Portland State University Socratic Society

"Disability: A Humanistic-Pluralistic Model"

Avram Hiller, Portland State University
Thursday, November 12th  4:00 pm  Online

Many of us are, or at some point will become, disabled, either temporarily or permanently. Most of us know or love someone who is or will be disabled. Disability, as many scholars have emphasized, is part of the human condition. But moreover, the kinds of character traits that persons with disabilities bring to bear in dealing with disabilities are the same human character traits employed by all humans who face significant challenges. And the kinds of attitudes people have towards those with disabilities are similar to the attitudes people have towards other disadvantaged groups. Disability is not just part of the human condition; the human condition is how we deal with disability. In light of this, and in light of the vast diversity of both how people are and the ways and places in which people live, disability must be viewed pluralistically. In this paper, I argue that existing models of disability are inadequate because they pay insufficient attention to the ways in which disability, as a human phenomenon, is also a pluralistic one, in both the meaning of the term "disability" and in its lived experience.


"Structural Injustice and the Global Problem of Child Labor"

Ashley Kennedy, Florida Atlantic


The global problem of child labor is severe in many countries around the world. While one of the driving factors behind the practice is, unsurprisingly, poverty, in this project one of my aims is to demonstrate that other reasons, in the form of structural injustices, contribute as well. Using the specific example of the country of Myanmar, and drawing on my own field research interviews conducted there in 2017 and 2019, I will use philosophical analysis to examine these reasons which include, in addition to poverty, poor quality of public education, deeply rooted, strategic injustice in the form of an unfair matriculation exam, and gender inequity in the job market. The aim of the project is to both explicate how the global problem of child labor is related to structural injustice and to attempt to propose some possible solutions to it. In the case of child labor in Myanmar, what this involves is not only “working toward a political community able to take on emergent manifestations of injustice,” but also “looking consistently to those in struggle to develop the means to address” it (Ackerly, 2018 p.46).


Past Events

The Portland State University Socratic Society is a venue for Philosophy faculty and philosophers from outside the University to present papers or speak on various topics of interest.

Please check periodically for upcoming events, and if you are interested in presenting or participating with the Socratic Society at PSU, please contact Avram Hiller at ahiller@pdx.edu or Brad Berman at bberman@pdx.edu.