In Defence of Conceptual Integration

Res Publica 23 (3):349-365 (2017)
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According to the ‘integration approach’, interpretations of political concepts should explain that they stand for rights we ought to respect and be both compatible and mutually supporting. I start by clarifying what this means, and proceed to an examination of Ronald Dworkin’s latest argument for value holism. I argue that his argument fails to provide a convincing case for the integration approach. I go on to argue that we nonetheless should accept that interpretations of political concepts should be compatible, because denying it would be inconsistent with, and the fact that ‘ought implies can’. I then provide reasons for thinking that we also cannot really satisfy for any particular concept without giving reasons in term of what fall under other concepts—that is, interpreting the concepts as mutually supporting. We thus have reasons to accept both parts of. Finally, I defend the integration approach from three important objections: First, that it conflates different values; secondly, that it is inconsistent with ordinary language-usage; and thirdly, that it overlooks important telic values. I conclude that none of these compels us to abandon the integration approach.



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Rasmus Hansen
Copenhagen Business School

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References found in this work

Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Law’s Empire.Ronald Dworkin - 1986 - Harvard University Press.
Justice for hedgehogs.Ronald Dworkin - 2011 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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