Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Man Moral Cosmopolitan Cilture and The Birth of Post Human Man

Dr Jason Hill.

If questions about the respect due to culture are problematic, questions about the ownership of culture are even thornier. Anthropologists, ethnographers—to say nothing of philosophers trying to make sense of the terms applied to designate concepts of identity associated with culture—must wrestle with the following issues: what does a code of cultural privacy look like and how might it be implemented vis-à-vis culture? At what point does one regard “esoteric knowledge,” and fear of its loss as valid grounds for believing that they constitute the essential grounding of a culture and ought to be protected against intrusion, modification, and, above all, interpretations that fall too far outside the schemata of significant spokespersons of said culture? How does a society deal with groups that assert an indigenous identity without demonstrating continuity with ancestral practices?
Attempts to answer the above questions and continued debates surrounding them are centered especially in the discourse on indigenous cultures. The controversy itself brews in those cultures all over the globe, from the Cree Indians in Canada, Aborigines in Australia to Hopi’s in North America. There is a great deal of debate about the ownership and protection of what is regarded as Native Culture. There are documented cases of any number of examples of knowledge, held by a handful of anointed experts that become lost or stolen by anthropologists, missionaries and other miners of human artifacts.
In this paper I examine recent legal debates in the field of anthropology and folklorism around the notion of cultural privacy. I argue that cultural privacy is a conceptually vacuous term because culture by definition is public. I show that claims for cultural privacy are granted philosophical respectability by a term known as the, ‘culture-faith theory of culture’. As a successor term to religion, faith in the cultural norms and symbols is expected to resemble traditional defenses of religion. Here, culture functions as a legitimate and healthy guide for a person’s moral decisions by way of a kind of faith. Culture faith theorists model this faith on the version of Christian faith defended by St. Augustine.
In this paper, I show that that the claim to cultural privacy made by indigenous peoples is false, harmful and keeps them outside the global commons of humanity in the twenty-first century.


Dr Jason Hill  (United States)
Assistant Professor in Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
De Paul University

I am the author of one book:" Becoming a Cosmopolitan: What it means to be a Human Being in the New Millennium." I was born and raised in Jamaica and migrated to USA in 1985 at the age of 20. I earned my PH.D in philosophy at Purdue University in 1998

  • Moral philosopy
  • Moral psychology
  • philosophical anthropology

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)