Pablo Gilabert Concordia University
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About me
I am an Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). I am a native of Argentina. My areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy. Within these areas, I am currently doing research on social justice, human rights, and the role of the concept of feasibility in moral and political reasoning (including the consequences for the relation between “ideal” and “nonideal theory”) My research and teaching interests also include topics in global justice, distributive justice, democratic theory, contractualist theories in normative ethics, the Frankfurt School tradition of critical theory, Kant’s practical philosophy, Marxism and socialism, and the history of moral and political philosophy. My research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture. I have been an HLA Hart Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford, a DAAD Fellow at the University of Frankfurt, a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University. My papers appeared in journals such as The Journal of Political Philosophy, Political Theory, The Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Studies, Kant-Studien, The Monist, Social Theory and Practice, and Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, among others. I am also the author of *From Global Poverty to Global Equality: A Philosophical Exploration* (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012).
My works
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  1. Pablo Gilabert (forthcoming). Human Rights, Human Dignity, and Power. In Rowan Cruft, Matthew Liao & Massimo Renzo (eds.), The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford University Press.
    This paper explores the connections between human rights, human dignity, and power. The idea of human dignity is omnipresent in human rights discourse, but its meaning and point is not always clear. It is standardly used in two ways, to refer to (a) a normative status of persons that makes their treatment in terms of human rights a proper response, and (b) a social condition of persons in which their human rights are fulfilled. This paper pursues three tasks. First, it (...)
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  2. Pablo Gilabert (forthcoming). Reflections on Human Rights and Power. In Adam Etinson (ed.), Human Rights: Moral or Political? Oxford University Press.
    Human rights are particularly relevant in contexts in which there are significant asymmetries of power, but where these asymmetries exist the human rights project turns out to be especially difficult to realize. The stronger can use their disproportionate power both to threaten others’ human rights and to frustrate attempts to secure their fulfillment. They may even monopolize the international discussion as to what human rights are and how they should be implemented. This paper explores this tension between the normative ideal (...)
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  3. Pablo Gilabert (2013). How Should We Think About the Relation Between Principles and Agency? Ethics and Global Politics 6 (2):75-83.
  4. Pablo Gilabert (2013). Response to My Critics. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 8 (2):121-132.
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  5. Pablo Gilabert (2013). The Capability Approach and the Debate Between Humanist and Political Perspectives on Human Rights. A Critical Survey. Human Rights Review 14 (4):299-325.
    This paper provides a critical exploration of the capability approach to human rights (CAHR) with the specific aim of developing its potential for achieving a synthesis between “humanist” or “naturalistic” and “political” or “practical” perspectives in the philosophy of human rights. Section II presents a general strategy for achieving such a synthesis. Section III provides an articulation of the key insights of CAHR (its focus on actual realizations given diverse circumstances, its pluralism of grounds, its emphasis on freedom of choice, (...)
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  6. P. Gilabert (2012). Review of Gillian Brock, Global Justice. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (3):333-338.
  7. Pablo Gilabert (2012). Comparative Assessments of Justice, Political Feasibility, and Ideal Theory. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):39-56.
    What should our theorizing about social justice aim at? Many political philosophers think that a crucial goal is to identify a perfectly just society. Amartya Sen disagrees. In The Idea of Justice, he argues that the proper goal of an inquiry about justice is to undertake comparative assessments of feasible social scenarios in order to identify reforms that involve justice-enhancement, or injustice-reduction, even if the results fall short of perfect justice. Sen calls this the “comparative approach” to the theory of (...)
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  8. Pablo Gilabert (2012). Cohen on Socialism, Equality and Community. Socialist Studies 8 (1):101-121.
  9. Pablo Gilabert (2012). From Global Poverty to Global Equality: A Philosophical Exploration. Oxford University Press, UK.
    Machine generated contents note: -- Acknowledgments -- 1. Introduction: The complexity of the debate on global justice -- Part I: Beyond Global Poverty -- 2. Basic positive duties of justice: A contractualist defense -- 3. Negative duties and the libertarian challenge -- 4. The feasibility of global poverty eradication in nonideal circumstances -- Part II: Toward Global Equality -- 5. Humanist versus associativist accounts of global equality -- 6. A humanist defense of global equality -- 7. The feasibility of global (...)
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  10. Pablo Gilabert (2012). Is There a Human Right to Democracy? A Response to Joshua Cohen. Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia Politica / Latin American Journal of Political Philosophy 1 (2):1-37.
  11. Pablo Gilabert & Holly Lawford-Smith (2012). Political Feasibility. A Conceptual Exploration. Political Studies 60 (4):809-825.
  12. Pablo Gilabert (2011). Cosmopolitan Overflow. The Monist 94 (4):584-592.
  13. Pablo Gilabert (2011). Feasibility and Socialism. Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (1):52-63.
  14. Pablo Gilabert (2011). Humanist and Political Perspectives on Human Rights. Political Theory 39 (4):439-467.
    This essay explores the relation between two perspectives on the nature of human rights. According to the "political" or "practical" perspective, human rights are claims that individuals have against certain institutional structures, in particular modern states, in virtue of interests they have in contexts that include them. According to the more traditional "humanist" or "naturalistic" perspective, human rights are pre-institutional claims that individuals have against all other individuals in virtue of interests characteristic of their common humanity. This essay argues that (...)
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  15. Pablo Gilabert (2010). Book Review of C. Beitz and R. Goodin Eds., *Global Basic Rights*. [REVIEW] Ethics 121 (1):178-182.
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  16. Pablo Gilabert (2010). Global Justice. In Mark Bevir (ed.), Encyclopedia of Political Theory. Sage.
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  17. Pablo Gilabert (2010). Kant and the Claims of the Poor. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):382-418.
  18. Pablo Gilabert (2010). The Importance of Linkage Arguments for the Theory and Practice of Human Rigths. A Response to James Nickel. Human Rights Quarterly 32 (2):425-438.
  19. Pablo Gilabert (2009). The Feasibility of Basic Socioeconomic Human Rights: A Conceptual Exploration. Philosophical Quarterly 59 (237):659-681.
    To be justifiable, the demands of a conception of human rights and global justice must be such that (a) they focus on the protection of important human interests, and (b) their fulfilment is feasible. I discuss the feasibility condition. I present a general account of the relation between moral desirability, feasibility and obligation within a conception of justice. I analyse feasibility, a complex idea including different types, domains and degrees. It is possible to respond in various ways if the fulfilment (...)
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  20. Arash Abizadeh & Pablo Gilabert (2008). Is There a Genuine Tension Between Cosmopolitan Egalitarianism and Special Responsibilities? Philosophical Studies 138 (3):349 - 365.
    Samuel Scheffler has recently argued that some relationships are non-instrumentally valuable; that such relationships give rise to “underived” special responsibilities; that there is a genuine tension between cosmopolitan egalitarianism and special responsibilities; and that we must consequently strike a balance between the two. We argue that there is no such tension and propose an alternative approach to the relation between cosmopolitan egalitarianism and special responsibilities. First, while some relationships are non-instrumentally valuable, no relationship is unconditionally valuable. Second, whether such relationships (...)
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  21. Christian Barry & Pablo Gilabert (2008). Does Global Egalitarianism Provide an Impractical and Unattractive Ideal of Justice? International Affairs 84 (5):1025-1039.
    In his important new book National responsibility and global justice, David Miller presents a systematic challenge to existing theories of global justice. In particular, he argues that cosmopolitan egalitarianism must be rejected. Such views, Miller maintains, would place unacceptable burdens on the most productive political communities, undermine national self-determination, and disincentivize political communities from taking responsibility for their fate. They are also impracticable and quite unrealistic, at least under present conditions. Miller offers an alternative account that conceives global justice in (...)
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  22. Pablo Gilabert (2008). Global Justice and Poverty Relief in Nonideal Circumstances. Social Theory and Practice 34 (3):411-438.
  23. Pablo Gilabert (2008). Rawls's Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy. [REVIEW] Social Theory and Practice 34 (4):640-647.
  24. Pablo Gilabert (2007). Contractualism and Poverty Relief. Social Theory and Practice 33 (2):277-310.
  25. Pablo Gilabert (2007). Comentarios Sobre la Concepcion de la Justicia Global de Pogge. Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 33 (2):205-222.
    This paper presents a reconstruction of and some constructive comments on Thomas Pogge’s conception of global justice. Using Imre Lakatos’s notion of a research program, the paper identifies Pogge’s “hard core” and “protective belt” claims regarding the scope of fundamental principles of justice, the object and structure of duties of global justice, the explanation of world poverty, and the appropriate reforms to the existing global order. The paper recommends some amendments to Pogge’s program in each of the four areas.
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  26. Pablo Gilabert (2007). La Justice Globale, le Multiculturalisme et les Revendications des Immigrants. Philosophiques 34 (1):41-60.
  27. Pablo Gilabert (2006). Basic Positive Duties of Justice and Narveson's Libertarian Challenge. Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):193-216.
    Are positive duties to help others in need mere informal duties of virtue or can they also be enforceable duties of justice? In this paper I defend the claim that some positive duties (which I call basic positive duties) can be duties of justice against one of the most important prin- cipled objections to it. This is the libertarian challenge, according to which only negative duties to avoid harming others can be duties of justice, whereas positive duties (basic or nonbasic) (...)
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  28. Pablo Gilabert (2006). Considerations on the Notion of Moral Validity in the Moral Theories of Kant and Habermas. Kant-Studien 97 (2):210-227.
    In what follows I will consider Kant's and Habermas's conceptions of moral validity in a comparative and critical way. First, I will reconstruct Habermas's discursive or deliberative reformulation of Kant's moral theory (sec.1). And, second, I will introduce some comparative critical considerations (2). I will contend that, though much is gained with Habermas's intersubjectivist reformulation of Kant's moral philosophy, some problems emerge that could be treated with the help of certain Kantian insights. I will focus on Kant's and Habermas's strictly (...)
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  29. Pablo Gilabert (2006). Global Justice, Democracy and Solidarity. Res Publica 12 (4):435-443.
  30. Pablo Gilabert (2005). A Substantivist Construal of Discourse Ethics. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 13 (3):405 – 437.
    This paper presents a substantivist construal of discourse ethics, which claims that we should see our engagement in public deliberation as expressing and elaborating a substantive commitment to basic moral ideas of solidarity, equality, and freedom. This view is different from Habermas's standard formalist defence of discourse ethics, which attempts to derive the principle of discursive moral justification from primarily non-moral presuppositions of rational argumentation as such. After explicating the difference between the substantivist and the formalist construal, I (...)
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  31. Pablo Gilabert (2005). Should Discourse Ethics Do Without a Principle of Universalization? Philosophical Forum 36 (2):183–191.
  32. Pablo Gilabert (2005). The Duty to Eradicate Global Poverty: Positive or Negative? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (5):537 - 550.
    In World Poverty and Human Rights, Thomas Pogge argues that the global rich have a duty to eradicate severe poverty in the world. The novelty of Pogges approach is to present this demand as stemming from basic commands which are negative rather than positive in nature: the global rich have an obligation to eradicate the radical poverty of the global poor not because of a norm of beneficence asking them to help those in need when they can at little cost (...)
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  33. Pablo Gilabert (2005). The Substantive Dimension of Deliberative Practical Rationality. Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (2):185-210.
    The aim of this paper is to propose a model for understanding the relation between substance and procedure in discourse ethics and deliberative democracy capable of answering the common charge that they involve an ‘empty formalism’. The expressive-elaboration model introduced here answers this concern by arguing that the deliberative practical rationality presupposed by discourse ethics and deliberative democracy involves the creation of a practical medium in which certain general basic ideas of solidarity, equality and freedom are expressed and elaborated in (...)
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  34. Pablo Gilabert (2005). Two Sets of Concerns About Heath's Pragmatic Theory of Convergence. Dialogue 44 (2):383-390.
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