Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Humane Family Values: The Inter-Dimensional Self

Switzer Michelle V., Henry Rosemont.

Speaker I: Not only must the king not enter our homes, our neighbors must know when and how not to enter our heads. The failure of liberals to take feminist criticism of the alleged public/private distinction to heart means they have failed fully to appreciate how privacy is not primarily an issue of the individual versus the state, but of interpersonal relationships. This is what permits their confused moral subjectivism with respect to value, an oversight premised on the fact of gender injustice. The alternative we defend—realism with respect to value—is not only fit to address the void that has permitted the far Right to monopolize “family values,” but serves as a model for avoiding the extremes of paternalism or relativism.
Speaker II: Our aim is to undermine a fundamental assumption shared by contemporary liberal moral and political theories, namely, that the basic units of worth, and hence to be championed, are individuals, who have the properties of being free, rational, autonomous, and self-interested, but are otherwise undifferentiated. Many more of the world’s peoples would identify themselves in terms of Confucian persons than liberal individuals, and consequently, at the minimum, Confucianism and a feminist ethics of care or love provide a less impositional and more open philosophical basis for genuine cross-cultural dialogue on such pressing matters as peace, justice, and human dignity than liberal individualism does.


Switzer Michelle V.  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
Whittier College

A PhD from the University of Toronto, I specialize in Moral and Social Philosophy, including Feminist Philosophy, with competence in Applied Ethics and Environmental Philosophy. I hold a tenure-track position in the Department of Philosophy at Whittier College.

Henry Rosemont  (United States)

  • Relational Self
  • Liberal Individualism
  • Community
  • Freedom
  • Egalitarianism
  • Moral Realism
  • Feminism
  • Confucianism

(60 min. Workshop, English)