Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Rethinking the Word “Privilege”

The word “privilege” has become ubiquitous in the United States, particularly among politically active left-leaning college students and graduates. Many different people are said to be “privileged”. There’s white privilege, rich privilege, male privilege, straight privilege, and so on down the line. We are frequently encouraged to “check” our privilege, to be more aware of the extent to which racial minorities, women, LGBT people, and the poor are denied the same access to resources and social treatment we enjoy and take as given. I agree with the social justice movement that it does people born into affluence some good to remember the widely divergent environments and social circumstances their fellow citizens must endure, but I absolutely hate the use of the word “privilege” for this purpose. Here’s why.

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How Babies Learn Philosophy

Often, when subjectivists and nihilists claim that human beings construct their own conceptions of morality, they ignore the manner in which those constructions arise in the first place. How do people develop their moral beliefs? I argue that we acquire our initial beliefs through a process of social learning that all babies in all times and social contexts participate in. This kind of learning implies an inherent belief in the primacy of the objective, of the external world, and is inconsistent with the subjectivist view.

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