I shall formulate and motivate a left-libertarian theory of justice. Like the more familiar rightlibertarianism, it holds that agents initially fully own themselves. Unlike right-libertarianism, it holds that natural resources belong to everyone in some egalitarian manner. Left-libertarianism is, I claim, a plausible version of liberal egalitarianism because it is suitably sensitive to considerations of liberty, security, and equality.
It is both an ideal and an assumption of traditional conceptions of justice for liberal democracies that citizens are autonomous, self-governing persons. Yet standard accounts of the self and of self-government at work in such theories are hotly disputed and often roundly criticized in most of their guises. John Christman offers a sustained critical analysis of both the idea of the 'self' and of autonomy as these ideas function in political theory, offering interpretations of these ideas which avoid such disputes (...) and withstand such criticisms. Christman's model of individual autonomy takes into account the socially constructed nature of persons and their complex cultural and social identities, and he shows how this model can provide a foundation for principles of justice for complex democracies marked by radical difference among citizens. His book will interest a wide range of readers in philosophy, politics, and the social sciences. (shrink)
In this article, I respond to Eric Nelson's claim (in "Liberty: One Concept Too Many?") that the most prominent versions of a positive concept of freedom all reduce to negative notions. I argue that in his otherwise scholarly and well-argued article, Nelson confuses a conceptual dispute with a normative one based on moral or political principle. Further I point out that the traditional critique of positive conceptions of liberty, which rests on skepticism about perfectionist conceptions of political value, is lost (...) if we see the debate in the way Nelson lays it out. When these issues are disentangled, I suggest that there is indeed conceptual space for uniquely "positive" conceptions of freedom, and I suggest that the idea of "autonomy " can be taken for such a notion and indeed represents a value worth taking seriously in current discussions of justice. (shrink)
In recent years the concepts of individual autonomy and political liberalism have been the subjects of intense debate, but these discussions have occurred largely within separate academic disciplines. Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism contains for the first time new essays devoted to foundational questions regarding both the notion of the autonomous self and the nature and justification of liberalism. Written by leading figures in moral, legal and political theory, the volume covers inter alia the following topics: the nature of (...) the self and its relation to autonomy, the social dimensions of autonomy and the political dynamics of respect and recognition, and the concept of autonomy underlying the principles of liberalism. (shrink)
This accessible and user-friendly text will prove invaluable to any student coming to social and political philosophy for the first time. It provides a broad survey of fundamental social and political questions in modern society, as well as clear, accessible discussions of the philosophical issues central to political thought. Topics covered include: the foundations of political authority, the nature and grounds of economic justice, the limits of tolerance, considerations of community, race, gender, and culture in questions of justice, and radical (...) critiques of current political theories. (shrink)
By combining normative philosophy and empirical social science, we craft a research framework for assessing differential expectations embodied in normative conceptions of the economic social contract in the United States. We argue that there are distinctviews of such a contract grounded in individualist and communitarian philosophical ideologies. We apply this framework to organizational downsizing, postulating that certain human resource practices, in combination with the respective ideological orientations, will affect perceptions of the justice of downsizing policies.Living up to one’s word is (...) a decisive measure of moral character. Within the microsocial realm of the family, promises and commitments derive their social force and cultural meaning from the idea that love or biology binds people together in an absolute way. But outside of this world, in the larger society, the only thing binding people together is a sense that there is a social contract, a set of common obligations held collectively by society as a whole. But today’s workers say no one seems to care whether these promises are kept. (shrink)
The Myth of Property is the first book-length study to focus directly on the variable and complex structure of ownership. It critically analyses what it means to own something, and it takes familiar debates about distributive justice and recasts them into discussions of the structure of ownership. The traditional notion of private property assumed by both defenders and opponents of that system is criticized and exposed as a "myth." The book then puts forward a new theory of what it means (...) to own something, one that will be important for any theory of distributive justice. This new approach more adequately reveals the disparate social and individual values that property ownership serves to promote. The study has importance for understanding the reform of capitalist and welfare state systems, as well as the institution of market economies in former socialist states, for the view developed here makes the traditional dichotomy between private ownership capitalism and public ownership socialism obsolete. This new approach to ownership also places egalitarian principles of distributive justice in a new light and challenges critics to clarify aspects of property ownership worth protecting against calls for greater equality. The book closes by showing how defenders of egalitarianism can make use of some of the ideas and values that traditionally made private property appear to be such a pervasive human institution. (shrink)
The concept of individual autonomy is one of the most frequently utilized--and perhaps least understood--terms of current moral, political, and legal debate. The first anthology devoted entirely to this philosophical concept, The Inner Citadel includes both extensive discussions of autonomy itself and theoretical applications of autonomy to various areas of philosophical inquiry. John Christman has assembled essays, many appearing in print for the first time, by such eminent philosophers as Gerald Dworkin, Joel Feinberg, Harry Frankfurt, and David A. J. Richards. (...) Together, these essays provide the necessary foundation for the myriad debates and controversies in areas such as bioethics, feminism, and paternalism whose resolution turns on the nature and value of individual autonomy. As the idea of autonomy is central to such a wide range of philosophical issues and impinges on other disciplines as well, The Inner Citadel will be essential for courses in moral, political, social, and legal philosophy, as well as a valuable resource for students of law, political science, and psychology. (shrink)