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The theme is the ethics of wealth and human rights. It gets to this by asking: should the rich help the poor?, and covers topics like charity, formal and substantive rights, the concept of basic rights as preconditions for the enjoyment of other human rights and abilities, and questions of charity as opposed to questions of justice. In with all of this, Philosophy Tube points to some of the central features of bourgeois philosophy, and notes that the some philosophical approaches to questions about economic equality and social justice are bourgeois and not very helpful in terms of abolishing the injustice that result in violations of basic rights, resulting in death from hunger and preventable disease for large groups of people in the poor countries, while a relative minority of the world’s population living in the first world is sheltered from this.
This is spot on.
Non-bourgeois philosophy seeks to deliver a non-idealist, non-first-world-chauvinist, non-individualist critique of liberalism and its institutions that expresses the social identity of those committed to building a world free of the economic exploitation and national and gender oppression that concretely erodes basic rights and kills the possibility of large-scale human flourishing on a just basis.
Philosophy is a fundamental human activity wound up with social identity, like producing art and making music, and there’s many ways to characterize it, including a variety of methods that involve abstraction and critique (what is historically called “analysis”) used in arguments and drawing conclusions using some logic or another (what is historically called “synthesis”). There’s nothing that makes these activities bourgeois other than when they are marked by first-world chauvinism, idealism, individualism, and uncritical engagement with liberalism. The bourgeois or non-bourgeois character of philosophical activity depends more on how first-world chauvinism, idealism, individualism, and uncritical engagement with liberalism function to delimit the scope of inquiry and avenues of thought leading to conclusions and what counts as results.
In practice, non-bourgeois philosophers will avoid accepting the terms of an entire philosophical discussion -like say, about whether the wealthy have a duty to help the poor, which put one on the side of the status quo of global injustice from the beginning. This is because from the point of view of non-bourgeois philosophy, there’s no non-ideological way that ethics in the bourgeois tradition can be framed in terms of delivering support for people’s actions against that which erodes basic rights by philosophically expressing their social identity. And making it seem, like bourgeois philosophy does, that the contribution “philosophy” without qualification can make to questions of economic equality and social justice is a matter of applying and configuring chauvinist theories grounded in idealism, individualism, and uncritical of liberalism is not only dishonest, it’s also completely useless from the point of view of using philosophy for the purposes of social change.
Once again, I am grateful to Philosophy Tube for featuring this blog in this latest episode! In the typically amazing style of Philosophy Tube, this episode is full of clear presentation of concepts and ideas and concepts relevant to understanding philosophy and for nurturing philosophical understanding of our contemporary world. And from the point of view of building independent institutions for the expression of social identities that aren’t bourgeois Philosophy Tube is a good example of the high-quality offering that is possible when those that think differently set on developing their practice outside of the status quo.