Reader Email from Iran, and My Reply

Weber answering emails at his desk in 2011.

I received a reader email from Iran in the last few weeks. I’ve been swamped and hadn’t had a chance to respond until now. I’m still swamped, catching up, but I thought it might be fun to post the question and my reply here. These responses were quickly drafted, with some thought but little editing. <Disclaimer…> lol.

Dear Eric Thomas Weber

I’m [name omitted] from Iran.We are Iranian people who we love peace  and other culture we love other people in every point of earth.You know my country is a victim of mistaken policies in 8 years ago but we(people of Iran) are not bad.Politician of united state of America like Mr President Barak Obama say that the human right situation in Iran is not good.I want to know that what is meaning the human rights?

Best Regards, [name omitted]

Front page of the Tehran Times, November 1, 2015.While I feel bad about having little time to answer [name omitted], I felt worse about how long it had taken for me to get to his email (BTW, that’s my mug on the front page of The Tehran Times from this past July – Pretty cool). So, here’s my rough and quick reply:

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“‘Cultivating a Culture of Encouragement’ Interview, Stollman and Weber (12m in)”
by Christopher Long & Mark Fisher, hosts

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

Logo of the Public Philosophy Journal.Before my Web site redesign in the summer of 2015, I attended a great workshop for the Public Philosophy Journal, a Mellon Foundation funded project. Jennifer Stollman of the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation coauthored a proposal with me to write a paper at the workshop titled “Cultivating a Culture of Encouragement” — the link takes you to an abstract for our paper.

The recording here features five groups, each talking about their projects. Jennifer and I are in the second spot, 12 minutes in. Learn more about each group on Dean Chris Long’s Web site here. Each group has their title listed, with a link to their abstract.

The whole audio recording of the 5 interviews comes in at around an hour long, but you can skip ahead. If you have any trouble with that, you can download the MP3 file here and use whatever player you prefer. Again, Jennifer and I are the second group of writers of five groups, a little more than 1/10th of the way in from the start.

Logo for Matrix, Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences.Thanks to Chris and his co-host Mark Fisher. Chris and Mark were both at Penn State University. Chris has since moved to East Lansing, Michigan, where he is now Dean of the College of Liberal Arts there. He and Mark are continuing work on the journal with a special digital humanities team there called Matrix.

Check out the full info about the episode and all of the guests featured in it and learn more about the Public Philosophy Journal.

Interview on BAM South’s Midlife Criss podcast

January 6, 2016, With host Jack Criss, and guests Kinsella, Weber, and Rings

Photo of a microphone in front of a soundboard.

I had a great time talking with Jack Criss on BAM South’s Midlife Criss podcast. The interview will soon be up on BAM South’s site, but for now Jack’s posted the interview on Sound Cloud. The player is here below. Jack is a great M.C. and he had questions for me about Uniting Mississippi. My interview is about 16 minutes in from the start of this audio recording. I’m the second of three guests: Stephan Kinsella, me, and John L. Rings.

The Logo for BAM South, with the tag line, "Business Always Matters."Jack has kindly invited me to join him again for a more extended discussion when I’m next in Jackson, MS. I’ve got plans in the works for a trip to Jackson at some point in the spring of 2016, so I think that it would be great to join Jack again.

The name BAM South is short for Business Always Matters. Check out the online publication, which features a nice podcast series. Jack has a great voice, I should add. Fun host too. I hope you enjoy.

Here’s the interview (again, my interview is around 16 minutes in):

More information about Uniting MississippiInfo on Speaking.

Jack Criss of BAM South.I had fun talking with Jack Criss on the Midlife Criss podcast series, put out by BAM South. That stands for Business Always Matters.

Jack is a great M.C. He interviewed me about Uniting Mississippi, and later invited when I’m next in Jackson to come in for a longer conversation. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Date: January 4, 2016
Time: 11:30-11:55 a.m.
Appearance: Interview about ‘Uniting Mississippi’ on “Midlife Criss Podcast”
Outlet: BAM South
Location: Jackson, MS
Format: Podcast

Looking for a presenter? Check out my Speaking page.

“Justice as an Evolving Regulative Ideal”

Journal article published in Pragmatism Today, Volume 6, Issue 2 (2015): 105-116.

Photo of the top of my paper, which links to the PDF file on the journal's Web site.

Logo for Pragmatism Today.I’m happy to announced that my latest paper, as of December 2015, has been published in Pragmatism Today, the peer-reviewed journal of the Central-European Pragmatist Forum. This paper is a step in the larger project of my book in progress, A Culture of Justice.

 

Title: “Justice as an Evolving Regulative Ideal.”

Abstract:

In this paper, I argue that justice is best understood as an evolving regulative ideal. This framework avoids cynicism and apathy on the one hand as well as brash extremism on the other. I begin by highlighting the elusive quality of justice as an ideal always on the horizon, yet which is nevertheless meaningful. Next, I explain the ways in which it makes more sense to see justice as evolving, rather than as fixed. Finally, I demonstrate the value of Charles Sanders Peirce’s concept of a regulative ideal for framing a pragmatist outlook on justice. Peirce helps us at the same time to appreciate ideals yet to let go of outmoded understandings of their metaphysical status. Ideals are thus tools for regulating behavior. Each of these qualifications demonstrates that justice is best conceived of as an evolving regulative ideal.

Designs on Kids and Culture: Cartoons

Screen capture of Charlie Brown shaking hands with Franklin, the first African American character in Peanuts, introduced in 1968.

While I have been writing A Culture of Justice, so many examples have come up to illustrate what I’m concerned about. The latest is from Charlie Brown. At the same time, it’s true that culture is a funny thing to think about when it comes to justice.

When I first read Plato’s Republic, I found it so strange that Plato addresses oddly specific decisions about which kind of music and arts should be allowed in just city. It is one thing to be concerned about music that promotes violence or that demeans women, but what does the mode of the music have to do with justice? By modes, I’m referring to the dorian, the phrygian, or the mixolydian modes. Plato believed that it mattered profoundly which modes of music were taught to young people. Here’s a YouTube lesson on the modes of music – probably longer than you need, but you can stop whenever or jump ahead:

Plato presented a highly authoritarian version of Socrates in the Republic, so much so that Karl Popper accused him of betraying his great teacher. Popper saw the real Socrates as an advocate for freedom and the open society. The early dialogues do seem to present a different Socrates from the late dialogues. Plato loved his great teacher, yet the Athenians killed unjustly. It is not surprising that he would be skeptical about the will of the people to lead wisely.

While I disagree with the extent of Plato’s heavy handedness, I think he was right to attend to culture’s relationship to justice. Today, we defend the freedom of expression to amazing lengths, protecting even hateful speech. The modes of music seem strange to think of limiting, sure, but it was once prohibited to show Elvis Presley’s shaking hips on television.

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