New Books in Human Rights
Rajshree Chandra, “Knowledge as Property: Issues in the Moral Grounding of Intellectual Property Rights”
Copyright is one of those topics over which even two saints disagreed. The legend has it that Saint Columba and Saint Finnian engaged in an argument as Columba had secretly, and without the latter’s permission, copied a Latin Psalter owned by Finnian. When Finnian found out about it, he requested the copy, but Columbia refused to give it back. Dermott, the King of Ireland, decreed “to every cow belong its calf, so to every book belong its copy.”
New Books in Political Science
Tamara Metz, “Untying the Knot: Marriage, the State, and the Case for Their Divorce”
Marriage is at the center of some of our fiercest political debates. Here are some recent developments regarding marriage in the United States. Earlier this year, the Justice Department announced that it would no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). A few weeks ago, New York became the largest state to allow same-sex marriage, joining five other states, the District of Columbia, and the Coquille and Suquamish Indian tribes in Oregon. The Senate Judiciary Committee has recently started to consider a bill that would grant federal benefits to same-sex married couples. But to what extent should the state be involved at all in regulating or recognizing marriage? In her recent book, Untying the Knot: Marriage, the State, and the Case for Their Divorce (Princeton University Press, 2010), Tamara Metz argues for the “disestablishment” of marriage. Marriage, Metz argues, like religion, should be separated from the state. She further claims that the liberal state should only be in the business of legally recognizing a wide variety of intimate caregiving unions among consenting, able-minded, able-bodied, adult intimates. In this interview, she clarifies her position further.
New Books in Philosophy
Sanford Goldberg, “Relying on Others: An Essay in Epistemology”
In our attempts to know and understand the world around us, we inevitably rely on others to provide us with reliable testimony about facts and states of affairs to which we do not have access. What is the nature of this reliance? Do testifiers simply provide us with especially compelling evidence? Should we regard the testimony of others as only so much more local data in our cognitive environment? Or is there a deeper sense in which much of our knowledge depends on others? In his new book, Relying on Others: An Essay in Epistemology (Oxford University Press, 2010), Sanford Goldberg argues for the striking thesis that in cases of testimonial knowledge, part of our justification in believing another’s testimony resides in the mind/brain of the testifier. This thesis runs counter to what Goldberg regards as a widespread and insufficiently examined premise at the heart of most views in contemporary epistemology, namely, individualism, which is the view that a believer’s justification never extends outside of the believer’s mind/brain. Goldberg argues that, over a significant range of cases, a believer’s justification depends upon irreducibly social factors, and thus that an individual’s justification sometimes resides in part in the cognitive processes of others.