On Air

Everything Is Broken playlist for 05/14/2013

Our program tuesday May 14; 1-2:30PM ... will again focus on torture both international and domestic, sanctioned and carried out in our name by government of the United States of America and it’s contracted entities. My guest and I will explore the impact of 13+ years of torture on our culture and moral compass. We will also speak to the same culture condoning increasingly harsh punishment of domestic prisoners.

Our featured guest is John Davenport. John is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University in New York City. He teaches and writes on ethics and political philosophy (including human rights, democratic theory and global governance), moral psychology and agency, existentialism, and philosophy of religion. He regularly teaches courses on theories of rights, environmental problems, and social justice. His recent articles include "Just War, Human Rights, and A Federation of Democracies" (Journal of Religious Ethics, 2011), “A Global Federalist Paper” (Journal of Value Inquiry 42, 2008), and several essays on free will, norms, and autonomy.

John Davenport Associate Professor of Philosophy Fordham University Department of Philosophy Collins Hall 125, Bronx Campus

Interviews: I have appeared on television and radio interviews for a number of topics in the last ten years and I am happy to do interviews or give presentations (schedule permitting) on any of the topics below; if your topic does not appear here, ask me (I have very broad interests). You’ll see that my webpage contains links to a number of powerpoint presentations on related issues.


Political Philosophy
(1) I have developed a detailed proposal for a global federation of democracies to take over the functions of the Security Council and fulfill our collective moral obligations under the doctrine of a "responsibility to protect" (R2P) civilians from mass atrocities. My plan differs from Senator McCain’s in certain key respects, such as replacing rather than retaining the UN Security Council. But my goal is similar: to protect nations from terrorism, to secure basic human rights, and to ensure that there are no more genocidal conflicts (Rwandas) or massive ethnic cleansing following secession struggles (Kosovo). I am for intervention in Syria. Ideas similar to this are receiving a lot of attention now in politics, but little in Philosophy. I’m prepared to rebut critics of this idea in detail. I also argue for this proposal on the basis of contemporary just war theory.

(2) More generally, I'm interested in global justice, human rights, and theories of democracy. I’m teaching a course on Political Libertarianism and its Critics (looking at the libertarian movement since Ayn Rand and problems with its conception of just governance), and I'm preparing a book-length project on errors in different strands of libertarian (or 'neocon') political argument. I can comment on issues in national politics and I have a webpage on the need for a new constitutional convention to solve basic problems with the way Congress and our elections operate.

(3) I also teach a course American political philosophy from the Federalist Papers to Lincoln, and have several interests relating to Lincoln’s political thought (see my powerpoint on Lincoln, Slavery, and Race on my webpage).
(4) More controversially, I've written a couple things addressing religion in the public sphere. I take a moderate or middle of the road position in this debate, arguing for wide latitude but some limits on the use of revealed religion in political argument and advocacy. These limits are based on a deliberative conception of democratic legitimacy.

(1) Tolkien, Mythology, Comparative Religion. I’ve taught a course titled Fantasy and Philosophy and given interviews on Tolkien and mythology that will air on the History Channel in Sept. 2009. (2) I can also speak on topics in Philosophy of Religion in general.

Moral Psychology and Ethics
(1) I'm an expert on Kierkegaard and existential philosophy. Specifically, my work concerns using themes in Kierkegaard’s existential thought to explain what a ‘self’ is, or how we form our identities and become responsible for our character. I’m currently VP and President-Elect of the Kierkegaard Society of North America.

(2) I also write on free will, moral responsibility, and responsibility for character in particular. In this area, my work crosses into psychological issues related to the formation of identity. I'm currently writing on "narrative unity" theories of selves and identity over time. In analytic philosophy, I’ve done a lot of work on the theories of Harry Frankfurt on will and identity.
(3) I'm prepared to speak on socioeconomic inequalities, the public debt, and justice to future generations. Theories of political justice are one of my sidelines.

(4) I also teach environmental ethics and am doing work on an “endowment model” of justice that emphasizes sustainable use of both cultural and environmental resources. This is the topic of a new course I have planned for spring 2010.

History of Philosophy
Though my specialties are in contemporary philosophy, there are a number of topics in ancient philosophy, early modern, and 19th century on which I’d be glad to speak. I have a broad knowledge of intellectual history in the western tradition (sorry, not much in Eastern thought).

Topics in my book on the will and motivation:

• Existential psychotherapy (Maslow, Frankl, Yalom);
• ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ views on will and self-assertion;
• Critiques of psychological egoism;
• Plato’s and Aristotle’s theories psychologies and conceptions of virtue;
• Professions, creative work, friendship, and neighbor-love as motives aiming beyond the self;
• The Kantian motives of duty and its history;
• Forms of radical evil;
• The new psychological theories of “intrinsic motivation”;
• Commitment, Integrity, and Cares;
• Objective values as a basis for life-goals;
• A taxonomy of goals worth caring about (bases for a meaningful life).

AND … storyteller Regi Carpenter is back with us! who knows what she will come up with this time!

Our music from some veteran rockers … The Notting Hillbillies. Mark Knopfler, Guy Fletcher, Steve Phillips, Brendan Croker.