Non‐Negotiable Demands: Metaphysics, Politics, and the Discourse of Needs

Naomi Scheman

in Future Pasts

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139167
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833214 | DOI:
 Non‐Negotiable Demands: Metaphysics, Politics, and the Discourse of Needs

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Scheman discusses the history of analytic philosophy in America juxtaposing Cora Diamond’s Wittgensteinian critique of metaphysics (or of philosophical “requirements”) with Nancy Fraser’s use of Habermas and Foucault to develop a discourse of needs. Examining the of problems of philosophy from historical context in the analytic tradition in post–World War II America, Scheman critically examines Cornel West’s interpretation of American pragmatism as a resolute evasion of moral and political engagement, arguing that analytic philosophy did answer to particular cultural needs given the politics of that time. She then shows how arguments over the mind-independence of reality, the transcendence of moral standards, and the idea of privileged access may, despite their history, form a crucial and indeed inevitable part of a politically aware, morally engaged conception of philosophy, as useful for the disenfranchised as for those who benefit from the current arrangements of society.

Keywords: politics of needs; metaphysics; ethics; politics; post-analytic philosophy; Cornel West; Cora Diamond; Nancy Fraser; feminism; political philosophy

Chapter.  13202 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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