This project considers whether a Cultural Copying (CC) account of group membership explain why a certain group has a moral standing (i.e. are the targets of certain group rights, protections etc.). The CC account would entail that a process of cultural learning would have the potential to explain features of membership (historical continuity, solidarity and injustice) that are in turn relevant for being a bearer of certain rights and protections. Group membership according to CC must fulfil the following conditions:
1. The existence of a model or models (M1) of being of a gender, ethnicity, class etc.
2. New member(s) M2,3… produced in interaction with M1 or other past members,
3. The interaction with past model (or members) causes the new members to resemble past member(s).
Membership according to CC is historically local where members imperfectly share many similarities with one another due to a specific chain of reproduction in time and place. The hypothesis of this project is that many of acts of cultural copying (conditions 1-3) will also involve features of membership that political theorists have suggested might underlie group rights (e.g. reciprocity, historical continuity). Membership in a gender, for example, is passed on within a chain of social learning within a particular cultural niche and it has been observed that these engagements with past (role) models leads to a sense of belonging and solidarity within the chain. Considering what extent cultural copying can form a basis for group’s moral standing also initiates a new synthesis between work in political philosophy and philosophy of (social) science. It also puts philosophy of social science to use in strengthening relevant arguments and policy on group right
To arrive at an account of group membership and how it becomes a basis for group rights, political philosophy/theory and philosophy of social science/ontology need to work in tandem. The PI’s (Marion Godman, MG) expertise in philosophy of social science/ontology will be teamed with complementary expertise at both the junior (Post doc) and senior levels (Nils Holtug and Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen). The principal aim of the project is to:
1. Explain why group membership could form a basis for group rights and protection.
To argue for the cultural copying (CC) account of group membership, the project also aims to:
2. Apply to candidates for group rights, protection etc. (e.g. gender, indigenous groups);
3. Assess alternative accounts of social membership (in political philosophy and philosophy of social science).
The project is related to the centre of excellence CEPDISC (The Center for the Experimental-Philosophical Study of Discrimination) at Aarhus BSS, headed by Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen.