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  1. Classified Public Whistleblowing.Eric R. Boot - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):541-567.
    Though whistleblowing is quickly becoming an accepted means of addressing wrongdoing, whistleblower protection laws and the relevant case law are either awkwardly silent, unclear or mutually inconsistent concerning public disclosures of classified government information. I remedy this problem by first arguing that such disclosures constitute a pro tanto wrong as they violate promissory obligations, role obligations and the obligation to respect the democratic allocation of power. However, they may be justified if the information disclosed concerns grave government wrongdoing, alternative channels (...)
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  2. The Conventionalist Challenge to Natural Rights Theory.Ben Bryan - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):569-587.
    Call the conventionalist challenge to natural rights theory the claim that natural rights theory fails to capture the fact that moral rights are shaped by social and legal convention. While the conventionalist challenge is a natural concern, it is less than clear what this challenge amounts to. This paper aims to develop a clear formulation strong enough to put pressure on the natural rights theorist and precise enough to clarify what an adequate response would require.
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  3. What’s So Deviant About Production Deviance?Ned Dobos - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):519-540.
    In the world of human resource management employees who deliberately “withhold effort” on the job are called “production deviants.” The implication is that workers are under a duty to perform as best they can, but why should we accept this? Three answers are presented and interrogated. The first says that employees who withhold effort are guilty of “time-banditry” or theft from their employers. The second says that withholding effort harms one’s colleagues or co-workers. The third suggests that employees owe their (...)
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  4.  1
    Toleration and Civility.Derek Edyvane - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):449-471.
    Toleration and civility are commonly treated as synonyms. This paper elaborates a novel distinction between the concepts and suggests that the relatively neglected idea of civility may provide a more promising basis for the accommodation of normative diversity in a liberal polity. It argues that liberal regimes of toleration depend for their success on a form of fraternal solidarity among citizens that is unlikely to flourish in conditions of liberal freedom. Regimes of civility, by contrast, depend on a form of (...)
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  5. Does Corporate Moral Agency Entail Corporate Freedom of Speech?John Hasnas - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):589-612.
    In Citizens United, the Supreme Court held that corporate speech is entitled to the protection of the First Amendment. The Court’s argument was that the First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing the viewpoint of any speaker on political subjects and that corporations are speakers with their own viewpoints. This argument has been subject to severe criticism on the ground that corporations are not speakers with viewpoints. Contemporary advocates of corporate moral agency argue that corporations possess the three characteristics that (...)
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  6. Against Self-Defense.Blake Hereth - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):613-635.
    The ethics of self-defense is dominated by the Orthodox View, which claims that at least some cases of self-defensive assault are permissible. I defend the radical view that there are no permissible instances of self-defensive assault. My argument proceeds as follows: Every permissible act of self-defensive assault could, in principle, have its permissibility be massively overdetermined. Such ‘super-permissible’ acts of assault are ones in which agents are objectively permitted to perform those acts in morally trivializing or cavalier fashion: that is, (...)
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  7. Fetuses, Orphans, and a Famous Violinist.Gina Schouten - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):637-665.
    In this paper, I urge feminists to re-center fetal moral status in their theorizing about abortion. I argue that fundamental feminist normative commitments are at odds with efforts to de-emphasize fetal moral status: The feminist commitment to ensuring care for dependents supports surprising conclusions with regard to the ethics of abortion, and the feminist commitment to politicizing the personal has surprising conclusions regarding the politics of abortion. But these feminist insights also support the conclusion that, conditional on fetal moral status, (...)
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  8.  30
    Collective Responsibility for Oppression.Titus Stahl - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):473-501.
    Many contemporary forms of oppression are not primarily the result of formally organized collective action nor are they an unintended outcome of a combination of individual actions. This raises the question of collective responsibility. I argue that we can only determine who is responsible for oppression if we understand oppression as a matter of social practices that create obstacles for social change. This social practice view of oppression enables two insights: First, that there is an unproblematic sense in which groups (...)
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  9. Agent and Object.Nellie Wieland - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):503-517.
    If a person has lost all or most of her capacities for agency, how can she be harmed? This paper begins by describing several ways in which a person loses, or never develops, significant capacities of agency. In contrast with other work in this area, the central analyses are not of fetuses, small children, or the cognitively disabled. The central analyses are of victims of mistreatment or oppressive social circumstances. These victims are denuded of their agential capacities, becoming, in an (...)
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  10.  14
    Advantage, Restraint, and the Circumstances of Justice.Chrisoula Andreou - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):397-419.
    I focus on the mutual advantage conception of justice and on a related Humean argument according to which “the circumstances of justice” obtain only when there is a conflict of ends, a suitable level of scarcity, and rough equality of power. I add to the challenges facing the argument by using a Millian illustration whose significance has not been appreciated in prior discussions of the circumstances of justice to show that, contrary to a key premise of the Humean argument, restraining (...)
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  11. Problems of Incommensurability.Martijn Boot - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):313-342.
    This essay discusses implications of incommensurability of values for justified decision-making, ethics and justice. Under particular conditions incommensurability of values causes what might be called ‘incomplete comparability’ of options. Some leading theorists interpret this in terms of ‘imprecise equality’ and ‘imprecise comparability.’ This interpretation is mistaken and conceals the implications of incommensurability for practical and ethical reasoning. The aim of this essay is to show that, in many cases, incommensurability prevents the assignment of determinate weights to competing values. This may (...)
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  12.  1
    The Core of Oppression.Chen Jason - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):421-441.
    There are seven general ways to understand the main harm of oppression: political deprivation, economic deprivation, freedom deprivation, social deprivation, psychological harm, the deprived capability to self-develop, or some combination of the former. Though all these suggestions touch upon serious concerns, in this paper I argue that is the most fitting as an explanation for why oppression is wrong.
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  13.  3
    Selecting Immigrants by Skill.Desiree Lim - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):369-396.
    It has been suggested that states have no right to directly discriminate against would-be immigrants on grounds of race or sex. However, while the discourse on cases of wrongful discrimination has largely focused on discrimination on grounds of gender, race, and sexual orientation, states frequently engage in discrimination of a different kind when it comes to admissions and naturalisation policies. It is assumed that the anti-discrimination principle does not include cases of talent-based discrimination, and that these fall well within the (...)
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  14.  6
    Anti-Cosmopolitanism and the Motivational Preconditions for Social Justice.Lior Erez - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):249-282.
    This article reconstructs the political motivation argument against cosmopolitanism, according to which the extension of social justice beyond bounded communities would be motivationally unstable, and thus unjustified. It does so through an analysis of the stability problem, and a reconstruction of the three most prominent anti-cosmopolitan arguments—Rawlsian statism, liberal nationalism, and civic republicanism—as solutions to this problem. It then examines, and rejects, three prominent objections, each denying a different level of the argument. The article concludes that the civic republican version (...)
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  15. Public Reason Can Be Reasonably Rejected.Franz Mang - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):343-367.
    Public reason as a political ideal aims to reconcile reasonable disagreement; however, is public reason itself the object of reasonable disagreement? Jonathan Quong, David Estlund, Andrew Lister, and some other philosophers maintain that public reason is beyond reasonable disagreement. I argue this view is untenable. In addition, I consider briefly whether or not two main versions of the public reason principle, namely, the consensus version and the convergence version, need to satisfy their own requirements. My discussion has several important implications (...)
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  16.  19
    Jorge Garcia and the Ordinary Use of 'Racist Belief'.Alberto G. Urquidez - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):223-248.
    Wittgenstein’s “grammatical method” analyzes multiple uses of language across contexts of use, with the aim of identifying differences and dissolving conceptual confusion. This paper uses Wittgenstein’s method to undermine Jorge L. A. Garcia’s volitional account of racism. Garcia claims that his theory accommodates the ordinary use of terms like “racist belief.” However, he did not consider whether such terms might have multiple uses/meanings. My paper identifies three uses of “racist belief” that escape Garcia’s analysis. Consequently, philosophers should take Wittgenstein’s advice (...)
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  17.  83
    Felon Disenfranchisement and Democratic Legitimacy.Matt Whitt - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):283-311.
    Political theorists have long criticized policies that deny voting rights to convicted felons. However, some have recently turned to democratic theory to defend this practice, arguing that democratic self-determination justifies, or even requires, disenfranchising felons. I review these new arguments, acknowledge their force against existing criticism, and then offer a new critique of disenfranchisement that engages them on their own terms. Using democratic theory’s “all-subjected principle,” I argue that liberal democracies undermine their own legitimacy when they deny the vote to (...)
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  18.  21
    Reflective Equilibrium.Alice Baderin - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):1-28.
    The paper explores whether the method of reflective equilibrium (RE) in ethics and political philosophy should be individual or public in character. I defend a modestly public conception of RE, in which public opinion is used specifically as a source of considered judgments about cases. Public opinion is superior to philosophical opinion in delivering judgments that are untainted by principled commitments. A case-based approach also mitigates the methodological problems that commonly confront efforts to integrate philosophy with the investigation of popular (...)
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  19.  10
    Capabilities for All?Jessica Begon - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):154-179.
    The capability approach aims to ensure all individuals are able to form and pursue their own conception of the good, whilst the state remains neutral between them, and has done much to include oppressed and marginalised groups. Liberal neutrality and social inclusivity are worthy goals, yet I argue that Martha Nussbaum’s influential formulation of the capability approach, at least, cannot meet them. Conceptualising capabilities as opportunities to perform specific, valuable functionings fails to accommodate those who do not value, or cannot (...)
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  20.  48
    Liberal Perfectionism and Quong’s Internal Conception of Political Liberalism.Paul Billingham - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):79-106.
    Debates between political liberals and liberal perfectionists have been reinvigorated by Jonathan Quong’s Liberalism Without Perfection. In this paper I argue that certain forms of perfectionism can rebut or evade Quong’s three central objections – that perfectionism is manipulative, paternalistic, and illegitimate. I then argue that perfectionists can defend an ‘internal conception’ of perfectionism, parallel in structure to Quong’s ’internal conception’ of political liberalism, but with a different conception of the justificatory constituency. None of Quong’s arguments show that his view (...)
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  21.  5
    Value Individualism and the Popular-Choice Theory of Secession.Eric Cavallero - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):125-153.
    According to the popular-choice theory of secession, the inhabitants of any territory, as a group, should have an internationally recognized right to secede from a sovereign state if their majority chooses by referendum to do so, and if they are capable of sustaining legitimate state institutions. Prior efforts to defend this group right on individualistic grounds—such as the individual right to associate freely or to participate as an equal in democratic decision-making—have failed. As a result, some recent defenders of the (...)
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  22.  3
    Stephanie Collins, The Core of Care Ethics.Ruth Groenhout - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):214-221.
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  23.  10
    The Nature of Moral Compromise.Barry Hoffmaster & Cliff Hooker - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):55-78.
    Compromise is a pervasive fact of life. It occurs when obligations conflict and repudiating one obligation entirely to satisfy another entirely is unacceptable—for example, when a single parent cannot both raise a child satisfactorily and earn the income that living together demands. Compromise is unsettling, but properly negotiating difficult circumstances develops moral and emotional maturity. Yet compromise has no place in moral philosophy, where it is logically anathematized and deemed to violate integrity. This paper defends compromise with more expansive accounts (...)
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  24.  61
    Why Consequentialism’s "Compelling Idea" Is Not.Paul Hurley - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):29-54.
    Many consequentialists take their theory to be anchored by a deeply intuitive idea, the “Compelling Idea” that it is always permissible to promote the best outcome. I demonstrate that this Idea is not, in fact, intuitive at all either in its agent-neutral or its evaluator-relative form. There are deeply intuitive ideas concerning the relationship of deontic to telic evaluation, but the Compelling Idea is at best a controversial interpretation of such ideas, not itself one of them. Because there is no (...)
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  25.  12
    Vote Buying and Voter Preferences.James Stacey Taylor - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):107-124.
    A common criticism of plurality voting is that it fails to reflect the degree of intensity with which voters prefer the candidate or policy that they vote for. To rectify this, many critics of plurality voting have argued that vote buying should be allowed. Persons with more intense preferences for a candidate could buy votes from persons with less intense preferences for the opposing candidate and then cast them for the candidate that they intensely support. This paper argues that instead (...)
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  26.  1
    Margaret Moore, A Political Theory of Territory.Marco Verschoor - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):201-208.
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  27.  1
    Kelly Oliver, Earth & World: Philosophy After the Apollo Missions.Jason M. Wirth - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):209-213.
  28.  5
    Patient Autonomy and the Family Veto Problem in Organ Procurement.Alexander Zambrano - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):180-200.
    A number of bioethicists have been critical of the power of the family to “veto” a patient’s decision to posthumously donate her organs within opt-in systems of organ procurement. One major objection directed at the family veto is that when families veto the decision of their deceased family member, they do something wrong by violating or failing to respect the autonomy of that deceased family member. The goal of this paper is to make progress on answering this objection. I do (...)
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