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Profile: Arash Abizadeh (McGill University)
  1. Arash Abizadeh, Manish Pandey & Sohrab Abizadeh (forthcoming). Wage Competition and the Special-Obligations Challenge to More Open Borders. Politics, Philosophy and Economics:1470594-14544286.
    According to the special-obligations challenge to the justice argument for more open borders, immigration restrictions to wealthier polities are justified because of special obligations owed to disadvantaged compatriots negatively impacted by the immigration of low-skilled foreign workers. We refute the special-obligations challenge by refuting its empirical premise and draw out the normative implications of the empirical evidence for border policies. We show that immigration to wealthier polities has negligible impact on domestic wages and that only previous cohorts of immigrants are (...)
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  2. Arash Abizadeh (2013). A Critique of the “Common Ownership of the Earth” Thesis. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 8 (2):33-40.
    In On Global Justice, Mathias Risse claims that the earth’s original resources are collectively owned by all human beings in common, such that each individual has a moral right to use the original resources necessary for satisfying her basic needs. He also rejects the rival views that original resources are by nature owned by no one, owned by each human in equal shares, or owned and co-managed jointly by all humans. I argue that Risse’s arguments fail to establish a form (...)
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  3. Arash Abizadeh (2013). Publicity, Privacy, and Religious Toleration in Hobbes's Leviathan. Modern Intellectual History 10 (2):261-291.
    What motivated an absolutist Erastian who rejected religious freedom, defended uniform public worship, and deemed the public expression of disagreement a catalyst for war to endorse a movement known to history as the champion of toleration, no coercion in religion, and separation of church and state? At least three factors motivated Hobbes’s 1651 endorsement of Independency: the Erastianism of Cromwellian Independency, the influence of the politique tradition, and, paradoxically, the contribution of early-modern practices of toleration to maintaining the public sphere’s (...)
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  4. Arash Abizadeh (2012). On the Demos and its Kin: Nationalism, Democracy, and the Boundary Problem. American Political Science Review 106 (4):867-882.
    Cultural-nationalist and democratic theory both seek to legitimize political power via collective self-rule: their principle of legitimacy refers right back to the very persons over whom political power is exercised. But such self-referential theories are incapable of jointly solving the distinct problems of legitimacy and boundaries, which they necessarily combine, once it is assumed that the self-ruling collectivity must be a pre-political, in-principle bounded, ground of legitimacy. Cultural nationalism claims that political power is legitimate insofar as it expresses the nation’s (...)
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  5. Arash Abizadeh (2011). Hobbes on the Causes of War: A Disagreement Theory. American Political Science Review 105 (02):298-315.
    Hobbesian war primarily arises not because material resources are scarce; or because humans ruthlessly seek survival before all else; or because we are naturally selfish, competitive, or aggressive brutes. Rather, it arises because we are fragile, fearful, impressionable, and psychologically prickly creatures susceptible to ideological manipulation, whose anger can become irrationally inflamed by even trivial slights to our glory. The primary source of war, according to Hobbes, is disagreement, because we read into it the most inflammatory signs of contempt. Both (...)
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  6. Arash Abizadeh (2010). Closed Borders, Human Rights, and Democratic Legitimation. In David Hollenbach (ed.), Driven From Home: Human Rights and the New Realities of Forced Migration. Georgetown University Press.
    Critics of state sovereignty have typically challenged the state’s right to close its borders to foreigners by appeal to the liberal egalitarian discourse of human rights. According to the liberty argument, freedom of movement is a basic human right; according to the equality or justice argument, open borders are necessary to reduce global poverty and inequality, both matters of global justice. I argue that human rights considerations do indeed mandate borders considerably more open than is the norm today but that, (...)
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  7. Arash Abizadeh (2010). Democratic Legitimacy and State Coercion: A Reply to David Miller. Political Theory 38 (1):121-130.
  8. Arash Abizadeh (2009). The Radical Hobbes. [REVIEW] Political Theory 37 (5):706 - 712.
  9. Arash Abizadeh, Brooke Ackerly, Andrew Altman, Scott A. Anderson, Daniel Attas, Michael Bacon, Marcia Baron, Mark Bernstein, Benjamin Bradley & Nicholas Buccola (2009). Recognition of Reviewers. Journal of Social Philosophy 40 (4):457-460.
  10. Arash Abizadeh (2008). Border Coercion and Democratic Legitimacy: Freedom of Association, Territorial Dominion, and Self-Defence. Political Theory 35 (1):37-65.
  11. Arash Abizadeh (2008). Democratic Theory and Border Coercion: No Right to Unilaterally Control Your Own Borders. Political Theory 36 (1):37-65.
    The question of whether or not a closed border entry policy under the unilateral control of a democratic state is legitimate cannot be settled until we first know to whom the justification of a regime of control is owed. According to the state sovereignty view, the control of entry policy, including of movement, immigration, and naturalization, ought to be under the unilateral discretion of the state itself: justification for entry policy is owed solely to members. This position, however, is inconsistent (...)
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  12. Arash Abizadeh, Andrew Altman, Scott Arnold, Birmingham Kim Atkins, Sorin Baisau, Derek Bell, Roslyn Bologh, Thom Brooks, Dario Castiglione & Louis Charland (2008). Recognition of Reviewers. Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (4):467-470.
  13. 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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  14. Arash Abizadeh (2007). Cooperation, Pervasive Impact, and Coercion: On the Scope (Not Site) of Distributive Justice. Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (4):318–358.
    Many anticosmopolitan Rawlsians argue that since the primary subject of justice is society's basic structure, and since there is no global basic structure, the scope of justice is domestic. This paper challenges the anticosmopolitan basic structure argument by distinguishing three interpretations of what Rawls meant by the basic structure and its relation to justice, corresponding to the cooperation (Freeman), pervasive impact (Buchanan), and coercion (Blake, Nagel) theories of distributive justice. On the cooperation theory, it is true that there is no (...)
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  15. Arash Abizadeh (2007). On the Philosophy/Rhetoric Binaries: Or, is Habermasian Discourse Motivationally Impotent? Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (4):445-472.
    The susceptibility of Habermas' socio-political theory (and notion of constitutional patriotism) to the charge of motivational impotence can be traced to a problem in the way in which he conceives of discursive practical reason. By implicitly constructing the notion of discursive rationality in contrast to, and in abstraction from, the rhetorical and affective components of language use, Habermas' notion of discursive practical reason ends up reiterating the same binaries — between reason and passion, abstract and concrete, universal and particular — (...)
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  16. Arash Abizadeh (2006). Liberal Egalitarian Arguments for Closed Borders: Some Preliminary Critical Reflections. Ethics & Economics 4 (1).
    There are at least five important arguments for why liberal egalitarianism permits states, under today's circumstances, to close their borders to foreigners: the public order, domestic economy, social integration, political threat, and domestic welfare arguments. Critical examination of these arguments suggests that liberal egalitarianism, rather than supporting a right to close one's borders to foreigners, mandates borders considerably more open than is the practice of today's self-styled liberal states.
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  17. Arash Abizadeh (2005). Does Collective Identity Presuppose an Other: On the Alleged Incoherence of Global Solidarity. American Political Science Review 99 (1):45-60.
    Two arguments apparently support the thesis that collective identity presupposes an Other: the recognition argument, according to which seeing myself as a self requires recognition by an other whom I also recognize as a self (Hegel); and the dialogic argument, according to which my sense of self can only develop dialogically (Taylor). But applying these arguments to collective identity involves a compositional fallacy. Two modern ideologies mask the particularist thesis’s falsehood. The ideology of indivisible state sovereignty makes sovereignty as such (...)
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  18. Arash Abizadeh (2005). Democratic Elections Without Campaigns? Normative Foundations of National Baha'i Elections. World Order 37 (1):7-49.
    National Baha’i elections, conducted world-wide without nominations, competitive campaigns, or parties, challenge the emerging consensus that the only truly democratic elections are multiparty elections in which each party’s candidates compete freely for votes. National Baha’i electoral institutions are based on three core values: respect for the inherent dignity of each person, the unity and solidarity of persons collectively, and the justice and fairness of institutions. While liberal political philosophy interprets respect for dignity exclusively in terms of equality and freedom, the (...)
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  19. Arash Abizadeh (2005). In Defence of the Universalization Principle in Discourse Ethics. Philosophical Forum 36 (2):193–211.
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  20. Arash Abizadeh (2005). Was Fichte an Ethnic Nationalist? On Cultural Nationalism and its Double. History of Political Thought 26 (2):334-359.
    Even though Fichte’s Reden an die deutsche Nation or Addresses to the German Nation is arguably one of the founding texts of nationalist political thought, it has received little scholarly attention from English-speaking political theorists. The French, by contrast, have a long tradition of treating Fichte as a central figure in the history of political thought, and have given considerable attention to the Reden in particular. While the dominant French interpretation, which construes the Reden as a non-ethnic cultural nationalist text, (...)
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  21. Arash Abizadeh (2004). Historical Truth, National Myths and Liberal Democracy: On the Coherence of Liberal Nationalism. Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (3):291–313.
    The claim that liberal democratic normative commitments are compatible with nationalism is challenged by the widely acknowledged fact that national identities invariably depend on historical myths: the nationalist defence of such publicly shared myths is in tension with liberal democratic theory’s commitment to norms of publicity, public justification, and freedom of expression. Recent liberal nationalist efforts to meet this challenge by justifying national myths on liberal democratic grounds fail to distinguish adequately between different senses of myth. Once this is done (...)
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  22. Arash Abizadeh (2004). Liberal Nationalist Versus Postnational Social Integration: On the Nation's Ethno-Cultural Particularity and ‘Concreteness’. Nations and Nationalism 10 (3):231-250.
    Liberal nationalists advance two claims: (1) an empirical claim that nationalism is functionally indispensable to the viability of liberal democracy (because it is necessary to social integration) and (2) a normative claim that some forms of nationalism are compatible with liberal democratic norms. The empirical claim is often supported, against postnationalists’ view that social integration can bypass ethnicity and nationality, by pointing to the inevitable ethnic and cultural particularities of all political institutions. I argue that (1) the argument that ethno-cultural (...)
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  23. Arash Abizadeh (2002). Does Liberal Democracy Presuppose a Cultural Nation? Four Arguments. American Political Science Review 96 (3):495-509.
    This paper subjects to critical analysis four common arguments in the sociopolitical theory literature supporting the cultural nationalist thesis that liberal democracy is viable only against the background of a single national public culture: the arguments that (1) social integration in a liberal democracy requires shared norms and beliefs (Schnapper); (2) the levels of trust that democratic politics requires can be attained only among conationals (Miller); (3) democratic deliberation requires communicational transparency, possible in turn only within a shared national public (...)
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  24. Arash Abizadeh (2002). The Passions of the Wise: "Phronêsis", Rhetoric, and Aristotle's Passionate Practical Deliberation. Review of Metaphysics 56 (2):267 - 296.
  25. Arash Abizadeh (2001). Banishing the Particular: Rousseau on Rhetoric, Patrie, and the Passions. Political Theory 29 (4):556-582.
    Rousseau initially attempts to secure freedom by grounding political rule in persuasion, rather than coercion. When the spectre of rhetoric undermines this strategy, he is led to ground the volonté générale in the silent and introspective disclosure of the solitary citizen’s inner conscience, which through a sentimentalist transformation of Descartes’s category of bon sens, is recast as an eminently public sentiment. But when rhetorical eloquence turns out to be indispensable to politics, Rousseau turns to republican virtue and the trope of (...)
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