Touring the digital through type

Month: July 2007 (Page 2 of 3)

Review of “A cosmopolitan perspective on the global economic order” by Thoman Pogge

burstingcityPogge’s general assertion is that the West’s influence in shaping the existing global social conditions is continuing to promote a monumental level of suffering that has, and continues to, kill more people than either Hitler or Stalin. While these claims may seem bold, Pogge’s paper attempts to justify his claims by defending himself against the following:

  1. That he is making a conceptual mistake by re-labelling actions harmful that are really failures to aid and protect.
  2. That he is factually wrong about the causal explanations of severe poverty.
  3. That he is morally wrong by presenting minimal requirements that are excessively demanding.

In addressing these issues, Pogge adopts a ecumenical approach – his approach is intended to convince adherents of all the major moral theories that his position is defensible from all of their objections. Moreover, by adopting a multiplicity of divergent lines of argumentative defence, Pogge aims to avoid creating a strategy that can be ignored by theorists on the basis that they hold hold contrary philosophical positions. Specifically, he will be addressing Lockeans, Libertarians, Rawlsians, and communitarians.

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Copyfraud, the Corporation, and College Publishing

pointandshootThis posting is motivated by Jason Mazzone’s paper “Copyfraud“, where he investigates copyfraud.  Copyfraud is defined as “claiming falsely a copyright in a public domain work” (3) and after discussing instances that copyfraud is both perpetrated he reflects on ways to alleviate it. Mazzone, an American, generates his account from within the American political and judicial system but his insights can be generally applied internationally to any nation that either accommodates or has adopted US and British copyright principles.

Copyright is intended to let authors receive financial compensation for the works that they create. In the US, copyright exists in an antagonistic relationship with the First Amendment because it limits how people can use words that they have received – an author’s speech cannot be used wholescale by others when they generate their own creative works that are derived or inspired by the author’s work. The only exception to this limitation stem from fair use policies, which assert that small parts of a copywritten work can be used to facilitate discussions between writers/performers. Fair use, however, is a protection that is being banished by corporate groups that are striving to protect their profits and avoid lawsuits rather than encouraging the growth of the public domain.

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“Blogging Democracy: The contribution of political blogs to democracy” by Gareth Lewis

bloggingthisThe essay that I am discussing was one of the two that won The Dalton Camp Award this year. You can read the full version of the essay at the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting website.

Generally, Lewis’s argument can be summed up in his line “thanks to weblogs, any civic-minded citizen with a computer, a modem and the moxie to express their opinions can contribute to the media and the public dialogue.” Blogs provide a way for citizens to break through the increasing corporate control of media outlets – only 1% of newspapers are independently owned today,and in this environment blogs offer a way to expand the number of news sources because its low cost of entry. Free services such as Blogger and Livejournal, where all of the hard work is done by a company behind the scenes, are perfect for citizen-journalists to quickly begin publishing.

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“Principles of cosmopolitan order” by David Held

outoforderCosmopolitanism, broadly speaking, reflects on ethical, cultural, and political issues from the position that states and political communities are not the exclusive centers of political order or force.

Held begins his article in Brock’s and Brighouse’s The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism by differentiating between cosmopolitanism that shifts from the polis to the cosmos, and the Enlightenment’s cosmopolitan attitude of maturity and reflexivity. The former insists that individuals’ first allegiance is to humanity rather than the community, whereas for the latter cosmopolitan right “meant the capacity to present oneself and be heard within and across political communities; it was the right to enter dialogue without artificial constraint and delimitation” (11).

Held’s article is subsequently divided into four sections. The first identifies cosmopolitan principles, the second distinguishes between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ cosmopolitanism, the third justifies cosmopolitan claims, and the fourth section sketches how to transition from justifications to law. The ultimate aim is to understand the aim and scope of cosmopolitanism.

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