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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
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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 3 days ago 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
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Claudia Jones leading a demonstration in London against the 1962 Immigration Act As today is International Women’s Day, I thought I would post these two photos of Claudia Jones (née Claudia Vera Cumberbatch: 21 February 1915 - 24 December 1964) in conjunction with notice of my latest bibliography on Pan-Africanism, Black Internationalism, and Black Cosmopolitanism. Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Claudia Jones leading a demonstration in London against the 1962 Immigration Act As today is International Women’s Day, I thought I would post these two photos of Claudia Jones (née Claudia Vera Cumberbatch: 21 February 1915 - 24 December 1964) in conjunction with notice of my latest bibliography on Pan-Africanism, Black Internationalism, and Black Cosmopolitanism. Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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There is an absolutely exquisite and powerfully compelling analysis of J.S. Mill’s political pamphlet, The Subjection of Women (London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1869) by Nadia Urbinati near the end of her book, Mill on Democracy: From the Athenian Polis to Representative Government (University of Chicago Press, 2002): 175-189. I happen to have a “new impression” of Mill’s text published in 1909 by Longmans, Green and Co. (London, New York, Bombay, and Calcutta!) that I bought many years ago for $2.00 (hence the image from a book that was printed three years prior to mine but is otherwise the same). It has an introduction with a detailed outline of the argument not found in the first edition. In any case, Urbinati describes it as a political work that goes beyond “liberal politics.” She notes that “since the 1980s,” scholars have in several important respects corrected earlier liberal readings, thereby... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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This very short compilation is here. At the kind request of Shelley Tremain, an online version of this was also posted at Discrimination and Disadvantage blog. 02/29/2016at the Discrimination and Disadvantage blog. is a space for philosophical reflection on various kinds of disadvantage (e.g., discrimination based on racism, classism, sexism, hetero-sexism, ableism, and the intersectionality of these and related phenomena) as well as discussion of such disadvantage within the philosophical community. - See more at: http://philosophycommons.typepad.com/disability_and_disadvanta/2015/01/welcome-to-disability-and-disadvantage.html#sthash.dF3QB8Uj.dpuf is a space for philosophical reflection on various kinds of disadvantage (e.g., discrimination based on racism, classism, sexism, hetero-sexism, ableism, and the intersectionality of these and related phenomena) as well as discussion of such disadvantage within the philosophical community. - See more at: http://philosophycommons.typepad.com/disability_and_disadvanta/2015/01/welcome-to-disability-and-disadvantage.html#sthash.dF3QB8Uj.dpuf is a space for philosophical reflection on various kinds of disadvantage (e.g., discrimination based on racism, classism, sexism, hetero-sexism, ableism, and the intersectionality of these and related phenomena) as well... Continue reading
Posted Feb 29, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“Alain LeRoy Locke (September 13, 1885 – June 9, 1954) was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts.” My bibliography for Africana & African American Philosophy is here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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“If you’ve got a clothespin handy, you should clip it to your nose. I’m now going to tell you about the 12-hour California Coastal Commission meeting I sat through Wednesday in Morro Bay. When the spectacle was over, members of one of the most powerful regulatory agencies in the country had racked up a number of accomplishments. They fired their staff’s executive director, Charles Lester, who knows more about the 40-year-old voter-approved Coastal Act that protects our 1,100-mile shoreline than anyone in the world. They devastated and demoralized the agency staff, so much so that some employees wept when the firing was announced. They infuriated a who’s who of California’s longest-serving stewards of coastal preservation and access, along with hordes of public officials, current and former Coastal Commission staff, and former commissioners and citizens who had traveled from up and down the coast to speak glowingly of Lester’s integrity and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Elizabeth Catlett’s Homage to Black Women Poets, 1984 My latest bibliography, in keeping with Black History Month, is here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Today is the birthday of C.L.R. James (4 January 1901 – 19 May 1989), the remarkable Marxist humanist and Afro-Trinidadian socialist, historian, journalist, and essayist. Here are two posts from the archives on James: From “Cricketing in Compton” to the “Cricketing Marxist,” and The Marxist Spirituality of C.L.R. James. And here is a fitting celebratory essay by Christian Høgsbjergon on James’ “magisterial work,” The Black Jacobins (1938, second ed., 1963): “CLR James and the Black Jacobins.” The following books help illuminate the life and work of C.L.R. James, the “cricketing Marxist” and “urbane revolutionary.” Buhle, Paul. C.L.R. James: The Artist as Revolutionary. London: Verso, 1988. Buhle, Paul, ed. C.L.R. James: His Life and Work. London: Allison & Busby, 1986. Renton, Dave. C.L.R. James: Cricket’s Philosopher King. London: Haus, 2007. Robinson, Cedric J. Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. London: Zed Books, 1983. Rosengarten, Frank. Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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El Lissitzky, 5. Globetrotter (in der Zeit), From Victory Over the Sun (1923) From the Institute for Policy Studies— “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us” • America’s 20 wealthiest people — a group that could fit comfortably in one single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet — now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households. • The Forbes 400 now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population — plus more than a third of the Latino population — combined. • The wealthiest 100 households now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States. Among the Forbes 400, just 2 individuals are African American —Oprah Winfrey and Robert Smith. • The wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2016 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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In the course of reading and research for a bibliography on “philosophy, psychology, and methodology for the social sciences,” I came across an intriguing discussion of a book by Jeffery M. Paige, Agrarian Revolution: Social Movements and Export Agriculture in the Underdeveloped World (New York: Free Press, 1975). Paige’s study is invoked by Harold Kincaid in Philosophical Foundations of the Social Sciences: Analyzing Controversies in Social Research (Cambridge University Press, 1996) as “an exemplary piece of social science research.”* I was particularly intrigued owing to my professional (such as it is, being an adjunct instructor) and political interest—to put it blandly—in (among other things) Marxism, for Paige is motivated by a Marxist sociological orientation in ascertaining “the primary causes of agrarian behavior, particularly in developing countries,” yet his study is not simply a predictable or banal academic exercise of “doctrinaire Marxism.” As Kincaid proceeds to show us, Paige “modifies the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2015 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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At the beginning of the year I posted a “reading guide” on Red-Green (or ‘Eco-’) Socialism. This is an expanded version of that list with more links (still, it is far from exhaustive). It represents what I’m acquainted with by way of the attempt to integrate Marxism (and the Left in general) with ecological and environmental worldviews (I make some further, more specific recommendations in the note appended below): Bahro, Rudolf. Socialism and Survival. London: Heretic Books, 1982. Bahro, Rudolf. From Red to Green: Interviews with New Left Review. London: Verso, 1984. Benton, Ted. Natural Relations: Ecology, Animal Rights and Social Justice. London: Verso, 1993. Bernstein, Henry. Class Dynamics of Agrarian Change. West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press, 2010. Bernstein, Henry, et al., eds. The Food Question: Profits Versus People. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990. Burkett, Paul. Marxism and Ecological Economics: Toward a Red and Green Political Economy. Chicago, IL:... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2015 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com
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Another book I recently read in conjunction with the bibliography on “philosophy, psychology and methodology for the social sciences” was the late Martin Hollis’s Reason in Action: Essays in the philosophy of social science (Cambridge University Press, 1996). While the directed reading regimen was intentional, it turned out to be serendipitous: California is of course in a severe drought (to be sure, more rain than usual is expected this year, but I’ll believe it when I can’t ride my bike to school), and our household and condo. association have taken action in conjunction with the city’s quite reasonable requirements and recommendations on this score. And then I pick up Hollis’s book, the first chapter of which is a prologue and apologia, while the second chapter is titled “Three men in a drought” and opens as follows: “Water was short in the torrid summer of 1976 and there were soon calls... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2015 at ReligiousLeftLaw.com