Basic Liberties, the Moral Powers and Workplace Democracy

Ethics, Politics and Society 1:232–261 (2018)

Abstract

The article responds to previous work, by Martin O’Neill, about the Rawlsian case for an entitlement to an element of workplace democracy. Of the three arguments for such an entitlement that O’Neill discusses, this article focuses mainly on the one he rejects (on the grounds of its having an implausible premise): the Fundamental Liberties Argument, according to which the right to an element of workplace democracy is a basic liberty. This article argues that while the argument can be improved to withstand O’Neill’s objection, it is invalid. The article sets out a new argument, the Argument from Risk to the Moral Powers. While inspired by the Fundamental Liberties Argument, it is valid. Moreover, its premises are at least as plausible as those of one of the two arguments upon which O’Neill builds his Rawlsian case for an entitlement to an element of workplace democracy.

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