At early ages, Buber, Scholem, and Rosenzweig encountered Nietzsche’s work. Nietzsche’s philosophy was reduced to short catchwords or barely mentionedin their later writings. His views on Jews and Judaism seemed to have mattered little, and he first and foremost aided their rebellious breaks with both traditionaland enlightened concepts of God. Nietzsche’s proclamation of God’s death thus served them to articulate their own unease with religious traditions. Yet in manyways the confrontation with Nietzsche was both attenuated and accentuated by the concept (...) of Erlebnis and elevation of aesthetical categories. Ironically, Nietzsche’s challenge to Jewish thought was less in his alleged anti-religious stance, than in the celebration of an unmitigated experience, which was incompatible with any attempt of forging a new critical Jewish philosophy. (shrink)
This book presents fifteen essays, written over the past dozen years, on egalitarianism. The essays explore contemporary philosophical debates on this subject, using the tools of modern economic theory, general equilibrium theory, game theory, and the theory of mechanism design. Egalitarian Perspectives is divided into four parts: the theory of exploitation; equality of resources; bargaining theory and distributive justice; and market socialism and public ownership. The first part presents Roemer's influential reconceptualisation of the Marxian theory of exploitation as a (...) theory of distributive justice. The second part offers a critique of Ronald Dworkin's equality-of-resources theory, and puts forward a new egalitarian proposal based upon a specific method of measuring individual responsibility. The third part introduces a novel application of the theory of mechanism design to the study of political philosophy, and raises new concerns about the limitations of that application. The fourth part presents the author's views on market socialism and public ownership, and demonstrates that Professor Roemer is at the forefront of refining new theories and conceptions of market socialism. (shrink)
The formal theory of equality of opportunity emerged as a response to Ronald Dworkin's (1981) characterization of resource egalitarianism, as defined by the allocation that would emerge from insurance contracts arrived at behind a thin veil of ignorance. This article compares several of the prominent versions of this response, put forth in the period 1993–2008. I argue that a generalization of Roemer's (1998) proposal is the most satisfactory approach. Inherent in that generalization is an indeterminism, which reflects a philosophical (...) problem: that we do not know what comprise the ethically correct rewards to effort. The indeterminism should be resolved, I propose, by an ancillary theory which limits the degree of inequality which is acceptable. (shrink)
In his book Why Not Socialism? , G.A. Cohen described several kinds of inequality that would be acceptable under socialism, yet nonetheless harmful to community. I describe another kind of inequality with this property, deriving from the legitimate transmission of preferences and values from parents to children. In the same book, Cohen proposes that the designing of a socialist allocation mechanism is a key problem for socialist theory. I maintain this is less of a problem than he believes. Finally, some (...) thoughts on the “law of motion of socialist ethos ” are offered. (shrink)
The crisis of 2008–2009 has been viewed primarily as a financial one, which has spilled over into the economy more generally. I want to argue that there is a much deeper crisis, of which the present one is a result. The deeper crisis is political: more specifically, it is a crisis in the ideology and social ethos of the American people. I refer to what has happened to the thinking of United States citizens since the Second World War, and the (...) dangers that that transformation entails for world peace and cooperation—let alone the creation of an economic regime in which deep financial crises do not occur. Short of a change in the ideology of a many of its citizens, I do not believe the United States can succeed in preventing a repeat performance, perhaps many encores, which become increasingly severe. (shrink)
In this volume a diverse group of economists, philosophers, political scientists, and psychologists address the problems, principles, and practices involved in comparing the well-being of different individuals. A series of questions lie at the heart of this investigation: What is the relevant concept of well-being for the purposes of comparison? How could the comparisons be carried out for policy purposes? How are such comparisons made now? How do the difficulties involved in these comparisons affect the status of utilitarian theories? This (...) collection constitutes the most advanced and comprehensive treatment of one of the cardinal issues in social theory. (shrink)
Utilitarians, maximinners, prioritarians, and sufficientarians each provide examples of situations demonstrating, often apparently compellingly, that a sensible ethical observer must adopt their view and reject the others. I argue, to the contrary, that an attractive ethic is eclectic or pluralistic, in the sense of coinciding with these apparently different views in different regions of the space of social states. I reject the view that an appealing ethic can be universally maximin, prioritarian, or utilitarian. Key Words: distributive justice utilitarianism (...) maximin sufficiency priority. (shrink)
This rejoinder to Roemer (this issue) examines Roemer's amendment to his EOp criterion, explains the similarities and differences between Roemer's approach to equality of opportunity and the economic literature inspired by the fair allocation theory, and proposes some clarifications on the compensation principle and the role of the reward principle in the definition of a responsibility-sensitive social criterion. It highlights the power of the ideal of respect for individual preferences with respect to the reward issue and the (...) concern for potential harshness of the social criterion toward the individuals who fail to make good use of their opportunities. It discusses Roemer's objection against holding individuals responsible for their preferences. (shrink)
The arts are an integral part of our culture, and they invite us to investigate, express ideas, and create aesthetically pleasing works. Of interest to educators is clear scholarship that links the arts to cognitive and intellectual development. The processes of creating art and viewing and interpreting art promote cognitive and skill development.1 Elliot Eisner, who has written extensively on this topic, argues that "Artistic activity is a form of inquiry that depends on qualitative forms of intelligence."2 Eisner suggests that (...) children can use art to question and reflect on sensory information from their daily lives, and from this reflection develop insight, awareness, and critical thinking skills.3 Expanding on .. (shrink)
Marxist roots of science studies Content Type Journal Article Category Essay Review Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9647-4 Authors Nils Roll-Hansen, Institute of Philosophy, University of Oslo, PB 1024 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
In our lives, we aim to achieve welfare for ourselves, that is, to live good lives. But we also have another, more impartial perspective, where we aim to balance our concern for our own welfare against a concern for the welfare of others. This is a perspective of justice. Nils Holtug examines these two perspectives and the relations between them. -/- The first part of the book is concerned with prudence; more precisely, with what the necessary and sufficient conditions (...) are for having a self-interest in a particular benefit. It includes discussions of the extent to which self-interest depends on preferences, personal identity, and what matters in survival. It also considers the issue of whether it can benefit (or harm) a person to come into existence and what the implications are for our theory of self-interest. A 'prudential view' is defended, according to which a person has a present self-interest in a future benefit if and only if she stands in a relation of continuous physical realization of (appropriate) psychology to the beneficiary, where the strength of the self-interest depends both on the size of the benefit and on the strength of this relation. -/- The second part of the book concerns distributive justice and so how to distribute welfare or self-interest fulfilment over individuals. It includes discussions of welfarism, egalitarianism and prioritarianism, population ethics, the importance of personal identity and what matters for distributive justice, and the importance of all these issues for various topics in applied ethics, including the badness of death. Here, a version of prioritarianism is defended, according to which, roughly, the moral value of a benefit to an individual at a time depends on both the size of the benefit and on the individual's self-interest, at that time, in the other benefits that accrue to her at this and other times. (shrink)
In her recent, provocative essay “What Is the Point of Equality?”, Elizabeth Anderson argues against a common ideal of egalitarian justice that she calls “luck egalitarianism” and in favor of an approach she calls “democratic equality.”1 According to the luck egalitarian, the aim of justice as equality is to eliminate so far as is possible the impact on people’s lives of bad luck that falls on them through no fault or choice of their own. In the ideal luck egalitarian society, (...) there are no inequalities in people’s life prospects except those that arise through processes of voluntary choice or faulty conduct, for which the agents involved can reasonably be held responsible. Anderson asserts that the adherents of luck egalitarianism, which can be elaborated in many different ways, include John Roemer, Erik Rakowski, Thomas Nagel, Ronald Dworkin, Gerald Cohen, Richard Arneson, and (with a qualification) Philippe Van Parijs.2 In contrast, according to the democratic equality conception, justice as equality requires an end to oppressive social relationships. In the ideal society of democratic equality, the social conditions of everyone’s freedom are secured, each stands to every other in a relationship of fundamental equality, including equal respect, and all have real freedom to participate in democratic self-government. (shrink)
Designed to be used on its own or with its companion text, Ultimate Questions: Thinking About Philosophy 3e, this collection of readings covers the major topic areas in philosophy: Knowledge; Free Will; Personal Identity; Mind/Body; God; Ethics; and Political Philosophy. While focusing primarily on contemporary philosophy, it also includes many of the classic works essential to an introductory course.
According to the Harm Principle, roughly, the state may coerce a person only if it can thereby prevent harm to others. Clearly, this principle depends crucially on what we understand by harm. Thus, if any sort of negative effect on a person may count as a harm, the Harm Principle will fail to sufficiently protect individual liberty. Therefore, a more subtle concept of harm is needed. I consider various possible conceptions and argue that none gives rise to a plausible version (...) of the Harm Principle. Whether we focus on welfare, quantities of welfare or qualities of welfare, we do not arrive at a plausible version of this principle. Instead, the concept of harm may be moralized. I consider various ways this may be done as well as possible rationales for the resulting versions of the Harm Principle. Again, no plausible version of the principle turns up. I also consider the prospect of including the Harm Principle in a decision-procedure rather than in a criterion of rightness. Finally, in light of my negative appraisal, I briefly discuss why this principle has seemed so appealing to liberals. (shrink)
In recent years some moral philosophers and political theorists, who have come to be called “luck egalitarians,” have urged that the essence of social justice is the moral imperative to improve the condition of people who suffer from simple bad luck. Prominent theorists who have attracted the luck egalitarian label include Ronald Dworkin, G. A. Cohen, and John Roemer.1 Larry Temkin should also be included in this group, as should Thomas Nagel at the time that he wrote Equality and (...) Partiality.2 However, each of these theorists asserts a different position. The common ground, if any, is obscure. The idea of luck that is invoked is not transparently clear. Anyway, the term “luck egalitarianism” was coined by a critic of the doctrine, and tendentiously defined to denote an extreme version of the view that looks implausible from the start.3 With some justice Ronald Dworkin, perhaps the chief architect of the luck egalitarian position, has denied that he is a luck egalitarian. (shrink)
In the natural sciences higher order structures often occur. There seems to be a need for good methods of describing what we mean by higher order structures in various contexts. This is what hyperstructures are intended to do. We motivate and introduce this new concept. Next we illustrate how it can be applied in various types of genomic analysis—particular the correlations between single nucleotide polymorphisms and diseases. The suggested structure is quite general and may be applied to a variety of (...) situations. Finally we discuss how data sets (f. ex. genomic) may lead to topological spaces, giving new invariants and lead to the prediction of hyperstructures. (shrink)
This paper is just a comment to the impressive work by A. C. Ehresmann and J.-P. Vanbremeersch on the theory of Memory Evolutive Systems (MES). MES are truly higher order systems. Hyperstructures represent a new concept which I introduced in order to capture the essence of what a higher order structure is—encompassing hierarchies and emergence. Hyperstructures are motivated by cobordism theory in topology and higher category theory. The morphism concept is replaced by the concept of a bond. In the paper (...) I briefly introduce hyperstructures motivated geometrically and suggest further developments of the MESs along these lines, which could widen up new areas of applications. (shrink)
Emergence is a universal phenomenon that can be defined mathematically in a very general way. This is useful for the study of scientifically legitimate explanations of complex systems, here defined as hyperstructures. A requirement is that the observation mechanisms are considered within the general framework. Two notions of emergence are defined, and specific examples of these are discussed.
Amartya Sen is a renowned economist who has also made important contributions to philosophical thinking about distributive justice. These contributions tend to take the form of criticism of inadequate positions and insistence on making distinctions that will promote clear thinking about the topic. Sen is not shy about making substantive normative claims, but thus far he has avoided commitment to a theory of justice, in the sense of a set of principles that specifies what facts are relevant for policy choice (...) and determines, given a full characterization of any situation in terms of these relevant facts, what ought to be done in that situation. Moreover, Sen has expressed skepticism about the existence of a fully adequate theory in this sense. According to Sen there is a plurality of moral considerations that bear on choice of action and policy and no particular reason to think that weights can be attached nonarbitrarily to each consideration to yield a theory.1 “Sen’s proposal is that distributive justice entails equalizing midfare levels across persons,” writes John Roemer.2 “Other things being equal,” one has to add by way of correction to Roemer’s formulation. Sen holds that we should be concerned with the extent of people’s capability or freedom to attain midfare as well as the midfare level actually reached. Sen holds that distributive values.. (shrink)
The focus of this paper are the meaning-theoretical arguments against classical logic that Dummett bases on consideration about the meanings of negation. Using Dummettian principles, I shall outline three such arguments, of increasing strength, and show that they are unsuccessful by giving responses to each argument on behalf of the classical logician. What is crucial is that in responding to these arguments a classicist need not challenge any of the basic assumptions of Dummett's outlook on the theory of meaning. In (...) particular, I shall grant Dummett his general bias towards verificationism or justificationism, encapsulated in the slogan `meaning is use'. The second general assumption I see no need to question is Dummett's particular breed of molecularism. Some of Dummett's assumptions will have to be given up, if classical logic is to be vindicated in his meaning-theoretical framework. A major result of this paper will be that the meaning of negation cannot be defined by rules of inference in the Dummettian framework. (shrink)
Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum have argued that justice is concerned, at least in part, with the distribution of capabilities (opportunities to function). Richard Arneson, G.A. Cohen, and John Roemer have argued that justice is concerned with something like the distribution of opportunities for well-being. I argue that, although some versions of the capability view are incompatible with some versions of the opportunity for well-being view, the most plausible version of the capability view is identical to a slight generalization (...) of the opportunity for well-being view. (shrink)
I take up the "What is equality?" controversy begun by Amartya Sen in 1979 by critically considering utility (J. S. Mill), primary goods (John Rawls), property rights (John Roemer) and basic capabilities in terms of what is to be distributed according to principles and theories of social justice. I then consider the four most general principles designed to answer issues raised by the Equality of Welfare principle, Equality of Opportunity for Welfare principle, Equality of Resources principle and Equality of (...) Opportunity for Resources principle. I consider each with respect to the more general normative principle that whatever theory of social or distributive justice we accept should be as ambition sensitive and endowment insensitive as feasible in real world circumstances. In this context I take up the problems of expensive tastes, expensive disabilities, lowered or manipulated preferences or ‘needs,’ and differential needs versus differential talents and abilities. I argue that the best solution is to adopt a modified version of Rawls’ theory which takes primary social goods as that which is to be distributed but which demands a Basic Rights principle that insures basic subsistent rights (as well as basic security rights) as the most fundamental principle of morality (and social justice), and then demands that Rawls’ Difference Principle be applied lexically to the ‘material’ goods of income, wealth, and leisure time, but done so that the social basis of self-respect is never undermined. (shrink)
This study is concerned with john R0emer’s Equality of Opportunity} I argue that his theory is committed to compatibilism but that one of its central claims is plausible only within a libertarian view on the free-will problem. Thus Roemer’s theory is troubled by a deep structural inco— herence and should be rejected as an account of equality of opportunity? Let me briefly introduce some background to Roemer’s theory. Contemporary egalitarians face two major challenges: first, they need..
Contributing Authors: Lilli Alanen & Frans Svensson, David Alm, Gustaf Arrhenius, Gunnar Björnsson, Luc Bovens, Richard Bradley, Geoffrey Brennan & Nicholas Southwood, John Broome, Linus Broström & Mats Johansson, Johan Brännmark, Krister Bykvist, John Cantwell, Erik Carlson, David Copp, Roger Crisp, Sven Danielsson, Dan Egonsson, Fred Feldman, Roger Fjellström, Marc Fleurbaey, Margaret Gilbert, Olav Gjelsvik, Kathrin Glüer & Peter Pagin, Ebba Gullberg & Sten Lindström, Peter Gärdenfors, Sven Ove Hansson, Jana Holsanova, Nils Holtug, Victoria Höög, Magnus Jiborn, Karsten Klint (...) Jensen, Sigurður Kristinsson, Isaac Levi, Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, David Makinson, Anna-Sofia Maurin, Philippe Mongin, Kevin Mulligan, Lennart Nordenfelt, Jonas Olson, Erik J. Olsson, Ingmar Persson, Johannes Persson, Björn Petersson, Philip Pettit, Hans Rott, Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen, Krister Segerberg, John Skorupski, Howard Sobel, Fredrik Stjernberg, Fred Stoutland, Caj Strandberg, Pär Sundström, Folke Tersman, Torbjörn Tännsjö, Peter Vallentyne, Bruno Verbeek, Stella Villarmea, and Michael J. Zimmerman. (shrink)
When is it immoral to take advantage of another person for one's own benefit? For some, such as Ruth Sample, John Roemer, and Will Kymlicka, the answer at least partly depends on whether what one takes advantage of is the fact that this person is, or has been, the victim of injustice. I argue, however, that whether person A wrongly exploits person B is wholly unrelated to whether A takes advantage of the fact that B is, or was, the (...) victim of injustice. I also develop a positive account regarding which personal attributes one should not exploit for personal gain. (shrink)
Some of the best philosophers do not hold academic appointments in philosophy departments. Wouldn't you rather have the ghost of Frank Ramsey (the Cambridge mathematician who died in the 1920s) as a hall mate instead of some of your current colleagues? Confining our attention to the living, we find some economists among the more philosophically inclined intellectuals. The best of these fellow traveling economistphilosophers are the Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen and also John Roemer. In the early 1980s (...) class='Hi'>Roemer did brilliant work on the analytical foundations of Marxist theory. He has also accomplished an imaginative retooling of the Lange-Lerner models of market socialism. For the past dozen years or so Roemer has been thinking and writing about distributive justice. This work has culminated in the two impressive books that are the subject of this review essay. Theories of Distributive Justice is explicitly a bridge-building effort. Roemer announces that his aim is to provide a philosophical perspective on recent writings by economists that are relevant to the topic of distributive justice and to provide an economist's perspective on recent writings by philosophers on distributive justice. He further announces that his primary aim is to facilitate traffic in one direction--to interpret and formulate the ideas of contemporary philosophers on distributive justice so as to introduce them to economists with a view to increasing the philosophical sophistication of work by economists on these normative issues. I endorse this aim. But since I am not a trained economist, I shall not attempt to assess the extent to which this project is successfully completed. This review explores the adequacy of Roemer's survey of contemporary theories of justice and the philosophical interest of his own contributions to debates about distributive justice. These Roemerian contributions appear interspersed among critical discussions in Theories of Distributive Justice as well as in the more recent monograph Equality of Opportunity. 1.. (shrink)
In From Chance to Choice, Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler propose a new way of defending the moral significance of the distinction between genetic treatments and enhancements. They develop what they call a ‘normal function model’ of equality of opportunity and argue that it offers a ‘limited’ defence of this distinction. In this article, I critically assess their model and the support it (allegedly) provides for the treatment-enhancement distinction. First, I argue that there is a troubling (...) tension in the normal function model. Secondly, I argue that neither of the rationales invoked by Buchanan et al. really serves to justify this model or the results they seek to derive from it with respect to the significance of the distinction between treatments and enhancements. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that coming into existence can benefit (or harm) aperson. My argument incorporates the comparative claim that existence canbe better (or worse) for a person than never existing. Since these claimsare highly controversial, I consider and reject a number of objectionswhich threaten them. These objections raise various semantic, logical,metaphysical and value-theoretical issues. I then suggest that there is animportant sense in which it can harm (or benefit) a person not to comeinto existence. Again, I consider and (...) reject some objections. Finally, Ibriefly consider what the conclusions reached in this paper imply for ourmoral obligations to possible future people. (shrink)
The hypothesis that human reasoning and decision-making can be roughly modeled by Expected Utility Theory has been at the core of decision science. Accumulating evidence has led researchers to modify the hypothesis. One of the latest additions to the field is Dual Process theory, which attempts to explain variance between participants and tasks when it comes to deviations from Expected Utility Theory. It is argued that Dual Process theories at this point cannot replace previous theories, since they, among other things, (...) lack a firm conceptual framework, and have no means of producing independent evidence for their case. (shrink)
All conceptions of equal opportunity draw on some distinction between morally justified and unjustified inequalities. We discuss how this distinction varies across a range of philosophical positions. We find that these positions often advance equality of opportunity in tandem with distributive principles based on merit, desert, consequentialist criteria or individuals' responsibility for outcomes. The result of this amalgam of principles is a festering controversy that unnecessarily diminishes the widespread acceptability of opportunity concerns. We therefore propose to restore the conceptual separation (...) of opportunity principles concerning unjustified inequalities from distributive principles concerning justifiable inequalities. On this view, equal opportunity implies that that morally irrelevant factors should engender no differences in individuals' attainment, while remaining silent on inequalities due to morally relevant factors. We examine this idea by introducing the principle of ‘opportunity dominance' and explore in a simple application to what extent this principle may help us arbitrate between opposing distributive principles. We also compare this principle to the selection rules developed by John Roemer and Dirk Van de Gaer. (shrink)