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April 6th Notes

2 Pages
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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL271H1
Professor
moreua

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Exam Format:
2 hours
2 essays, one on Equality and another on Liberty.
Today!s Lecture:
1. Ground-based approach to discrimination:
1.1. What makes something a ground?
1.2. Do the grounds demarcate different kinds of discrimination?
1.3. Advantages of a grounds-based approach
2. Iyer!s Discussion
2.1. 2 problems with any list of grounds.
2.2. 2 problems with claimants having to pigeon-hole their claim into a ground.
3. Examples of grounds: race, sex, age, religion, ethnic origin, disability.
4. Not recognized as grounds: poverty, physical appearance.
In Canada and the US, we have a list of prohibited grounds in the Charter Rights of Freedoms. (Section
15)
In Canada, if a claimant wants to make a claim they need to prove that they have differentiated from
others.
Sexual orientation is considered an analogous ground.
Immutability
A problem with immutability is physical appearance. There is a personal cost to someone who wants to
change their religion. The religion is also not completely accepting of others without some sort of
initiation.
Constructive immutability: Something that you can not change without a great cost.
What is the court trying to get at? Why do we want to protect people from being excluded from an
institution based on something that they cannot change?
You can say that it might be arbitrary in the sense that the exclusion is arbitrary or maybe it is just an
arbitrary feature of them.
Someone can say that someone!s religion is very unlike one!s age and sex. If we think about why it is
wrong to discriminate against someone based on sex or religion, you may come up with very different
sets of reasons.
There are some disabilities that do become a part of who you are.
Age is a difficult one. One one hand, it has a great impact on our sense of self. On the other hand, it
could be completely unimportant to us.
What is the problem with looking at this issue only in terms of the relevance to government!s interest?
Why is it not just about relevance?
You can imagine that the government comes up with an act where racial discrimination is the key
purpose.
There can be more than one discrimination and acts need to incorporate more than one of these forms
in acts.
Intersectionality/Intersecting grounds:
Iyer thinks that ground based approach moves us away from intersectionality.
Listing the grounds in the Charter might be part of an approach that recognizes intersecting grounds.
People tend to assume that legal categories accurately describe a single object as opposed to the
relationship between one object and another.
Placing items in a category (these people are black) suggests that you are emphasizing their similarity
with each other. She notes that actually all the categories we are talking about, are relational. They are
defined in relation to something else. To say that a group is black, is implicitly saying that they are not
white.
The second point is that all of these categories are expressions of hierarchies because the relation
between categories of black and white are never neutral.
One is always dominant that defines the set of categories and one that is not (male, female).
It is helpful to at least ask if something is a category that reflects a trait that people have specific to
themselves, or a trait that they have been prescribed to.
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Description
Exam Format: 2 hours 2 essays, one on Equality and another on Liberty. Todays Lecture: 1. Ground-based approach to discrimination: 1.1. What makes something a ground? 1.2. Do the grounds demarcate different kinds of discrimination? 1.3. Advantages of a grounds-based approach 2. Iyers Discussion 2.1. 2 problems with any list of grounds. 2.2. 2 problems with claimants having to pigeon-hole their claim into a ground. 3. Examples of grounds: race, sex, age, religion, ethnic origin, disability. 4. Not recognized as grounds: poverty, physical appearance. In Canada and the US, we have a list of prohibited grounds in the Charter Rights of Freedoms. (Section 15) In Canada, if a claimant wants to make a claim they need to prove that they have differentiated from others. Sexual orientation is considered an analogous ground. Immutability A problem with immutability is physical appearance. There is a personal cost to someone who wants to change their religion. The religion is also not completely accepting of others without some sort of initiation. Constructive immutability: Something that you can not change without a great cost. What is the court trying to get at? Why do we want to protect people from being excluded from an institution based on something that they cannot change? You can say that it might be arbitrary in the sense that the exclusion is arbitrary or maybe it is just an arbitrary feature of them. Someone can say that someones religion is very unlike ones age and sex. If we think about why it is wrong to discriminate against someone based on sex or religion, you may come up with very different sets of reasons. There are some disabilit
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