a blog about philosophy in public affairs

Category: Social justice

The Disruption of Human Reproduction

This is already my third post about ectogestative technology, better known as “artificial womb technology”. While in the first post, I explored the idea that this technology could potentially advance gender justice, in the second, I approached the technology from the perspective of post-phenomenology. In this third post, I look at the technology as an example of a socially disruptive technology. Ongoing research in the philosophy of technology investigates the ways in which 21st Century technologies such as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, gene-editing technologies, and climate-engineering technologies affect “deeply held beliefs, values, social norms, and basic human capacities”, “basic human practices, fundamental concepts, [and] ontological distinctions”. Those technologies deeply affects us as human beings, our relationship to other parts of nature such as non-human animals and plants, and the societies we live in. In this post, I sketch the potential disruptive effects of ectogestative technology on practices, norms, and concepts related to expecting and having children.

What is the real problem with food deserts?

Hispanic Sodas Sabor Tropical Supermarket Miami” by Phillip Pessar is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This is a guest post by Emma Holmes (University of St Andrews/University of Stirling)

Why do some people choose to eat unhealthy food? Earlier this year, Kate Manne – Cornell philosopher and author of several books about misogyny – published Unshrinking, a fascinating and compelling critique of fatphobia. Throughout, she argues against moralising our food choices. There is nothing immoral about wanting to eat greasy, salty, delicious, processed food, says Manne. I agree – but I think she misses something. People’s food preferences are not just random – some people prefer to eat unhealthy foods because their desires have been shaped by an unjust system.

I’ll focus on Manne’s discussion of food deserts to make this point. A so-called ‘food desert’ is a place where there is nowhere nearby or affordable to access healthy food. The term ‘desert’ makes it sound as if this problem is naturally occurring, which it is not – food deserts are the result of urban planning decisions and they disproportionately affect poor people and people of colour. I argue that people who live in food deserts are done an injustice because they are influenced to prefer foods which are bad for their health.  

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén