Change on Online Notes
class today (10.14.03) I announced a change in policy regarding
class notes posted online. Effective immediately, handouts provided
for student presentations and notes for classes led by the instructor
will be made available in class only. The reason for this change
bears careful explanation.
a matter of principle I think that students ought to be treated,
so far as possible, as autonomous grown-ups. This means, inter
alia, that I do not normally award marks for attendance
or participation, particularly in senior courses. Participation,
it seems to me, ought to be left up to the will and motivation
of students. In small class like ours, however, spotty attendance
and lack of participation is a drag for everyone (student presenters
receive less feedback, discussions lack momentum, etc.). This
policy change is intended to help motivate attendance and hence
rectify this. It is NOT intended as a punishment or as a means
of singling anybody out.
already posted will remain available (since there is no
sense in trying to change the past). From here on out, however,
handouts for student presentations will be made available after
the fact at the sole discretion of the student presenter. Notes
for classes led by the instructor will not normally be made
available after the fact.
been thinking about Blair's
remark in the class on Carens. Yes, on reflection, it seems
to me that laws governing removal and/or extradition of non-citizens
from other countries are indeed susceptible to some of the same
liberal, cosmopolitan objections that Carens raises in connection
with immigration. In particular, legal principles such as the
rule in Johnson v. Eisentrager (USSC, 1950) could be
criticized as denying non-citizens access to justice in the
same way that immirgration restrictions deny non-citizens access
to opportunity. The warrant for both sorts of principle is essentially
the same, namely, that such rules serve the interest of the
political community that endorses them.
The case that we were discussing -- the Taliban and al Qaeda
combatants being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- is nicely summarized
from a legal perspective in the following article:
is an 'Unlawful Combatant', And Why it Matters: The Status Of
Detained Al Qaeda and Taliban Fighters, Michael C. Dorf,
FindLaw.com, January 23, 2002.
interesting, I think, is Dorf's summary of the case law that
underlies recent political decisions --in particular, the tidy
way in which the rule in Ex Parte Quirin (1942) can be
used to further restrict the applicability of the rule in Eisentrager.
And in related news ...
Proposes Tracking System for Noncitizens
Washington Post, January 25, 2002
mind liberal/cosmopolitan arguments to the effect that this
may amount to unjustifiable discrimination. Fear for yourself.
As Phil Agre has pointed out, an infrastructure for tracking
people, once set up, will find other uses.
Saturday (02.09.02), my friend Andrew Potter (Philosophy, Trent
University) was on CBC Radio One's Definitely Not The Opera
offering some opinions on nationalism and the Olympics:
(0.98 Mb., RealPlayer required)
I bring this to your attention because it's timely, as much
as anything else. And also because Potter's piece serves as
nice example of how political philosophers, when you put a microphone
in front of them, have to strike a balance between intelligibility
and having something worthwhile to say. (When you let CBC Saskatoon
stick a mike in your face you end up having to choose between
the two. Potter has the right idea: Meet them on your terms,
contribute an editorial instead. )
But there is something course-related to be seen here as well.
The Olympics can serve as a kind of limit case for seeing just
how far we can follow cosmopolitan liberals like Carens. In
particular, why do we insist on seeing the Olympics as a competition
Gadamer dies, aged 102
(TheTimes UK, March 16, 2002)
appears in this course as coiner of the phrase "fusion
of horizons." That phrase, you'll recall, is employed by
Taylor in describing the justifiable sort of multicultural society.
recent poll conducted by Leger Marketing suggests that Ontarians
British Columbians are more likely than other Canadians to identify
first and foremost with Canada instead of with their province
Saskatoon StarPhoenix, March 26, 2002
special interest for us, perhaps, is the echo of Laforest's
claim about how the
term "Canada" is understood by Quebecers (see the
remarks by Robin Philpot
toward the end of the piece).
Perestroika" and the American Political Science Review
following batch of URLs pertain to some rather strange goings
on in the professional world of US political science over past
few months. These began with a mass e-mail campaign by one "Mr.
Perestroika" in late 2000 and have recently snowballed
into a kind of self-conscious reform movement that is really
quite rare in academe. The movement is most often described
as a revolt against the mathematicization of political science,
and against the alleged dominance of game theory, rational choice
theory and quantitative studies in APSR editorial policy. But,
in my opinion, it can also be understood as a perfectly ordinary
intramural dispute about favoritism, sour grapes, and intellectual
fashions. In any case, this is an interesting example for comparing
the state of the discipline in the US and Canada.