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response to Pojman 1 - APANewsletters Fall1999...

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APA Newsletters Fall 1999 Volume 99, Number 1 Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience Articles Previous  |  Next APA ’98 Response to Prof. Louis Pojman’s "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 Pojman’s  "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 Pojman’s 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 Pojman’s (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 
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it stop? People who have suffered child abuse may be more needy  than poor whites or blacks. Shouldn’t we include them as well,  Pojman asks? "The only group not on the list is that of white males. 
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