Matt Zwolinski University of San Diego
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  • Faculty, University of San Diego
  • PhD, University of Arizona, 2003.

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About me
My research interests are generally in the intersection of ethics, law, and economics, with two specific areas of focus. The first involves the proper understanding and normative status of liberty and political libertarianism. The second has to do with the nature and moral significance of exploitation for individual ethics and political institutions.
My works
30 items found.
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  1. Matt Zwolinski (2013). Are Usurious? Another New Argument for the Prohibition of High Interest Loans? Business Ethics Journal Review 1 (4):22-27.
    Robert Mayer argues that certain kinds of high-interest payday loans should be legally prohibited. His reasoning is that such lending practices compel more solvent borrowers to cross-subsidize less solvent ones, and thus involve a kind of negative externality. But even if such cross-subsidization exists, I argue, this does not necessarily provide a ground for legal prohibition. Such behavior might be a necessary component of a competitive market that provides opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions to willing customers. And the alternative of (...)
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  2. Matt Zwolinski & David Schmidtz (2013). Environmental Virtue Ethics: What It Is and What It Needs to Be. In Daniel Russell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Virtue Ethics. Cambridge University Press. 221.
  3. Benjamin Powell & Matt Zwolinski (2012). The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 107 (4):449-472.
    During the last decade, scholarly criticism of sweatshops has grown increasingly sophisticated. This article reviews the new moral and economic foundations of these criticisms and argues that they are flawed. It seeks to advance the debate over sweatshops by noting the extent to which the case for sweatshops does, and does not, depend on the existence of competitive markets. It attempts to more carefully distinguish between different ways in which various parties might seek to modify sweatshop behavior, and to point (...)
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  4. Alan Wertheimer & Matt Zwolinski, Exploitation. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  5. Matt Zwolinski (2012). Review of The Cambridge Companion to Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  6. Matt Zwolinski (2012). Structural Exploitation. Social Philosophy and Policy 29 (1):154-179.
    It is commonly claimed that workers in sweatshops are wrongfully exploited by their employers. The economist's standard response to this claim is to point out that sweatshops provide their workers with tremendous benefits, more than most workers elsewhere in the economy receive and more than most of those who complain about sweatshop exploitation provide. Perhaps, though, the wrongfulness of sweatshop exploitation is to be found not in the discrete interaction between a sweatshop and its employees, but in the unjust political (...)
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  7. Matt Zwolinski (2011). Classical Liberalism and the Basic Income. Basic Income Studies 6 (2):1-14.
    This paper provides a brief overview of the relationship between libertarian political theory and the Universal Basic Income (UBI). It distinguishes between different forms of libertarianism and argues that a one form, classical liberalism, is compatible with and provides some grounds of support for UBI. A classical liberal UBI, however, is likely to be much smaller than the sort of UBI defended by those on the political left. And there are both contingent empirical reasons and principled moral reasons for doubting (...)
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  8. Matt Zwolinski (2011). States of Nature. Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (1):27-36.
    Whatever else might be said about the Lockean and Hobbesian states of nature, it is widely believe that they are mutually incompatible. One or the other (or neither) is a correct way of thinking about the state of nature, but not both. This paper argues that this intuitively plausible claim is incorrect - if not as a matter of textual interpretation, then as a matter of analysis of the concepts that we have inherited from those texts. Not only does it (...)
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  9. Denis G. Arnold, Robert Audi & Matt Zwolinski (2010). New Directions for Business Ethics Research Business Ethics Quarterly Twentieth Anniversary Forum, Part II: Recent Work in Ethical Theory and its Implications for Business Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (4):559.
     
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  10. Denis Arnold, Robert Audi & Matt Zwolinski (2010). Recent Work in Ethical Theory and its Implications for Business Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (4):559-581.
    We review recent developments in ethical pluralism, ethical particularism, Kantian intuitionism, rights theory, and climate change ethics, and show the relevance of these developments in ethical theory to contemporary business ethics. This paper explains why pluralists think that ethical decisions should be guided by multiple standards and why particularists emphasize the crucial role of context in determining sound moral judgments. We explain why Kantian intuitionism emphasizes the discerning power of intuitive reason and seek to integrate that with the comprehensiveness of (...)
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  11. Matt Zwolinski (2010). Gijs Van Donselaar, The Right to Exploit: Parasitism, Scarcity, Basic Income. Ethics 121 (1):228.
     
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  12. Matt Zwolinski (2010). Price Gouging and Market Failure. In Gerald Gaus, Julian Lamont & Christi Favor (eds.), ESSAYS ON PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS & ECONOMIC: INTEGRATION AND COMMON RESEARCH PROJECTS. Stanford University Press.
    Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. But the alleged wrongness of price gouging has been seriously under-theorized. This paper examines the argument that price gouging is morally objectionable and/or the proper subject of legal regulation because of the (...)
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  13. Matt Zwolinski (2010). Review of Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics (4):45-47.
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  14. Matt Zwolinski (2010). Review of Gijs van Donselaar, The Right to Exploit. [REVIEW] Ethics 121 (1):228-232.
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  15. Matt Zwolinski (2010). Review of The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (6).
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  16. Matt Zwolinski (2010). Van Donselaar , Gijs . The Right to Exploit: Parasitism, Scarcity, Basic Income . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 195. $65.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Ethics 121 (1):228-232.
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  17. Matt Zwolinski (ed.) (2009). Arguing About Political Philosophy. Routledge.
    Arguing About Political Philosophy is an engaging survey of political philosophy perfect for beginning and advanced undergraduates. Selections cover classic philosophical sources such as Rousseau and Locke, as well as contemporary writers such as Nozick and Dworkin. In addition, this text includes a number of readings drawn from economics, literature, and sociology which serve to introduce philosophical questions about politics in a novel and intriguing way. As well as standard topics such as political authority and distributive justice, special attention is (...)
     
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  18. Matt Zwolinski (2009). Review of Autonomy and Rights: The Moral Foundations of Liberalism. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 43 (2):255-262.
    This is a review of Horacio Spector's book on the occassion of its publiaction in paperback form in 2007. The version of the review posted here includes a number of footnotes and references that had to be deleted in the final published version.
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  19. Matt Zwolinski (2009). Dialogue on Price Gouging. Business Ethics Quarterly 19 (2):295-303.
    This commentary develops my position on the ethics of price gouging in response to Jeremy Snyder’s article, “What’s the Matter with Price Gouging.” First, it explains how the “nonworseness claim” supports the moral permissibility of price gouging, even if it does not show that price gougers are morally virtuous agents. Second, it argues that questions about price gouging and distributive justice must be answered in light of the relevant possible institutional alternatives, and that Snyder’s proposed alternatives to price gouging fare (...)
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  20. Matt Zwolinski (2009). Liberty. In John Shand (ed.), Central Issues in Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. 275--286.
    This essay is intended to provide an introductory overview of the philosophical problems involved in understanding the nature and value of liberty, and the range and categories of philosophic solutions that have been offered to those problems. This essay covers the distinction between negative and positive liberty, MacCallum's tripartite analysis of liberty, debates over the subject of liberty and the significance of various constraints on liberty, and the significance of philosophical analyses of liberty for political philosophy. Concludes with a short (...)
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  21. Matt Zwolinski (2009). Price Gouging, Non-Worseness, and Distributive Justice. Business Ethics Quarterly 19 (2):295-306.
    This paper develops my position on the ethics of price gouging in response to Jeremy Snyder's article, "What's the Matter with Price Gouging." First, it explains how the "nonworseness claim" supports the moral permissibility of price gouging, even if it does not show that price gougers are morally virtuous agents. Second, it argues that questions about price gouging and distributive justice must be answered in light of the relevant possible institutional alternatives, and that Snyder's proposed alternatives to price gouging fare (...)
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  22. Matt Zwolinski, Libertarianism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This paper is an encyclopedia entry on the political philosophy of libertarianism, written for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It discusses the major contemporary strands of libertarianism and their historical roots, and presents some of the main criticisms of these strands. Its focus is on libertarianism as a doctrine about distributive justice and political authority, and specifically on the consequentialist and natural rights formulations of these views.
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  23. Matt Zwolinski (2008). The Ethics of Price Gouging. Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (3):347-378.
    Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the philosophic issues surrounding price gouging, and to argue that the common moral condemnation of it is largely mistaken. I make this (...)
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  24. Matt Zwolinski (2008). The Separateness of Persons and Liberal Theory. Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (2):147-165.
    The fact that persons are separate in some descriptive sense is relatively uncontroversial. But one of the distinctive ideas of contemporary liberal political philosophy is that the descriptive fact of our separateness is normatively momentous. John Rawls and Robert Nozick both take the separateness of persons to provide a foundation for their rejection of utilitarianism and for their own positive political theories. So why do their respective versions of liberalism look so different? This paper claims that the difference is based (...)
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  25. Matt Zwolinski (2007). Sweatshops, Choice, and Exploitation. Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (4):689-727.
    This paper argues that a sweatshop worker's choice to accept the conditions of his or her employment is morally significant, both as an exercise of autonomy and as an expression of preference. This fact establishes a moral claim against interference in the conditions of sweatshop labor by third parties such as governments or consumer boycott groups. It should also lead us to doubt those who call for MNEs to voluntarily improve working conditions, at least when their arguments are based on (...)
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  26. Matt Zwolinski & Choice Sweatshops (2007). Ezploration,". Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (4).
     
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  27. Matt Zwolinski (2006). Why Not Regulate Private Discrimination? San Diego Law Review 43 (Fall):1043.
    In the United States, discrimination based on race, religion, and other suspect categories is strictly regulated when it takes place in hiring, promotion, and other areas of the world of commerce. Discrimination in one's private affairs, however, is not subject to legal regulation at all. Assuming that both sorts of discrimination can be equally morally wrong, why then should this disparity in legal treatment exist? This paper attempts to find a theory that can simultaneously explain these divergent treatments by providing (...)
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  28. Matt Zwolinski & David Schmidtz (2005). Virtue Ethics and Repugnant Conclusions. In R. Sandler & P. Cafaro (eds.), Environmental Virtue Ethics. Rowman & Littlefield. 107--17.
    Both utilitarian and deontological moral theories locate the source of our moral beliefs in the wrong sorts of considerations. One way this failure manifests itself, we argue, is in the ways these theories analyze the proper human relationship toward the non-human environment. Another, more notorious, manifestation of this failure is found in Derek Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion. Our goal is to explore the connection between these two failures, and to suggest that they are failures of act-centered moral theories in general. As (...)
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  29. David Schmidtz & Matt Zwolinski (2003). A Companion to Environmental Philosophy. Environmental Ethics 25 (1):99-104.
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  30. Matt Zwolinski (2003). Person-Neutrality and the Separateness of Persons. Southwest Philosophical Studies 25:95.
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