Norms are a pervasive yet mysterious feature of social life. In Explaining Norms, four philosophers and social scientists team up to grapple with some of the many mysteries, offering a comprehensive account of norms: what they are; how and why they emerge, persist and change; and how and to what extent they themselves serve to explain what we do. Norms, they argue, should be understood in non-reductive terms as clusters of normative attitudes that serve the function of making us accountable (...) to one another - with the different kinds of norms (legal, moral, and social norms) differing in virtue of being constituted by different kinds of normative attitudes that serve to make us accountable in different ways. The best explanations of and by norms are thoroughly pluralist in character. Explanations of norms should appeal to the ways that norms help us to pursue projects and goals, individually and collectively, as well as to enable us to constitute social meanings. Explanations by norms should recognise the multiplicity of ways in which we may be responsive to norms in the actions we perform, the attitudes we form, and the modes of deliberation in which we engage: following, merely conforming with, and even breaching norms. While advancing novel and distinctive positions on all of these topics, Explaining Norms will also serve as a sourcebook with a rich array of arguments and illustrations for others to reassemble in ways of their own choosing. (shrink)
Introduction -- Modes of settling: settling down, settling in, settling up, settling for, settling one's affairs, settling on -- The value of settling: settling as an aid to planning and agency, settling, commitment, trust, and confidence, settling the social fabric -- What settling is not: settling is not just compromising, settling is not just conservatism, settling is not just resignation -- Settling in aid of striving: settling in order to strive, what strivings require settling, and why, when to switch between (...) one and the other, and why -- Conclusions. (shrink)
In 'A Constitution of Many Minds' Cass Sunstein argues that the three major approaches to constitutional interpretation – Traditionalism, Populism and Cosmopolitanism – all rely on some variation of a ‘many-minds’ argument. Here we assess each of these claims through the lens of the Condorcet Jury Theorem. In regard to the first two approaches we explore the implications of sequential influence among courts (past and foreign, respectively). In regard to the Populist approach, we consider the influence of opinion leaders.
Proposals to lower the age of voting, to 15 for example, are regularly met with worries that people that age are not sufficiently ‘competent’. Notice however that we allow people that age to sign binding legal contracts, provided that those contracts are co-signed by their parents. Notice, further, that in a democracy voters are collectively ‘joint authors’ of the laws that they enact. Enfranchising some less competent voters is no worry, the Condorcet Jury Theorem assures us, so long as the (...) electorate's competence averaging across all voters remains better-than-random. (shrink)
Complicity with wrongdoing comes in many forms and many degrees. We distinguish subcategories cooperation, collaboration and collusion from connivance and condoning, identifying their defining features and assessing their characteristic moral valences. We illustrate the use of these distinctions by reference to events in refugee camps in and around Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, and the extent to which international organizations and nongovernment organizations were wrongfully complicit with the misuse of refugees as human shields by the perpetrators of the genocide who (...) were allowed to run those camps. (shrink)
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, or so we are told. But why not? The statute books run to hundreds of volumes. How can an ordinary citizen know what is in them? The best way might be for law (at least in its wide-scope duty-conferring aspects) to track broad moral principles that ordinary citizens can know and apply for themselves. In contrast to more high-minded and deeply principled arguments, this epistemic argument for legal moralism is purely pragmatic—but importantly so. (...) For law to do what law is supposed to do, which is to be action-guiding, people need to be able to intuit without detailed investigation what the law is for most common and most important cases of their conduct, and to intuit when their intuitions are likely to be unreliable and hence that they need to investigate further what the law actually is. (shrink)
Politically, as well as philosophically, concerns with human rights have permeated many of the most important debates on social justice worldwide for fully a half-century. Henry Shue's 1980 book on Basic Rights proved to be a pioneering contribution to those debates, and one that continues to elicit both critical and constructive comment. Global Basic Rights brings together many of the most influential contemporary writers in political philosophy and international relations - Charles Beitz, Robert Goodin, Christian Reus-Smit, Andrew Hurrell, Judith Lichtenberg, (...) Elizabeth Ashford, Thomas Pogge, Neta Crawford, Richard Miller, David Luban, Jeremy Waldron and Simon Caney- to explore some of the most challenging theoretical and practical questions that Shue's work provokes. These range from the question of the responsibilities of the global rich to redress severe poverty to the permissibility of using torture to gain information to fight international terrorism. The contributors explore the continuing value of the idea of "basic rights" in understanding moral challenges as diverse as child labor and global climate change. (shrink)
Philosophers who complain about the ‹demandingness’ of morality forget that a morality can make too few demands as well as too many. What we ought be seeking is an appropriately demanding morality. This article recommends a ‹moral satisficing’ approach to determining when a morality is ‹demanding enough’, and an institutionalized solution to keeping the demands within acceptable limits.
Kai Spiekermann shows how groups of people cooperating purely for mutual advantage could solve social dilemmas by `assortation', deftly including and excluding people from the group of people who are cooperating among themselves. This article explores the normative implications of that result, casting further doubt on normative models treating justice as a `club good'. Key Words: justice club non-ideal theory.
In recent years democratic theory has taken a deliberative turn. Instead of merely casting the occasional ballot, deliberative democrats want citizens to reason together. They embrace 'talk as a decision procedure'. But of course thousands or millions of people cannot realistically talk to one another all at once. When putting their theories into practice, deliberative democrats therefore tend to focus on 'mini-publics', usually of a couple dozen to a couple hundred people. The central question then is how to connect micro-deliberations (...) in mini-publics to the political decision-making processes of the larger society. In Innovating Democracy, Robert Goodin surveys these new deliberative mechanisms, asking how they work and what we can properly expect of them. Much though they have to offer, they cannot deliver all that deliberative democrats hope. Talk, Goodin concludes, is good as discovery procedure but not as a decision procedure. His slogan is, 'First talk, then vote'. Micro-deliberative mechanisms should supplement, not supplant, representative democracy. Goodin goes on to show how to adapt our thinking about those familiar institutions to take full advantage of deliberative inputs. That involves rethinking who should get a say, how we hold people accountable, how we sequence deliberative moments and what the roles of parties and legislatures can be in that. Revisioning macro-democratic processes in light of the processes and promise of micro-deliberation, Innovating Democracy provides an integrated perspective on democratic theory and practice after the deliberative turn. (shrink)
The second edition updates and expands the coverage to include developments in the field over the past decade, especially in the areas of international politics and global justice. New contributors include some of today’s most distinguished scholars, among them Thomas Pogge, Charles Beitz, and Michael Doyle Provides in-depth coverage of contemporary philosophical debate in all major related disciplines, such as economics, history, law, political science, international relations and sociology Presents analysis of key political ideologies, including new chapters on Cosmopolitanism and (...) Fundamentalism Includes detailed discussions of major concepts in political philosophy, including virtue, power, human rights, and just war. (shrink)
By analogy to Macpherson's "protective" and "self-developmental" models of liberal democracy, there might be two distinct models of liberal multiculturalism. On the protective-style model, the aim is to protect minority cultures against assimilationist and homogenizing intrusions of the majority. On the other model, here dubbed "polyglot multiculturalism," the majority might expand its own "context for choice" by having more minority cultures from whom to borrow. The latter is a more welcoming and inclusive strategy, still recognizably liberal in form, than (...) the self-defensive liberalism of the more purely protectionist sort. (shrink)
: We know that we can learn much from the reports of multiple competent, independent, unbiased observers. There are also things we can learn from the reports of competent but biased observers. Specifically, when reports go against the grain of an agent's known biases, we can be relatively confident in the veracity of those reports. Triangulating on the truth via that mechanism requires a multiplicity of observers with distinct biases, each of whose reports might be one-way decisive in that fashion. (...) It also presupposes that all observers share the same fundamental epistemic standards. (shrink)
We know that we can learn much from the reports of multiple competent, independent, unbiased observers. There are also things we can learn from the reports of competent but biased observers. Specifically, when reports go against the grain of an agent’s known biases, we can be relatively confident in the veracity of those reports. Triangulating on the truth via that mechanism requires a multiplicity of observers with distinct biases, each of whose reports might be one-way decisive in that fashion. It (...) also presupposes that all observers share the same fundamental epistemic standards. (shrink)
If free markets consist in nothing more than “capitalist acts between consenting adults,” and if in the old legal maxim “volenti non fit injuria,” then it seems to follow that free markets do no wrongs. But that defense of free markets wrenches the “volenti” maxim out of context. In common law adjudication of disputes between two parties, it is perfectly appropriate to cast standards of “volenti” narrowly, and largely ignore “duress via third parties” (wrongs done to or by others who (...) are not themselves party to the action). In economic markets, of course, those third-party effects are rife. But we want them to be rectified systematically, not piecemeal through particular cases between particular parties that happen to come to court. That is the proper province of political philosophers and system-designers, in critiquing and constraining the operation of the market. (shrink)
Complaints are common about the arbitrary and conservative bias of special-majority rules. Such complaints, however, apply to asymmetrical versions of those rules alone. Symmetrical special-majority rules remedy that defect, albeit at the cost of often rendering no determinate verdict. Here what is formally at stake, both procedurally and epistemically, is explored in the choice between those two forms of special-majority rule and simple-majority rule; and practical ways are suggested of resolving matters left open by symmetrical special-majority rules – such as (...) ‘judicial extrapolation’ or ‘subsidiarity’ in a federal system. (shrink)
This authoritative collection of the seminal texts in post-war political philosophy has now been updated and expanded. Reprints key articles, mainly unabridged, touching upon the nature of the state, democracy, justice, rights, liberty, equality and oppression. Includes work from politics, law and economics, as well as from continental and analytic philosophy. Now includes thirteen additional texts, taking account of recent developments in the field and reflecting the most pressing concerns in international affairs. Can be used alongside A Companion to Contemporary (...) Political Philosophy (Blackwell Publishing, 1993; second edition in preparation) as the basis for a systematic introduction to the subject. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science is a ten-volume set of reference books offering authoritative and engaging critical overviews of the state of political science. This volume, The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis, sets out to synthesize and critique for the first time those approaches to political science that offer a more fine-grained qualitative analysis of the political world. The work in the volume has a common aim in being sensitive to the thoughts of contextual nuances that disappear from (...) large-scale quantitative modelling or explanations based on abstract, general, universal laws of human behavior. It shows that "context matters" in a great many ways: philosophical context matters; psychological context matters; cultural and historical contexts matter; place, population, and technology all matter. By showcasing scholars who specialize in the analysis of all these contexts side-by-side, the Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis shows how political scientists can take those crucial contextual factors systematically into account. (shrink)
An interesting fact about customary international law is that the only way you can propose an amendment to it is by breaking it. How can that be differentiated from plain law-breaking? What moral standards might apply to that sort of international conduct? I propose we use ones analogous to the ordinary standards for distinguishing civil disobedients from ordinary law-breakers: would-be law-makers, like civil disobedients, must break the law openly; they must accept the legal consequences of doing so; and they must (...) be prepared to have the same rules applied to them as everyone else. (shrink)
While much has been written about social justice, even more has been written about democracy. Rarely is the relationship between social justice and democracy carefully considered. Does justice require democracy? Will democracy bring justice? This volume brings together leading authors who consider the relationship of democracy and justice. The intrinsic justness of democracy is challenged and the relationship between justice, democracy and the common good examined.
Under the assumptions of the standard Condorcet Jury Theorem, majority verdicts are virtually certain to be correct if the competence of voters is greater than one-half, and virtually certain to be incorrect if voter competence is less than one-half. But which is the case? Here we turn the Jury Theorem on its head, to provide one way of addressing that question. The same logic implies that, if the outcome saw 60 percent of voters supporting one proposition and 40 percent the (...) other, then average voter competence must either be 0.60 or 0.40. We still have to decide which, but limiting the choice to those two values is a considerable aid in that. Key Words: Condorcet Jury Theorem • epistemic democracy • voter competence. (shrink)
Democracy used to be seen as a relatively mechanical matter of merely adding up everyone's votes in free and fair elections. That mechanistic model has many virtues, among them allowing democracy to 'track the truth', where purely factual issues are all that is at stake. Political disputes invariably mix facts with values, however, and then it is essential to listen to what people are saying rather than merely note how they are voting. The great challenge is how to implement that (...) deliberative ideal among millions of people at once. In this strikingly original book, Goodin offers a solution: 'democratic deliberation within'. Building on models of ordinary conversational dynamics, he suggests that people simply imagine themselves in the position of various other people they have heard or read about and ask, 'What would they say about this proposal?' Informing the democratic imaginary then becomes the key to making deliberations more reflective - more empathetic, more considered, more expansive across time and distance. (shrink)
If voters accord evidentiary value to one another's reports, revising their own views in the light of them as Bayesian rationality requires, then even relatively small electoral majorities ought to prove rationally compelling and opposition ought rationally to vanish. For democratic theory, that is a jarring result. While there are no resources for avoiding that result within the Bayesian model itself, there are various aspects of the political process lying outside that model which do serve to underwrite the rationality (...) of persistent opposition to majority opinion. Key Words: Bayesian rationality consensus political opposition. (shrink)
If all reasonable people of goodwill and patience will eventually reachconsensus, then anyone who fails to join inthat consensus as being unreasonable or lackingin good will or patience. The ``nice''''(consensual) and ``nasty'''' (intolerant) faces ofcommunitarianism are thus joined. This articleattempts to deny communitarians that excuse forintolerance by undermining Keith Lehrer''s proofof the inevitability of rational consensusamong all patient people of good will.
Classical debates, recently rejoined, rage over the question of whether we want our political outcomes to be right or whether we want them to be fair. Democracy can be (and has been) justified in either way, or both at once. For epistemic democrats, the aim of democracy is to "track the truth."1 For them, democracy is more desirable than alternative forms of decision-making because, and insofar as, it does that. One democratic decision rule is more desirable than another according to (...) that same standard, so far as epistemic democrats are concerned.2 For procedural democrats, the aim of democracy is instead to embody certain procedural virtues.3 Procedural democrats are divided among themselves over what those virtues might be, as well as over which procedures best embody them. But all procedural democrats agree on the one central point.. (shrink)
Elsewhere I have defended utilitarianism as a philosophy peculiarly well suited to the conduct of public affairs, on grounds of the peculiar tasks and instruments confronting public officials. Here I add another plank to that defence of , focusing on the peculiar role responsibilities of people serving in public capacities. Such is incumbent not only upon public officials but also upon individuals in their capacities as citizens and voters. I close with reflections on how best to evoke appreciation of these (...) utilitarian role responsibilities from officials and electors alike. (shrink)