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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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Greg Deal’s Leonard Peltier mural at the Albuquerque, New Mexico Peace and Justice Center, headquarters for the Peltier Defense Committee “Leonard Peltier (born September 12, 1944) is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Peltier’s indictment and conviction have been the subject of much controversy; Amnesty International placed his case under the ‘Unfair Trials’ category of its Annual Report: USA 2010. Peltier is incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Coleman in Florida. Peltier’s next scheduled parole hearing will be in July 2024. Barring appeals, parole, or presidential pardon, his projected release date is October 11, 2040.” Indeed, Peltier is “considered by Amnesty International, the Southern Christian... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Islamic Cultural Center of New York Abdullah, Zain. Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Ammar, Nawal H., ed. Muslims in US Prisons: People, Policy, Practice. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2015. Austin, Allan D. African Muslims in Antebellum America: A Sourcebook. New York: Garland Publications, 1984. Austin, Allan D. African Muslims in Antebellum America: Transatlantic Stories and Spiritual Struggles. New York: Routledge, 1997. Breitman, George, ed. Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements. New York: Merit Publishers, 1965. Clegg, Claude Andrew, III. An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. Curtis, Edward E., IV. Islam in Black America: Identity, Liberation, and Difference in African-American Islamic Thought. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002. Curtis, Edward E., IV. Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press,... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“According to a new estimate in 2016, there are 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States, about 1% of the total U.S. population.” OK, that’s a sufficient “reason” for at least some of us to take an interest in Islamic ethics (as with other ethical traditions, it is both ‘lived’ and, as an ideal, aspirational), about which I suspect there’s abundant ignorance. Here is a very select list of titles (you’re warmly invited to add more in the comments), in English, on “Islamic ethics.” Of course ethics in Islam cannot be discussed without—at the very least—a corresponding knowledge of Islamic theology and jurisprudence. Still, and for comparative and philosophical reasons, we can make sense of “Islamic ethics” as such, much in the manner we speak of and write about other kinds of religious ethics (e.g., Christian, Buddhist…). Ali, Kecia. Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith and... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Elizabeth Catlett, Black Unity (1968) At the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, Clarence Lang explains why “[f]raming symbols and discourses—rendered in the form of images, platforms and demands—are the most critical aspect of any movement-building effort. At their most effective, they bring political coherence and focus to an activist community, convey meaning and goals to supporters and potential participants, mobilize constituents to action, and equip adherents organizationally to contest for legitimacy (and power). Along these lines, framing discourses can communicate insurgent ideas about what changes are necessary, rather than simply what reforms are deemed possible.” There are numerous historical exemplifications, some well-known, others less so, of such “framing” by social movements and political groups in the diverse struggles for black freedom and self-determination in this country. The end of legal institution of chattel slavery took place, first, with the Emancipation Proclamation, followed by the ratification of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Painting by Betsy Graves Reyneau Today is the birthday of the philosopher, Alain Locke: “Alain LeRoy Locke (September 13, 1885 – June 9, 1954) was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts. Distinguished as the first African American Rhodes Scholar in 1907, Locke was the philosophical architect —the acknowledged ‘Dean’— of the Harlem Renaissance.” The following is from the introduction to the entry on Locke in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy by Jacoby Adeshei Carter: “Alain LeRoy Locke is heralded as the ‘Father of the Harlem Renaissance’ for his publication in 1925 of The New Negro—an anthology of poetry, essays, plays, music and portraiture by white and black artists. Locke is best known as a theorist, critic, and interpreter of African-American literature and art. He was also a creative and systematic philosopher who developed theories of value, pluralism and cultural relativism that informed and were reinforced by... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Steve (Stephen Bantu) Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977), “leader of the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) and pioneer of the Black Consciousness philosophy, died in police custody at the age of thirty. Biko was arrested in the outskirts of Grahamstown on 18 August 1977. During his detention in a Port Elizabeth police cell he had been chained to a grill at night and left to lie in urine-soaked blankets. He had been stripped naked and kept in leg-irons for 48 hours in his cell. A blow in a scuffle with security police led to him suffering brain damage. Realising to a certain extent the seriousness of his condition, the police decided to transfer him to a prison hospital in Pretoria, which was 1133 km away. He died shortly after his arrival there. His death was confirmed by the commissioner of police, General Gert Prinsloo.” This following is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“The incident that has erupted here at Attica is not a result of the dastardly bushwacking of the two prisoners Sept. 8, 1971 but of the unmitigated oppression wrought by the racist administration network of the prison, throughout the year. WE are MEN! We are not beasts and do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison population has set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization and disregard for the lives of the prisoners here and throughout the United State. What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.” – “L.D.” (Elliot James) Barkley, reading aloud from the introductory paragraphs of The Five Demands in the prison’s D-Yard Today marks the 45th anniversary of the start of the revolt (to reduce it to a ‘riot’ is misleading and tendentious, thus inaccurate) by prisoners of the Attica Correctional Facility.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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I want to share this extraordinarily profound and eloquent (not ‘eloquent’ in the sense that a Trump supporter on CNN confidently described a recent campaign speech by Trump as ‘eloquent’) passage from Tom Wicker’s book, A Time to Die: The Attica Prison Revolt (Haymarket Books, 2011; first published by Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Co., 1975). It comes at a point in the micro-historical narrative of events surrounding the Attica Uprising when “negotiations” with the prisoners in D-yard appear to have ended and Wicker has just gotten off the phone with Governor Nelson Rockefeller in a futile, last minute effort to persuade him to meet with the “Observers Committee” (which consisted of 14 individuals invited by the rebelling inmates and an additional 23 other members) so as to, among other things, buy time in order to enhance the probability that a “massacre,” as an otherwise predictable result of the effort... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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William Kunstler at New York City rally protesting the carnage at Attica that led to the deaths of 29 inmates and 10 hostages killed by corrections officers and state troopers (recalling with James Forman, Jr., that ‘[t]he most sadistic crimes took place after state officials had full control of the prison’). Today is the 21st anniversary of the death of William Kunstler (July 17, 1919 - September 4, 1995), the indefatigable Left-activist (‘cause’) lawyer and WW II U.S. Army veteran. Here is his Wikipedia entry, which is tolerable, all things considered, although it fails to mention that Kunstler was among those asked to negotiate on behalf of the rebelling inmates at Attica Correctional Facility, September 9 -13, 1971. Kunstler’s efforts in solidarity with the prisoners in D-yard is discussed in Tom Wicker’s (also invited by the prisoners to assist in negotiations and a member of the ‘Observers Committee’) A Time... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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This “manifesto” was inspired several years ago by a PrawsBlawg post of Kelly Anders that asked, “If you had to design a model for a ‘people’s law school,’ what would it contain, and how would it compare to schools that already exist?” I’m not prepared to design a model, yet, provoked by her question, I would like to suggest some items: literature, programs, institutions, course material, commitments and so forth that might be essential to the moral perspective, socio-economic and political values, and pedagogical practices of any such enterprise. My menu of items is not meant to be exhaustive but merely illustrative or representative of what should (or at least could) motivate and sustain the creation of a “people’s law school,” one that is unabashedly of Leftist provenance and orientation, its fundamental principles based on the triune motto of the French Revolution: “liberté, égalité, fraternité.” My first post on this... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
I may have missed it, but one of Monroe's most important if not urgent articles (well, in my opinion) "An Ethical Manifesto for Public Defenders," Valparaiso Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Summer 2005): 911-923, is not treated by any of the authors. Perhaps it will be discussed in the next "special issue."
I'm delighted this is open access ...and look forward with relish to reading all of these. Thank you.
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I have a comparatively short bibliography dedicated to the aim of synthesizing Marxism and Freudian psychology, for complementary social scientific and emancipatory reasons: Marxism & Freudian Psychology: Toward an Emancipatory Synthesis. At the end of the list there are links to the much larger, respective compilations for Marxism and Freudian (and post-Freudian) psychology. Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
Rex, That's a rather obtuse interpretation of the "take away." I understood it to mean something like this: in your frustration, anger, disgust, what have you, over the nasty, irrational, or untrue things Trump says or does, you may find yourself (reflexively but not reflectively) responding with the sort of passion that clouds one's powers of reasoning or rationality or norms of etiquette (etc.). In which case, take some time to let your passions cool down before articulating an ethically or politically or legally appropriate response to what disturbs you about this egregiously narcissistic and demagogic neo-fascist Republican presidential candidate. In short, while it may be metaphysically true that, in some sense, "we choose our behavior," our behavior takes place in the real world within constraints and conditions that influence and in some measure determine that behavior (if we've learned anything from Freud and contemporary cognitive psychology, it is certainly that). Incidentally, as one ascends the hierarchy of power, privilege, and wealth, one has less obvious and stifling constraints that affect the nature and scope of one's choices, so, there is "choice" and there is "choice," and the choices of workers whom Trump has fired, of Blacks discriminated against in housing Trump managed or owned, of investors who lost all or most of their investments in his projects (notoriously, condo 'developments' that never were built), of construction contractors not paid in full or part what was due them, and so forth and so on, Trump (and those who do his bidding) has in fact comparatively and considerably determined the range and quality of the subsequent choices available or made, such that it is uninformative and unavailing to state that "Trump can't actually drive anyone to do anything. We all choose our behavior."
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We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to bring to your attention notice of a new work by Anwar Shaikh, Professor of Economics at the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School University. Professor Shaikh’s latest book is Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crisis (Oxford University Press, 2016) a tome of over 900 pages (‘fifteen years in the making’) that has been well-received by critics both inside and outside the profession of Economics. I first learned of Shaikh’s work from his concise entries in the four volume, The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics (1987), edited by John Eatwell, Murray Milgate and Peter Newman, and newly published in a more accessible series of paperback volumes, one of which is Marxian Economics (W.W. Norton & Co., 1990). And while re-reading an earlier and indispensable book he edited, Globalization and the Myths of Free Trade (Routledge, 2007), I decided to look... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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This list of titles was put together to help one make sense of the various (existing or prescribed) interrelations between trade, labor, and human rights during this period of (largely, thus not exclusively) neoliberal globalization. Presidential campaign rhetoric in the U.S. that is—understandably yet regrettably—little more than sloganeering sound bites about previous and proposed bilateral, multilateral, and regional trade agreements, prompted me in the first instance to share works by academic and activist intellectuals that might quicken and hone our attempts to understand these rather complex topics. There is no “one point of view” represented here save for the fact that I have, of course, a decidedly Leftist bias, as do most of the titles. Nevertheless (and not surprisingly for those of us long on the Left!), ample disagreement and different perspectives are found in the material that should compel us to come to our own conclusions, make up our... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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The following is the final paragraph of a speech by Churchill at Zurich University on September 19, 1946: “I must now sum up the propositions which are before you. Our constant aim must be to build and fortify the strength of [the United Nations]. Under and within that world concept we must re-create the European family in a regional structure called, it may be, the United States of Europe. The first step is to form a Council of Europe. If at first all the states of Europe are not willing or able to join the union, we must nevertheless proceed to assemble and combine those who will and those who can. The salvation of the common people of every race and of every land from war or servitude must be established on solid foundations and must be guarded by the readiness of all men and women to die rather than... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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From a blog post by Vinay Lal with his characteristically thoughtful and informed reflections upon visiting the Aga Khan Palace in Pune, India: “He may be the ‘Father of the Nation,’ but it is more than his reputation, lately under assault from all the wise ones, that lies in tatters. A plaque at the entrance to the Aga Khan Palace in Pune, where Gandhi was confined for two years after he issued a call to the British to ‘Quit India’ in August 1942, furnishes a brief introduction to this ‘monument of national importance.’ On my visit to this monument in March of this year, I found it in a state of utter dilapidation. This is far from being India’s only ‘national monument’ that has suffered from neglect and indifference; however, its association with Gandhi most likely ensures that it is not likely to see a revival of its fortunes. If... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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In the news: “Republican Sen. John McCain said Thursday that President Barack Obama is ‘directly responsible’ for the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, because of the rise of the Islamic State group on the president’s watch. But he later issued a statement saying that he ‘misspoke.’ ‘I did not mean to imply that the president was personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama’s national security decisions, not the president himself,’ McCain said in his statement, issued as his initial comments were drawing heated criticism from Democrats. [….] ‘Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaida went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq,’ a visibly angry McCain said as the Senate debated a spending bill.” Comment: Senator McCain here displays an appalling measure of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“More than a decade after launching the longest major supermarket strike in the nation’s history, union representatives for Southern California grocery store workers are back at the bargaining table. This time, there’s a third party in the room: a $15 minimum wage. California’s schedule of steady increases to the wage floor, which will boost that wage to $15 an hour by 2022, is doing some of the work for the seven unions as they seek their fourth contract with the Ralphs and Albertsons chains since the epic 143-day strike that brought the region’s supermarkets to their knees in 2003-2004. But the two big chains, which include Safeway, Vons and Pavilions stores, are looking to offset rising pay in other ways. That is likely to be the basis for any new confrontation. ‘They are offsetting the cost of the minimum wage, they are trying to find ways to get around it,’... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“Republicans cook up plan to cripple consumer agency” [….] “’Dodd-Frank’s false premise is that an alchemy of Wall Street greed, out-sized private risk and massive Washington deregulation almost blew up the world economy,’ he [i.e., Rep. Jeb Hensarling] said in a speech last week to the Economic Club of New York. ‘It wasn’t deregulation that caused the financial crisis,’ Hensarling said. ‘It was dumb regulation.’ As for greed, he said, ‘When hasn’t there been an element of greed on Wall Street?’ Boys will be boys, right?” [….] ‘He’d gut Dodd-Frank and gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,’ said Deepak Gupta, a Washington lawyer who previously worked as senior counsel for the watchdog agency. ‘Jeb Hensarling is a wholly owned subsidiary of the financial services industry.’ Too harsh? Not when you consider that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Hensarling has received more than $5.5 million from financial firms and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Both “Kantian moral freedom and the rhetoric of prophetic nationalism emerged from Rousseau’s effort to internalize Hobbesian sovereignty….” This apparently “puzzling feature of Rousseau’s political thought has in fact “inspired two projects that seem different and opposed to one another. John Rawls finds in Rousseau the basic framework for the Kantian-liberal project of constructing a legitimate state around the [hypothetical] consent of morally autonomous individuals united in a conception of public reason. But others find in the same political theory arguments for a more romantic politics in which strong and prerational passions –patriotic and nationalistic—sentiments of belonging—play a central role.”—Bryan Garsten in Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (Harvard University Press, 2006) It is the latter interpretation of Rousseau’s “transformation of Hobbesian sovereignty” that Jonathan Israel* attributes to the authoritarian populism (which culminated in ‘the Terror’) of Marat and Robespierre, as it subordinated reason to popular will and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Sierra Leone’s government welcomes the 165 Cuban health-care workers who came to fight Ebola. (Glenna Gordon for The Wall Street Journal) “While we repudiated with the greatest energy that tyranny of society over the individual which most Socialistic systems are supposed to involve, we yet looked forward to a time when society will no longer be divided into the idle and the industrious; when the rule that they who do not work shall not eat, will be applied not to paupers only, but impartially to all; when the division of the produce of labour, instead of depending, as in so great a degree it now does, on the accident of birth, will be made by concert on an acknowledged principle of justice; and when it will no longer either be, or be thought to be, impossible for human beings to exert themselves strenuously in procuring benefits which are not to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Reading a salvage book by one of the Salvage men on the truck of the A.T.S. salvage office. St. Nazaire. c1919. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Yes, I know, that is a rather pretentious title, but I believe it to be true (or at least could be true). Here is a list of the bibliographies available at my Academia page. (If you can’t access any of these let me know and I will send a PDF copy or copies to you.) Some, if not many of these will be occasionally updated. I also have published and unpublished writings on motley topics (and some teaching material) there as well if you are interested. 1. Africana & African American Philosophy 2. B.R. Ambedkar 3. American Indian Law 4. Analogy & Metaphor 5. Animal Ethics, Rights, and Law 6. The Arab World: Modern & Post-Modern 7. The Bedouin 8. Bioethics 9.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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I think the philosophical enterprise of developing a “moral theory” of human rights is important, one fine example of which (and there are others) is James Griffin’s On Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2008). And our own Michael J. Perry argues, in turn, for a religious ground of the morality of human rights (owing to the fundamental nature of the notion of inherent human dignity), which I do not believe is necessary to a liberal democratic polity’s constitutional commitment to a sound and persuasive conception of human dignity, as well as the corresponding moral theory of human rights. However, I do think it is important, in the spirit if not letter of Rawls’s notion of an “overlapping consensus,” that members of religious traditions be capable of endorsing this constitutionally entrenched notion of human dignity and the theory of human rights with (more or less) arguments generated from within their respective... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com