from others, either through nonprofit or public sector assistance. But if they’re poor because of their own bad decisions? They have to fend for themselves. Coupled with guilt about the struggles of poor Americans, that instinct leads to an awkward place. There’s a psychological reward to looking for reasons that the poor aren’t really poor: It allows you to then more easily leave those less fortunate to their fate. For those disinclined to want the government to spend resources addressing poverty, the same reward is in effect. Drug-testing welfare recipients, stories about those... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Today we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day. “It commemorates the movement for women’s rights.” “The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York and organized by the Socialist Party of America. On March 8, 1917, in the capital of Russian Empire, Petrograd, a demonstration of women textile workers began, covering the whole city. This was the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Seven days later, the Emperor of Russia Nicholas II abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. March 8 was declared a national holiday in the Soviet Russia in 1917. The day was predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.” From The Guardian: Today, women in more than 50 countries “will go on strike from paid and unpaid labour…while millions more will be... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Huda Sha‘rawi meeting with women from various Arab countries. On March 6, 1923, the Egyptian Feminist Union is established: “The Egyptian Feminist Union [EFU] was founded at a meeting on 6 March 1923 at the home of activist Huda (or Hoda) Sha‘rawi, who served as its first president until her death in 1947. The Union was affiliated to the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. The EFU published the fortnightly periodical L’Egyptienne from 1925, and from 1937 the journal el-Masreyyah (The Egyptian Woman). The group reformed as a non-profit, non-governmental organization under the same name but with a different goal and team in 2011. The union supported complete independence from the United Kingdom, but like the upper class male leaders of the Wafd Party, promoted European social values and had an essentially secular orientation. The objective of the feminist movement was symbolized by the well publicized gesture of social freedom made by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Virgin’s Seed, by Paul Botello, Hazard Ave. at Hammel St., Los Angeles “L.A. faces a moral test: How will we respond to deportation threats?” By Harold Meyerson,* the Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2017 “‘Since election day, children are scared about what might happen to their parents,’ says Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles. [CHIRLA] ‘And parents for their children. We fill out at least 10 guardianship letters every day for [undocumented] parents who fear for their [U.S. citizen] kids if they — the parents — are deported.’ Los Angeles has rarely been a more fearful place than it is today. L.A. and Orange counties are home to roughly 1 million immigrants in the country illegally — more than any region except greater New York. That’s not counting the U.S. citizens in mixed-status families — like those American-born children losing sleep at... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“The Wall that Speaks, Sings, and Shouts” (La Pared Que Habla, Canta y Grita): Paul Botello with Adalberto Ortiz, Agerardo Herrera, Gustavo Sanchez (2001) Ruben Salazar Park: 3864 Whittier Blvd., East Los Angeles “How Immigrants Make Communities Safer” By Chiraag Bains,* The Marshall Project (non-profit journalism about criminal justice), February 28, 2017 Immigrants may actually bring down crime in areas where they live. “President Donald Trump campaigned promising a return to ‘law and order.’ Since taking office, he has attempted to fulfill that promise through policies that have been criticized as being thin on substance and out of touch with crime statistics. The president’s approach is misguided for another reason, however: he is targeting immigration as a driver of violent crime when it just might have the opposite effect. Most recently, Trump’s secretary of homeland security issued memos providing for the expanded use of detention, wide-scale deportation and the immediate... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Toward Socialism: A preliminary and therefore provisional diagnosis of symptoms—i.e., what ails us—including a brief etiology of the principal causal variable and a proposed therapeutic regimen. A fairly large number of working class folks who voted for Trump appear to think that populist economic nationalism (granted, this may in some measure be merely a rhetorical smokescreen) and protectionist (or mercantilist) trade policies will perform an economic miracle, bringing about socio-economic security and the realization of middle-class dreams. (Ironically, or not, if one examines the early history of capitalism, protectionist policies and state intervention can—and have—work(ed) for emerging polities dedicated to economic development.) This demonstrates the remarkable effectiveness of being socialized into political and economic ideologies that refuse to historically and analytically conceptualize capitalism in its latest global incarnation. People simply don’t understand (or have succumbed to a colossal state of denial about) the “big-picture” consequences of the frenzied pursuit of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“A report released Thursday morning by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) said that undocumented immigrants in the United States contribute around $11.74 billion in state and local taxes. The contributions come from a variety of taxes, including sales, excise, personal income and property taxes. “Good policy is informed policy,” ITEP director of programs Meg Wiehe said via a press release. ‘Just as the horrendous impact of breaking up families under a mass deportation policy should not be ignored, nor should policymakers overlook the significant contributions undocumented immigrants make to our state and local revenues and the economy.’ ‘Keep in mind most state and local taxes are collected from people regardless of citizenship status,’ Wiehe added. ‘Undocumented immigrants, like everyone else, pay sales and excise taxes when they purchase goods and services. They pay property taxes directly on their homes or indirectly as renters. And, many undocumented immigrants... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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As my Verso Radical Diary informs me, it was on this date in 2002 that workers assumed control of the Zanon tile factory in Argentina, establishing yet another exemplum of a “factory without a boss.” From the Wikipedia entry, albeit lightly edited and sans links and notes: FaSinPat, formerly known as Zanon, is a worker-controlled ceramic tile factory in the southern Argentine province of Neuquén, and one of the most prominent in the recovered factory movement of Argentina. The name is short for Fábrica Sin Patrones, which means “Factory without Bosses” in Spanish. History The factory was opened in the early 1980s by Luigi Zanon, when Argentina was ruled by a dictatorship. According to Alejandro López, a representative of the workers’ union, Zanon’s factory was built on public land using public funding from the national and provincial governments, which were never repaid. In the inaugural parade, Luigi Zanon congratulated the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“The Kronstadt Commune, called by Paul Avrich ‘a lost revolutionary utopia,’ was established at the very outset of the revolution in 1917 on the island naval base in the Gulf of Finland. Virtually independent from 1917 to 1921 and strongly pro-Bolshevik in the early years, Kronstadt had a population of about 50,000—half of it military personnel (largely sailors of Ukrainian peasant background). Egalitarianism, compensatory justice, equity, and grass-roots democracy took on active meaning in this little republic in the Baltic. Communes of 40-60 people were formed where intellectuals, workers, and sailors of all ages toiled side by side in urban garden plots and were rewarded according to labor or special need. Housing and building space was distributed according to family size. Sailors (who got ‘special’ rations on the mainland) shared their portions equally with all the rest—including Bolshevik prisoners taken during the fighting of 1921! Kronstadt was one of the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
I apologize for not citing the title of Shiffrin's book: Speech Matters: On Lying, Morality, and the Law (Princeton University Press, 2014).
Errata: para. 6: “this objection renders” and para. 11: “The signatories to the letter”
As a public citizen concerned about legal ethics, an amateur (or would-be) “intellectual” having spent a considerable amount of time studying same, and after having read the complaint and the specific rule said to have been violated in this case, I find the letter’s argument compelling. This disciplinary complaint does not threaten (i.e., has no nefarious implications for) “free speech” rights and it was not, specifically, about “alleged misrepresentation of facts during political debates” (as one can readily discover, there was no ‘alleged misrepresentation of facts,’ but instead lying and misrepresentation simpliciter) but rather about violating an established rule of conduct for the legal profession. I find nothing in the proposed action capable of harming or in any way diminishing freedom of speech as a fundamental human or constitutional right. I will not fully summarize her sophisticated and timely arguments, but Seana Shiffrin* has recently penned a book addressing and clarifying more than a few of the questions that can arise with regard to deliberately insincere speech and the values enshrined in the—human and constitutional—rights to freedom of speech. As she argues, “theoretically, legal regulation of lies need not offend the important values protected by freedom of speech and, in particular, by the free speech traditions articulated within First Amendment jurisprudence.” This needs to be stated forthrightly if only “because our discussion of the moral complexities of its regulation seem stunted by a preoccupation with free speech worries.” Shiffrin proceeds to explain why she nonetheless “stop[s] short of direct advocacy of general legal regulation of lies,” yet her treatment of this topic has relevance for our discussion and I’m confident she would have no reservations about our relevant rule in this instance, although I cannot of course speak to her possible views with regard to the specific letter of disciplinary complaint. To begin with fundamentals, Shiffrin informs us that “[t]o regulate the lie is to regulate deliberate misrepresentation by a speaker: that is, it is to prohibit (or otherwise regulate) a speaker from presenting something she believes to be false as though she believed it to be true. The predicate of the regulation is not that the content of the speech is false. [….] Rather, the predicate of the regulation is the conjunction of the speaker’s mental state toward the content, namely that the speaker believes it to be false, and her presentation of that content, nevertheless, as though it were true and believed by her to be true. [….] Moreover, were we to regulate [in our case, there is an applicable regulation, its scope beyond and far more constrained than any hypothetical ‘general’ regulation], our reason for regulating need not be content-based. The prima facie argument offered above is that the lie interferes with the aims and function of a free speech culture not through its content or through the reactions of the audience to its content [at least not in the first instance with respect to ‘the audience’], but rather because its serious utterance falsely represents itself as presenting the thoughts of the speaker and thereby misuses the exclusive tools we have to share our beliefs with one another; in so doing, it scrambles and distorts the channels of communication deployed by the sincere. This impetus for regulation … [stems] from the fact that insincere, but seriously presented, representations interfere with out ready, reliable ability to transmit our mental contents, whatever they may be, and have them taken seriously as testimonial warrants of our beliefs.”** Rightly, I think, Shiffrin believes that in addition to avoiding “content-based” regulation of speech (the classic forms of which—including indirect content-discrimination—she elsewhere explains, ‘regulate speech because of the meaning of the utterance’), her account of hypothetical regulation(s) “may be partly motivated by an interest in protecting the reliability and the perceived reliability of speech; so understood, such regulations advance free speech values in ways analogous to time, place, and manner restrictions that aim to ensure that speakers can be heard and not drowned out by competitors or hostile audience members. If lies interfere with the successful transmission of recognizable testimonial warrants and therefore with effective communication, regulation on lies may serve the values that underpin freedom of speech. [….] [R]egulating the lie need not chill, preclude, or burden valuable speech.” Finally, at least for our immediate purposes, Shiffrin states that if we legally object to lying because it “threatens the basis for trust and reliance on others’ testimony, this objections renders especially salient those circumstances under which others’ testimony concerns especially important matters [as in our case!] or those circumstances under which listeners are especially reliant on others’ testimony [once more, albeit arguably, in our case].” Free speech aficionados will likely counter this sort of argument with a putative remedy outside the law, namely, “counter-speech,” which can be an effective remedy, depending on the context and occasion (e.g., the Millian case in which one sincerely expresses an opinion or articulates a belief that happens to be false) but, as Shiffrin points out, it is incapable of speaking to the consequent “damage from the lie itself, independent of its likely deceptive impact”: “The lie itself indicates a willingness on the part of its issuer to use speech to misrepresent while presenting that speech as veridical. This willingness undermines the reliability of the speaker’s testimonial warrants. It gives us reason to reduce our confidence in testimonial warrants from the speaker. Counter-speech by others cannot restore those warrants. Only an apology and a demonstrable commitment to change by the liar could do that….” Ms. Conway’s case involves an egregious breach of professional conduct rules “in a way that brings shame upon the legal profession,” so “an apology and demonstrable commitment to change” by her might suffice for interpersonal and public purposes, but it seems insufficient with regard to sanctioning her professional misconduct. I wholeheartedly agree with these legal ethicists “that lawyers in public office — Ms. Conway is Counselor to the President — have a higher obligation to avoid conduct involving dishonest, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation than other lawyers,” a proposition affirmed in the ABA’s MR 8.4(c), Comment 7: “Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of lawyers.” It would seem Ms. Conway’s obligation may in some respects be enhanced or quickened given President Trump’s appalling (and well-documented) record of deceit, distortion, and lying (both before and during his tenure to date as president), the serial extent and nature of which reflects a dispositional inability to form and hold onto a coherent understanding of the meaning of such basic concepts as “fact(s)” and “truth.” Put differently, his words and behavior routinely evidence a minimal grasp of the normative and inherent relation between these two concepts as they apply to our lives in the daily round, let alone more specialized realms of knowledge and personal and political behavior that apply to the office of the presidency. The signatories to the letters have properly detailed the instances of misconduct and the last paragraph speaks volumes: “If Ms. Conway were not a lawyer and was ‘only’ engaging in politics, there would be few limits on her conduct outside of the political process itself. She could say and do what she wished and still call herself a politician. But she is a lawyer. And her conduct, clearly intentionally violative of the rules that regulate her professional status, cries out for sanctioning by the DC Bar.” Hear, hear! I hope at least a few of the esteemed legal ethicists at this blog will also take a moment to respond as they see fit to this letter and/or the comments by Professor John F. Banzhaf and Paul Levy above. * Seana Valentine Shiffrin is professor of philosophy and the Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice at the University of California, Los Angeles. ** For more on the “testimonial warrant of beliefs” and related ethical and epistemological matters, please see: • Adler, Jonathan. “Epistemological Problems of Testimony,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.): https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2015/entries/testimony-episprob/ • Coady, C. A. J. Testimony: A Philosophical Study. (Oxford University Press, 1992). • Fricker, Miranda. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (Oxford University Press, 2007). • Goldman, Alvin I. and Dennis Whitcomb, eds. Social Epistemology: Essential Readings (Oxford University Press, 2011). In particular, the three chapters in Part II: “Trust in Testimony and Experts,” pp. 71-133. • Lackey, Jennifer. Learning from Words: Testimony as a Source of Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2008).
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“Edward Michael ‘Mike’ Harrington, Jr. (February 24, 1928 – July 31, 1989) was an American democratic socialist, writer, author of The Other America [1962], political activist, political theorist, professor of political science, radio commentator and founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America.” * * * “People speak of socialism. We should speak of socialisms. There is an amnesia about the socialist tradition that abandons entire definitions of that ideal made by serious mass movements. [….] What is needed, if socialism is to find a new relevance for the twenty-first century, is some sense of its enormous diversity and complexity. [….] It was no accident that utopian socialism was rediscovered in the 1960s and had a significant impact on important political movements in the West a century and a half after it began. […..] Utopian socialism also took on a new incarnation in ‘African’ socialism. And it pointed toward a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Courtesy of my Verso Radical Diary: On this date in 1934 George Padmore (né Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse) is expelled from the Comintern (although arguably remaining a ‘communist,’ or at least a socialist) and shifts his focus to African independence struggles. “An anecdote suggests [George Padmore’s] power of persuasion. [Cyril C.] Ollivierre [a fellow West Indian student at Howard University and president of the campus Garvey Club] and Padmore met as dishwashers at Camp Kinderland, a resort for leftwing working-class Jewish New Yorkers which had opened in 1923 in Hopewell Junction. When washing up for a large party, the two fell behind. As the stacks of dirty dishes mounted in the steaming kitchen and the waiters’ voices became more and more abusive, Nurse [i.e., Padmore] grew indignant. Ollivierre, a more pliant man, commenced to scant his efforts, merely dipping plates for a cursory swish, a course of action which brought... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2017 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com