Immigration restrictions in the real world Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9901-z Authors Christopher Heath Wellman, Department of Philosophy, Washington University, St. Louis, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In this article I argue that critics of John Rawls's The Law of Peoples wrongly presume that Rawls sought to offer a comprehensive theory of global justice, when he meant more minimally to respond to a specific practical problem: I concede that my reading is not uniformly supported by all aspects of the text, but The Law of Peoples is a rich and complex work that does not univocally recommend any single reading, and my construal squares with Rawls's own description (...) of the project. More importantly, my interpretation is recommended by the principle of charity, insofar as it provides Rawls with plausible responses to the commonly-voiced objections. In other words, if Rawls is understood as offering a comprehensive theory of global justice, then many of the standard criticisms appear quite damning. But if his aim is the more modest one of recommending how liberal (and decent) societies might permissibly organize their foreign policies so as to help eliminate unjust war, oppression, religious persecution and the denial of liberty of conscience, starvation, poverty, genocide and mass murder, then Rawls's book is not problematic in the ways that so many have supposed. (shrink)
Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question. Appealing to the right to freedom of association, Wellman contends that legitimate states have broad discretion to exclude potential immigrants, even those who desperately seek to enter. Against this, Cole argues that the commitment to the moral equality (...) of all human beings - which legitimate states can be expected to hold - means national borders must be open: equal respect requires equal access, both to territory and membership; and that the idea of open borders is less radical than it seems when we consider how many territorial and community boundaries have this open nature. In addition to engaging with each other's arguments, Wellman and Cole address a range of central questions and prominent positions on this topic. The authors therefore provide a critical overview of the major contributions to the ethics of migration, as well as developing original, provocative positions of their own. (shrink)
Abstract: Democracy is regularly heralded as the only form of government that treats political subjects as free and equal citizens. On closer examination, however, it becomes apparent that democracy unavoidably restricts individual freedom, and it is not the only way to treat all citizens equally. In light of these observations, we argue that the non-instrumental reasons to support democratic governance stem, not from considerations of individual freedom or equality, but instead from the importance of respecting group self-determination. If this is (...) correct, it implies that a state may choose democracy, but its right to self-determination means that it is also free, in principle, to decide in favor of some nondemocratic alternative. (shrink)
: After defining a hate crime as an offense in which the criminal selects the victim at least in part because of an animus toward members of the group to which the victim belongs, this essay surveys the standard justifications for state punishment en route to defending the permissibility of imposing stiffer penalties for hate crimes. It also argues that many standard instances of rape and domestic battery are hate crimes and may be punished as such.
The central question in political philosophy is whether political states have the right to coerce their constituents and whether citizens have a moral duty to obey the commands of their state. Christopher Heath Wellman and A. John Simmons defend opposing answers to this question. Wellman bases his argument on samaritan obligations to perform easy rescues, arguing that each of us has a moral duty to obey the law as his or her fair share of the communal samaritan chore of rescuing (...) our compatriots from the perils of the state of nature. Simmons counters that this, and all other attempts to explain our duty to obey the law, fail. He defends a position of philosophical anarchism, the view that no existing state is legitimate and that there is no strong moral presumption in favor of obedience to, or compliance with, any existing state. (shrink)
Given the continued popularity of virtue ethics, it is appropriate to evaluate its impact on normative theory and its ability to fulfill its promise as a new approach to ethics. In this paper, we review three new books by prominent virtue ethicists: Morals from Motives by Michael Slote, On Virtue Ethics by Rosalind Hursthouse, and Natural Goodness by Philippa Foot. We also assess the ability of virtue ethics to respond to three standard objections to the theory. Our conclusion is that (...) although more work needs to be done, virtue ethics has considerable promise as a competitor to other normative theories. (shrink)
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