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Om förtryckande strukturer

Gunnemyr, Mattias (2006)
Practical Philosophy
Abstract
This paper is a critique of an article in the Swedish magazine Filosofisk Tidskrift (Philosophical Magazine), in which professor Per Bauhn maintains that there is something wrong with having a group perspective in moral and political matters. In this article Bauhn makes three conclusions. The first one is that you violate Hume's law if you draw the conclusion that something is an oppression only from descriptive premises, which for example communitarians does according to Bauhn. He argues that ?oppression? is a normative term, and therefore it requires at least one normative premise. As a result, Bauhn argues, it is in fact wrong to call structural

oppression an oppression at all. I agree with Bauhn that there is a normative element in... (More)
This paper is a critique of an article in the Swedish magazine Filosofisk Tidskrift (Philosophical Magazine), in which professor Per Bauhn maintains that there is something wrong with having a group perspective in moral and political matters. In this article Bauhn makes three conclusions. The first one is that you violate Hume's law if you draw the conclusion that something is an oppression only from descriptive premises, which for example communitarians does according to Bauhn. He argues that ?oppression? is a normative term, and therefore it requires at least one normative premise. As a result, Bauhn argues, it is in fact wrong to call structural

oppression an oppression at all. I agree with Bauhn that there is a normative element in the word ?oppression?, and that it would be wrong to make such a conclusion only from descriptive premises, but I don?t agree with him that this is an issue only for oppression in the structural sense. Bauhns argument also applies to oppression in the intentional sense, which some would say is oppression in the normal sense, exemplified by the apartheid regime in

South Africa or by some tyrant in the medieval age. Further I maintain that there is a normative premise in both the concept of structural oppression and the concept of intentional oppression. I also examine some of the theorists of structural oppression, and it turns out that they have normative premises that support their thesis about structural oppression.

Bauhns second conclusion is that there is something paradoxical in many of the works on this subject. There is some uncertainty of how to interpret Bauhn on this point, why I propose

two different interpretations. One is that you make a paradox if you both maintain that there are no valid universal statements and at the same time do such statements yourself. The other one is that you claim that the individual's moral is determined by her or his group identity, while also maintaining normative judgements that does not come from your own group identity. However I can?t find any of these paradoxes in the theories of Iris Marion Young or Alasdair MacIntyre, which are the theorists that Bauhn mainly refer to on this matter. Admittedly Young seams to be in the danger zone of being paradoxical, but there is more to

showing that she is paradoxical than what Bauhn says in his article. The third, and last, conclusion Bauhn makes is that it is problematic to have a group perspective in morals and politics since it will result in morally problematic consequences.

For example he holds that if we take affirmative action to promote an ethnical group, we are in the risk of helping only the already privileged within this group. In addition the privileged within this group possibly are rich men who oppress women and poor. I argue that implications of this kind only are possible if you have a crude theory of group oppression. A more developed theory, like that of Young, could easily give an account for integrated group structures, which would give a solid founding for affirmative action. Moreover, Bauhn's concept of structural statements is that they are generalizations, which implies that an

individual in an oppressed group not necessarily have to be oppressed. I argue, like many feminists and other theorist in this area, that women are structurally oppressed as women, blacks as blacks and so on. On this ground you cannot hold that structural oppression is mere a generalization. The empirical facts Bauhn are referring to as generalizations, for example that women in general doesn?t get the same salary for the same job or that people with an other ethnicity than white generally have a lower living standard, is on this view a consequence of the structural oppression. Bauhn seems also to hold that affirmative action is the only possible measure against structural oppression, and that is why any problem with affirmative action, on his view, inevitably is a problem for a theory of structural oppression.

There are, however, other possible measures ? for instance a more just legal process ? that could be taken against structural oppression if affirmative action would turn out problematic after all. (Less)
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@misc{1326775,
  abstract     = {This paper is a critique of an article in the Swedish magazine Filosofisk Tidskrift (Philosophical Magazine), in which professor Per Bauhn maintains that there is something wrong with having a group perspective in moral and political matters. In this article Bauhn makes three conclusions. The first one is that you violate Hume's law if you draw the conclusion that something is an oppression only from descriptive premises, which for example communitarians does according to Bauhn. He argues that ?oppression? is a normative term, and therefore it requires at least one normative premise. As a result, Bauhn argues, it is in fact wrong to call structural

oppression an oppression at all. I agree with Bauhn that there is a normative element in the word ?oppression?, and that it would be wrong to make such a conclusion only from descriptive premises, but I don?t agree with him that this is an issue only for oppression in the structural sense. Bauhns argument also applies to oppression in the intentional sense, which some would say is oppression in the normal sense, exemplified by the apartheid regime in

South Africa or by some tyrant in the medieval age. Further I maintain that there is a normative premise in both the concept of structural oppression and the concept of intentional oppression. I also examine some of the theorists of structural oppression, and it turns out that they have normative premises that support their thesis about structural oppression.

Bauhns second conclusion is that there is something paradoxical in many of the works on this subject. There is some uncertainty of how to interpret Bauhn on this point, why I propose

two different interpretations. One is that you make a paradox if you both maintain that there are no valid universal statements and at the same time do such statements yourself. The other one is that you claim that the individual's moral is determined by her or his group identity, while also maintaining normative judgements that does not come from your own group identity. However I can?t find any of these paradoxes in the theories of Iris Marion Young or Alasdair MacIntyre, which are the theorists that Bauhn mainly refer to on this matter. Admittedly Young seams to be in the danger zone of being paradoxical, but there is more to

showing that she is paradoxical than what Bauhn says in his article. The third, and last, conclusion Bauhn makes is that it is problematic to have a group perspective in morals and politics since it will result in morally problematic consequences.

For example he holds that if we take affirmative action to promote an ethnical group, we are in the risk of helping only the already privileged within this group. In addition the privileged within this group possibly are rich men who oppress women and poor. I argue that implications of this kind only are possible if you have a crude theory of group oppression. A more developed theory, like that of Young, could easily give an account for integrated group structures, which would give a solid founding for affirmative action. Moreover, Bauhn's concept of structural statements is that they are generalizations, which implies that an

individual in an oppressed group not necessarily have to be oppressed. I argue, like many feminists and other theorist in this area, that women are structurally oppressed as women, blacks as blacks and so on. On this ground you cannot hold that structural oppression is mere a generalization. The empirical facts Bauhn are referring to as generalizations, for example that women in general doesn?t get the same salary for the same job or that people with an other ethnicity than white generally have a lower living standard, is on this view a consequence of the structural oppression. Bauhn seems also to hold that affirmative action is the only possible measure against structural oppression, and that is why any problem with affirmative action, on his view, inevitably is a problem for a theory of structural oppression.

There are, however, other possible measures ? for instance a more just legal process ? that could be taken against structural oppression if affirmative action would turn out problematic after all.},
  author       = {Gunnemyr, Mattias},
  keyword      = {Hume, David,Bauhn, Per,MacIntyre, Alasdair,Systematic philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, epistemology, ideology,Systematisk filosofi, etik, estetik, metafysik, kunskapsteori, ideologi},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Om förtryckande strukturer},
  year         = {2006},
}