The central value of home to human beings is the starting point for this dialogue between two sides of one thinker. One side focuses on the feelings about homelessness as a blemish on the cityscape, a shortcoming of civilization. The other side theorizes about homelessness in terms of societal obligations and respect due to persons. The two approaches come closer as they face the questions: How should we respond to homeless persons?, and, What should we do about their homelessness? The meeting of feeling and theory turns toward the humane challenge at the heart of homelessness, a challenge that must touch the heart of the thinker.
I begin with a consideration of laws that would ban begging and argue that a morally adequate interpretation of the First Amendment would support the conclusion that any legal ban on begging is unconstitutional. I explain why our legal tradition of First Amendment interpretation does not treat begging as protected speech, but argue that this legal tradition is open to moral criticism. I then go on to make moral arguments as to why laws and policies that do not directly involve issues of speech, but instead deny the homeless a right to make use of public spaces, also ought to be unconstitutional.
Adoptees show a lot of behavioral maladjustment and especially externalizing problems. Today we realize more that intercountry adoptees lose main aspects of their identity: their biological parents, country of origin, name, and quite often their religion as well. At the time of arrival into the adoptive family the majority of adoptees have been in some way neglected psychologically and physically. Adoptees say that they feel as if part of themselves is missing, experiencing a big empty hole inside. We call this psychic homelessness, a phenomenon that we have seen too often with adolescent and adult adoptees. These feelings of psychic homelessness correspond to the motives of searching. Two illustrative examples are given. Society and adoptive parents carry great responsibility to acknowledge the human right of adoptees, as this is for all other human beings, to have access to their own life history. Not having this access is a main reason for feelings of psychic homelessness. Adoption statistics of usa between 1999 and 2016, and the Netherlands between 1970 and 2016 are given. We see a spectacular decline in the domestic and intercountry adoptions.
Drawing on Kant’s writings in The Metaphysics of Morals, this chapter revisits the anti- homeless ordinance passed in Florida. The restriction on feeding the homeless presents an interesting test case for Kant’s normative concern with removing the conditions of dependence (or, alternatively, securing the conditions of independence). It would seem that a strict focus on Kant’s Doctrine of Right lends support to the given ordinance. That is, securing the conditions of independence is not prima facie inconsistent with the ordinance restricting feeding the homeless (and potentially other acts rooted in similar normative concerns). However, the chapter also suggests that focusing on Kant’s Doctrine of Right offers an incomplete account of Kant’s concern with the State’s treatment of the poor. This chapter explores Kant’s Doctrine of Right and the Doctrine of Virtue in an attempt to highlight the right-based consistencies but potential ethical difficulties with some of the recently instantiated ordinances. This will offer important insight into the ethical demands that conditions of homelessness generate for the State.
The plight of the homeless is examined as an existential and psychological form of violence. This chapter brings into focus the profound meaning of “place” as fundamental to the identity of personhood. Since the homeless are deprived of a place, there is, over time, a diminished sense of being a person, a level of existence that is morally reprehensible.