response to Pojman 1

response to Pojman 1 - APA Newsletters Fall 1999 Volume 99,...

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Unformatted text preview: APA Newsletters Fall 1999 Volume 99, Number 1 Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience Articles Previous | Next APA 98 Response to Prof. Louis Pojmans "Why Affirmative Action Is Immoral" Albert Mosley Ohio University In philosophical debates, opponents are typically expected to "go for the jugular," expose the fatal weaknesses of the alternative proposed, and undermine the arguments for it. However, from the beginning I have felt that such an attitude was inappropriate for the debate between Loius Pojman and myself. I am touched by his efforts as an active supporter of, and participant in, the 1960s struggle for civil rights, his service as a pastor to an urban black inner city church, and his belief in a sense of equal justice for all. Clearly, these are sentiments I support. To attempt to seriously undermine such an ally of the past and potential ally of the future seemed tragically inappropriate. As I was about halfway through crafting my response to Pojmans "Why Affirmstive Action is Immoral?" I learnt with great regret that he had suffered a stroke. This reinforced my initial inclinations to try and make our debate more than a winner-take-all type contest. I will follow the traditional pattern of pointing out what I consider to be the weaknesses in many of Pojmans arguments. However, I believe each of us is attempting to make a serious effort to appreciate why the other is likely to continue supporting his position, notwithstanding the objections to it. In order to facilitate this, I have arranged the following in terms of Pojmans (LP) claims and my (AM) responses. LP1 : In previous writings I have pointed out that other groups besides blacks have benefited from affirmative action. While I intended this to show that affirmative action was not just for blacks and women, Pojman nonetheless considered this to be part of the problem. If, he argues, all groups who have been harmed by past social actions were included, we would quickly exceed the total population. In only nine categories (blacks, women, hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, the physically and mentally disabled, welfare recipients, the elderly, Italians in New York City), Pojman calculates that we already have 125 percent of the population qualifying for affirmative action. Where and when should it stop? People who have suffered child abuse may be more needy than poor whites or blacks. Shouldnt we include them as well, Pojman asks? "The only group not on the list is that of white males. Are they, especially healthy, middle-class young white males,...
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response to Pojman 1 - APA Newsletters Fall 1999 Volume 99,...

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