The distinction between the artes liberales (liberal arts) and artes serviles (servile arts) is a distinction going back to the Greek world. One field of study is devoted to use-less knowledge (understood as significant though non-pragmatic), and the other devoted to practical, pragmatically justified problems in the concrete world of daily labour. While the details of such a distinction require delineation, the basic idea emerges: Practical problems are conceptually distinct from philosophical ones—in the strong, Platonic conception of philosophy (as the use-less love of wisdom). Problematically, though, this implies that ethical questions are bound to the use-less, that is, the questions addressed are pursued with no reference to social and political utility. This, I suggest, creates a form of cognitive dissonance. I will argue, the distinction denotes two spaces which, inevitably, have the potentiality to overlap. More than that, their point of interaction resides in precisely the points at which philosophical speculation has direct bearing on practical, servile questions. One of these areas, I argue, resides in ethical debates—including the problem of homelessness.
Liberatory thought in Latin American philosophy leads to the question of the reinterpretation of historical time consciousness. In the following pages I first introduce the challenge as articulated out of Latin American thought, particularly with reference to Enrique Dussel and Aníbal Quijano, and then I develop a reinterpretation of historical time consciousness in its happening as understood through Hans-Georg Gadamer’s discussion of effected historical consciousness (Wirkungsgeschichtliches Bewußtsein) in Truth and Method. As already marked by this trajectory, this essay is not comparative, but, through a dialogue with these thinkers, seeks to rethink the temporalizing-historical movement that is historical consciousness as a possible path to engaging in and understanding liberatory philosophy.
One third of the homeless population is mentally ill. This chapter demonstrates that percentage is sustained by a Libertarian view of rights; namely negative rights. Such rights do not fulfill the subsistence rights, rights that are positive and claim security, food, and shelter. The right to have a home is stymied by a series of ad hoc ordinances which satisfy rights of non-interference which leaves homeless to fend for themselves on the streets. An argument is developed for autonomy in proportion to what can be exercised by people without a home; conventional autonomy. Conventional autonomy overrides libertarian autonomy and defends the claim rights of the homeless to have a home.