When groups feature in political philosophy, it is usually in one of three contexts: the redressing of past or current injustices suffered by ethnic or cultural minorities; the nature and scope of group rights; and questions around how institutions are supposed to treat a certain specific identity/cultural/ethnic group. What is missing from these debates is a comprehensive analysis of groups as both agents and objects of social policies. While this has been subject to much scrutiny by sociologists and social psychologists, (...) it has received less attention from a normative and philosophical point of view. This volume asks: what problems are posed to political philosophy by a collection of individuals who act or are treated in a collective way? Focusing not only on ways in which institutions should treat groups, but also on the normative implications of considering groups as possible social agents, when acting either in vertical relations with the state or in horizontal relations with other groups (or individuals), this book explores these issues from both theoretical and practical perspectives, combining questions about the nature of groups, and their social and political impacts, with the particular, pressing considerations to which such groups give rise. (shrink)
Is liberalism adaptable enough to the ecological agenda to deal satisfactorily with the challenges of anthropogenic climate change while leaving its normative foundations intact? Compatibilists answer yes; incompatibilists say no. Comparing such answers, this article argues that it is not discrete liberal principles which impede adapatability, so much as the constructivist model (exemplified in Rawls) of what counts as a valid normative principle. Constructivism has both normative and ontological variants, each with a realist counterpart. I argue that normative constructivism in (...) the Rawlsian mode, whatever its strengths elsewhere, is markedly ill?equipped to deal with the particular normative challenges posed by climate change ? and that that these doubts holds regardless of which stance is adopted as its ontological corollary. (shrink)
Democracy is crucially about inclusion: a theory of democracy must account for who is to be included in the democratic process, how, and on what terms. Inclusion, if conceived democratically, is fraught with tensions. This article identifies three such tensions, arising respectively in: (i) the inauguration of the democratic public; (ii) enabling equal participation; and (iii) the relationship between instrumental and non-instrumental accounts of democracy’s value. In each case, I argue, rather than seeking somehow to dissolve or avoid such tensions, (...) theories of democracy should allow us to live with their implications reflexively: to work with them. Such tensions are counter-democratic to the extent that they derail what Nancy Fraser calls “participatory parity,” under which citizens count as “full partners in social interaction.” But the extent to which they do this is not itself dependent on points of paradox in the very idea of inclusion. Such parity relies on complex factors, social and economic, which democratic institutions and procedures will not by themselves address. To achieve full democratic inclusion we must already have addressed such factors; no account of democracy itself, however finely-tuned, will do this. (shrink)
Liberal theories of justice typically claim that political institutions should be justifiable to those who live under them – whatever their values. The more such values diverge, the greater the challenge of justifiability. Diversity of this kind becomes especially pronounced when the institutions in question are supra-national. Focusing on the case of the European Union, this paper aims to address a basic question: what kinds of value should inform the justification of political institutions facing a plurality of value systems? One (...) route to an answer is provided by John Rawls, who famously distinguishes between comprehensive and political values, and defends the exclusion of the former from the foundations of a political theory of justice. This paper questions the tenability of the Rawlsian solution, and draws attention to an alternative twofold conceptual distinction: that between minimal and non-minimal and between substantive and procedural values. Minimal values are meant to be as independent as possible of controversial conceptions of the good and views of the world, regardless of whether these are comprehensive or purely political. It will be argued that their endorsement may thus further specify the nature of what should be shared in order to justify political institutions in conditions of pluralism. In order to further refine the account of such basis of justification, two variants of minimalism will be presented according to whether they invest substantive or procedural values. Substantive values qualify the property of an outcome; procedural values qualify the property of a procedure. The latter part of the paper consists of a ‘face-off’ between minimal proceduralism and minimal substantivism, considering reasons in favour of the adoption of each. The result, we suggest, is a helpful reorientation of the political dimension of the value debates to which the multiplicity of values amid contemporary European horizons give rise. (shrink)
In Reference re E.I. the Supreme Court of Canada was asked to assess the constitutionality of the federally administered maternity and parental leave benefit regime. This social programme has been a key site of feminist struggle in Canada, with attention focused in recent years on whether the benefit, as delivered, was an equality-enhancing regime. This note examines the way in which the questions posed to the Supreme Court of Canada were framed in a manner that obscured the essential equality dimensions (...) of the issue before the Court. It is argued, however, that, notwithstanding the relatively formal division of powers answer that the Court was called upon to give, the decision is a promisingly substantive reflection on the debate over the most effective means to recognize the care-giving labour of Canadian parents through the delivery of this benefit. (shrink)
In this article I explore background questions with reference to two recent strands in anti-foundationalist theory: Richard Rorty's neo-pragmatism, and Keith Jenkins's postmodernist treatment of historiography. Both approaches seek fresh perspectives on our relationship to history which reject the aspiration towards a perspective positioned at any kind of Archimedean point, beyond the clutches of time and chance. Both might be called 'historicist' in the sense that rather than seeking to play down or to escape the flux of contingency, they seek (...) to embrace it. And both, it seems, seek a kind of 'zero point', as Adorno once called it: a plea to 'forget' the stain of past thinking and experience in order to begin on a new footing.4 They offer forms of therapy; a relief from anxieties to which only bad philosophical habits have made us subject. (shrink)
edited by Doris Schroeder, welcomes contributions on all health topics related to human rights and relevant generic contributions from the human rights debate. To submit a paper or to discuss suitable topics, please e-mail Doris Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org. a.