In this writing it is presented Rawls proposal about the possibility of civil disobedience in the face of a democratic authority legitimately established. Rawlsian civil disobedience shows its antiauthoritarian claims depending on the maintenance of a fair order, and social society is the way of..
Bringing together normative political theory and recent empirical research on the state, the essay examines the challenges posed by the postnationalization and privatization of state authority to conventional accounts of civil disobedience. It does so by taking a careful look at John Rawls’ influential theory of civil disobedience along with its oftentimes neglected implicit assumptions about state and society, assumptions which turn out to have reproduced commonplace postwar statist and Westphalian ideas, including the optimistic view that the liberal (...) democratic nation state should prove up to the task of successfully regulating and perhaps civilizing capitalism. Postnationalization and privatization render those assumptions problematic. Consequently, the Rawlsian model that was partly constructed on them becomes problematic as well. However, some of its features transcend the obsolescent empirical assumptions on which it was implicitly built. Theorists of civil disobedience should not just deconstruct but also reconstruct the Rawlsian account of civil disobedience. Postnationalization and privatization may leave us with a bare-bones version of the Rawlsian original. Yet bare bones arguably remain better than no bones. (shrink)
The vast majority of work on the ethics of war focuses on traditional wars between states. In this chapter, I aim to show that this is an oversight worth rectifying. My strategy will be largely comparative, assessing whether certain claims often defended in discussions of interstate wars stand up in the context of civil conflicts, and whether there are principled moral differences between the two types of case. Firstly, I argue that thinking about intrastate wars can help us make (...) progress on important theoretical debates in recent just war theory. Secondly, I consider whether certain kinds of civil wars are subject to a more demanding standard of just cause, compared to interstate wars of national-defence. Finally, I assess the extent to which having popular support is an independent requirement of permissible war, and whether this renders insurgencies harder to justify than wars fought by functioning states. (shrink)
The goal of this article is to show that mainstream liberal accounts of civil disobedience fail to fully capture the latter’s specific characteristics as a genuinely political and democratic practice of contestation that is not reducible to an ethical or legal understanding either in terms of individual conscience or of fidelity to the rule of law. In developing this account in more detail, I first define civil disobedience with an aim of spelling out why the standard liberal model, (...) while providing a useful starting point, ultimately leads to an overly constrained, domesticated and sanitized understanding of this complex political practice. Second, I place the political practice of civil disobedience between two opposing poles: symbolic politics and real confrontation. I argue that the irreducible tension between these poles precisely accounts for its politicizing and democratizing potential. Finally, I briefly examine the role of civil disobedience in representative democracies, addressing a series of recent challenges made in response to this radically democratic understanding of disobedience. (shrink)
In 1992, the Frankfurt scholar Ingeborg Maus launched a polemical attack against then current narratives of democratic protest, objecting to the languages of ‘resistance’ or ‘civil disobedience’ as defensive, servile and insufficiently transformative. This article explores in how far the language of constituent power can be adopted as an alternative justificatory strategy for civil disobedience in transnational protests. In contrast to current approaches that look at states as agents of international civil disobedience-as-constituent power, I suggest we look (...) at political movements. I focus on the example of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 which understands itself as a pan-European movement of civil disobedience, at the same time working towards an articulation and exercise of constituent power among the people of Europe. In the final section, I sharpen the criteria for the invocation of constituent power in transnational protest in distinguishing between its articulation, activation and... (shrink)
While philosophers usually agree that there is room for civil disobedience in democratic societies, they disagree as to the proper justification and role of civil disobedience. The field has so far been divided into two camps—the liberal approach on the one hand, which associates the justification and role of civil disobedience with the good of justice, and the democratic approach on the other, which connects them with the value and good of democracy. William Smith’s Civil Disobedience (...) and Deliberative Democracy offers a ‘deliberative’ theory, which constitutes an attractive synthesis of the two camps as it conceives of civil disobedience as a guardian of both justice and deliberative democracy. In this review essay, I first revisit the ‘problem’ of civil disobedience, examining in particular the two pillars of the case against civil disobedience as Smith depicts it, namely, the prohibition on legal disobedience established by the moral duty to comply, and the notion that civil disobedience strains the bonds of civic friendship. I suggest, contra, that the duty to comply as Smith defends it fails to be comprehensive because it is tightly bound to deliberative democratic procedures, which are involved in the making of only a portion of authoritative decisions; and, contra, that civil disobedience does not strain, but instead invigorates, civic friendship. Second, I entertain the possibility that citizens have a moral duty, not a mere right, to resist injustice. I show that Smith’s theory, in particular his account of the moral duty to comply, provides the resources to defend a general duty to resist injustice which, depending on the circumstances, can demand protesting the law or frustrating injustice. Third, I contend that Smith’s conception of the different contexts of injustice—he identifies three main ones—should be expanded to include what I call ‘official disrespect’ and ‘deliberative ignorance’. I argue that each context offers reasons to disobey the law but not necessarily in the civil manner determined by Smith. (shrink)
The twenty-first century presents a major challenge for civil engineering. The magnitude and future importance of some of the problems perceived by society are directly related to the field of the civil engineer, implying an inescapable burden of responsibility for a group whose technical soundness, rational approach and efficiency is highly valued and respected by the citizen. However, the substantial changes in society and in the way it perceives the problems that it considers important call for a thorough (...) review of our structures, both professional and educational; so that our profession, with its undeniable historical prestige, may modernize certain approaches and attitudes in order to continue to be a reliable instrument in the service of society, giving priority from an ethical standpoint to its actions in pursuit of the public good . It possesses important tools to facilitate this work (new technologies, the development of communications, the transmission of scientific thought.···); but there is nevertheless a need for deep reflection on the very essence of civil engineering: what we want it to be in the future, and the ability and willingness to take the lead at a time when society needs disinterested messages, technically supported, reasonably presented and dispassionately transmitted. (shrink)
Civil society organizations attempt to induce corporations to behave in more socially responsible ways, with a view to raising labour standards. A broader way of conceptualizing their efforts to influence the policies and practices of employers is desirable, one centred upon the concept of civil governance. This recognizes that CSOs not only attempt to shape the behaviour of employers through the forging of direct, collaborative relationships, but also try to do so indirectly, with interactions of various kinds with (...) the state being integral. Drawing on evidence derived from UK-based CSOs involved in work and employment relations, four types of civil governance are identified and characterized. By elaborating the concept of civil governance, and demonstrating how different types of civil governance operate, the research extends our knowledge and understanding of how CSOs, as increasingly prominent actors in the field of work and employment relations, operate within, and contribute to, systems of labour governance. (shrink)
In this article, I assess Jürgen Habermas’s defence of civil disobedience as ’the guardian of legitimacy’ in democratic societies. I suggest that, despite its appeal, the defence as it stands is incomplete. The problem relates to his account of the justification of this mode of protest. Although Habermas wants to defend civil disobedience as a response to inadequacies in deliberative democratic procedures, he does not provide us with a clear and compelling account of these inadequacies. In order to (...) provide such an account, I examine the various ways in which the illegitimate circulation of social power can distort democratic processes. Civil disobedience can be seen as a legitimate response to inequalities in social power, a defence that builds on the strengths of Habermas’s approach while transcending its limitations. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]. (shrink)
Though all of the principal features of Rawls's definition of civil disobedience are in varying degrees unacceptable, one of these consists of the fertile but unargued suggestion that civil disobedience is a mode of address. The first half of the paper tests this by construing civil disobedience as a vehicle of non?natural meaning (but not necessarily of linguistic non?natural meaning) and so as operating the Gricean mechanism of a hierarchy of intentions and beliefs. This feature is absent (...) from other definitions but is essential if other kinds of conscientious illegality are to be contrasted. In the second half a definition is arrived at through rejections or modifications of the other Rawlsian conditions and by reference to some recent accounts of force and violence. It is hoped that the definition has the double advantage of being broadly congruent with our intuitions and of supplying a theoretical underpinning for what it includes and excludes. (shrink)
In her book, Conscience and Conviction, Kimberley Brownlee argues that there is nothing undemocratic about the robust, primary right to civil disobedience that she devotes most of her argument to defending. To the contrary, she holds that there is nothing paternalistic about civil disobedients opposing the will of democratic majorities, because, inter alia, democratic majorities cannot claim particular epistemic superiority, and because there are flaws inherent to democratic procedures that civil disobedience addresses. I hold that Brownlee’s arguments (...) fail. In particular, her argument fails because it does not properly construe the nature of the epistemic claim that can be made either by democratic procedures or by civil disobedients, and because it illegitimately conflates the concern about permanent minorities that has been a constant thorn in the side of democratic theorists, with a concern with all outvoted minorities, whether permanent minorities or not. (shrink)
I HEARTILY accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least;” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it ﬁnally amounts to this, which also I believe,—“That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. (...) The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure. This American government,—what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the Ameri-. (shrink)
This paper defends the institution of civil marriage against the objection that it is inconsistent with political liberalism, and so should be either totally abolished or else transformed virtually beyond recognition.
The media hoop-la about Edward Snowden has obscured a less flashy yet more vital – and philosophically relevant – part of the story, namely the moral and political seriousness with which he acted to make the hitherto covert scope and scale of NSA surveillance public knowledge. Here I argue that we should interpret Snowden’s actions as meeting most of the demanding tests outlined in sophisticated political thinking about civil disobedience. Like Thoreau, Gandhi, King and countless other (forgotten) grass-roots activists, (...) Snowden has in fact articulated a powerful defense of why he was morally obligated to engage in politically motivated law-breaking. He has also undertaken impressive efforts to explain how his actions are distinguishable from ordinary criminality, and why they need not culminate in reckless lawlessness. In fact, his example can perhaps help us advance liberal and democratic ideas about civil disobedience. First, it highlights sound reasons why, pace the orthodox view, the acceptance of punishment by those engaging in civil disobedience should not be seen as a precondition of its legitimacy. Second, Snowden reminds us that ours is an era in which intensified globalization processes directly shape every feature of political existence. Defenders of civil disobedience need to update their reflections accordingly. (shrink)
This article responds to William Scheuerman’s analysis of Edward Snowden as someone whose acts fit within John Rawls’ account of civil disobedience understood as a public, non-violent, conscientious breach of law performed with overall fidelity to law and a willingness to accept punishment. It rejects the narrow Rawlsian notion in favour of a broader notion of civil disobedience understood as a constrained, conscientious and communicative breach of law that demonstrates opposition to law or policy and a desire for (...) lasting change. The article shows that, according to Rawls’ unduly narrow conception, Edward Snowden is not a civil disobedient. But, according to the more plausible, broader conception, he is. It then identifies some advantages of the broader conception in contemporary analyses of new forms of disobedience, including globalized disobedience and digital disobedience. (shrink)
Many historical and recent forms of protest usually referred to as civil disobedience do not fit the standard philosophical definition of “civil disobedience”. The moral and political importance of this point is explained in section 1, and two theoretical lessons are drawn: one, we should broaden the concept of civil disobedience, and two, we should start thinking about uncivil disobedience. Section 2 is devoted to the main objections against, and theorists' defenses of, civil disobedience.
This paper compares and evaluates two forms of dissent: civil disobedience — protests by citizens against the laws or actions of their government; and whistleblowing — disclosure by employees of illegal, immoral or questionable practices by their employees. Each is identified, the conceptual issues are distinguished from strategic and normative ones and parallel moral questions posed. Should one first dissent within prescribed channels before going outside them? Should one act publicly or is withholding one's identity permissible or desirable? What (...) is the basis and limits for one's loyalty to one's country or employer, and how can transgressing these limits be morally justified? (shrink)
The article explores the impact of civil regulation on the environmental behaviour of SMEs. It shows that although civil regulatory pressures are generally subdued, and that conventional regulation continues to be an important driver of behaviour, there are circumstances where civil pressures nevertheless produce a ‘regulatory’ stimulus. Where they do, it appears that civil regulatory pressures tend to derive from stakeholders pursuing relatively narrow self-interest (rather than public interest) mandates; and they normally target particular issues rather (...) than ‘social responsibility’ in any broad sense. SME responses typically take the form of compliance-reinforcing (rather than beyond compliance) measures. For SMEs, it is suggested that, in some circumstances, civil regulation provides a bespoke regulatory mechanism which is more likely to bring about changes in basic practices on narrow issues. It can also be seen as producing a particular type of consensual micro-social contract and public interest service. (shrink)
The Civil Economy approach, as developed by Italian economists Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni, aims at introducing reciprocity into the economy as a humanizing factor. Despite being presented as an innovative perspective, the CE approach shares many characteristics with the German model of Social Market Economy. The present paper compares both approaches, showing that they in fact share a normative basis and similar aims but address them from diverse points of view; namely, CE addresses them from a virtue ethics (...) perspective and SME from an institutional ethics one. This leads them to stress different aspects and to focus on diverse problems. Therefore, CE would not constitute an alternative to SME but a complement. Thus, a combination of both approaches should allow each to take advantage of their respective strengths and lead to a better result in terms of the common good. (shrink)
This article presents a descriptive conceptual framework comprising four different company configurations with respect to orientations toward corporate social responsibility (CSR). The four types are Skeptical, Pragmatic, Engaged, and Idealistic. The framework is grounded in instrumental and normative stakeholder theory, and a company's configuration is based on its instrumental and/or normative stance toward stakeholders. Its configuration indicates what position a company adopts in relation to CSR. This article argues that there is no one formula to fit all companies, descriptively or (...) prescriptively, but the potential variety in approaches to CSR is not infinite, as it can be distilled logically into a few fundamental approaches, embodied in the four organizational configurations presented in the conceptual framework. Each configuration constitutes a middlerange theory of interlocking characteristics in terms of CSR, and so each type of company will assume responsibilities to civil society in ways consistent with its configurational characteristics. The framework incorporates previous empirical findings and theoretical explanations. It is intuitively clear and reasonable to managers, and thus, has practical value in organizational management. (shrink)
This essay explores some of the conceptual and moral issues raised by illegal actions in health care. The author first identifies several types of illegal action, concentrating on civil disobedience, conscientious objection or refusal, and evasive noncompliance. Then he sketches a framework for the moral justification of these types of illegal action. Finally, he applies the conceptual and normative frameworks to several major cases of illegal action in health care, such as "mercy killing" and some decisions not to treat (...) incompetent patients. Keywords: illegal actions, mercy killing, non-treatment of incompetent patients, civil disobedience, conscientious objection, evasive non-compliance, moral justification and disobedience, dissent in health care CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
‘Social auditing’ is everywhere. An increasing number of companies – and also public and voluntary sector organisations – are trying to assess their social performance systematically. Shell, BP and General Motors are among them. How are they doing it? What impact do NGOs and civil society organisations have on this process? Do they have a privileged place in social audits? This article looks at these questions, and sets out a framework for understanding social audits and civil society. Examples (...) are drawn particularly from the recent Camelot social audit . Camelot plc is the operator of the UK national lottery. (shrink)
Is hactivism the new civil disobedience? I argue that most recent hacktivism isn't, and shouldn't be shoehorned into the category of civil disobedience. I sketch instead a broad matrix of electronic resistance, attentive to the many shapes and goals of hacktivism and I locate five clusters on it, briefly sketching possible dimensions of normative assessment for each: vigilantism, whistleblowing, guerrilla communication, electronic humanitarianism, and electronic civil disobedience.
Michael Oakeshott’s distinction between ‘civil association’ and ‘enterprise association’ has inspired international society theorists to conceive of international society as not just a ‘purposive association’ constructed by states to satisfy their interests but also as a ‘practical association’ providing formal and pragmatic rules that are not instrumental to particular goals of state policy. While this article is supportive of the Oakeshottian turn in international society theory, it suggests that somewhat different conclusions can be drawn from it. The article sketches (...) out an alternative conception of international ‘civil association’, one that transcends the boundaries of communities. It is argued that such a notion of civil association is both possible and at the same time anchored in the experiences of the modern state. It is suggested that this notion of international civil association, when sustained by an adequate legal conception, promotes the enforcement of moral and political responsibility acr... (shrink)
El presente artículo aborda lo que se considera que son algunas de las deficiencias de la teoría contemporánea de la sociedad civil. Para ello pasa brevemente revista a la evolución histórica del concepto, y se presenta una selección de sus definiciones contemporáneas. Todas ellas manifiestan una cierta imposibilidad para contemplar la política si no es desde una polarización dualista Estado-Sociedad, que trata de superarse abriéndose el concepto de sociedad civil a una mayor interrelación entre estos dos polos. Asimismo, (...) se afirma que el recurso a la «sociedad civil» sirve para recomponer en el ámbito de la teoría y resolver de un solo golpe dos de las grandes deficiencias que asolan a las relaciones entre sistema político y sociedad: la ausencia de un sujeto unitario claramente delimitado y el déficit de integración normativa. (shrink)
Contemporary liberal thinkers commonly suppose that there is something in principle unjust about the legal prohibition of putatively victimless crimes. Here Robert P. George defends the traditional justification of morals legislation against criticisms advanced by leading liberal theorists. He argues that such legislation can play a legitimate role in maintaining a moral environment conducive to virtue and inhospitable to at least some forms of vice. Among the liberal critics of morals legislation whose views George considers are Ronald Dworkin, Jeremy Waldron, (...) David A.J. Richards, and Joseph Raz. He also considers the influential modern justification for morals legislation offered by Patrick Devlin as an alternative to the traditional approach. George closes with a sketch of a "pluralistic perfectionist" theory of civil liberties and public morality, showing that it is fully compatible with a defense of morals legislation. Making Men Moral will interest legal scholars and political theorists as well as theologians and philosophers focusing on questions of social justice and political morality. (shrink)
The question of civil disobedience has preoccupied philosophical discourse at least since Thoreau's articulation of disobedience as a form of non-compliance and Rawls' classic definition outlined in the wake of the civil rights and student protest movements of the 1960s. It has become increasingly clear, however, that these classic definitions are being challenged and rethought from a variety of traditions in the wake of contemporary protests. These articles engage with the most recent debates surrounding civil disobedience and (...) conscientious objection, opening up original new paths for thinking about forms of protest. They also reveal disagreements about how to understand civil disobedience and about the place of conscience in political protest, inviting further discussion on these questions and issues. (shrink)
It is still an open question whether or not Civil Disobedience has to be completely nonviolent. According to Rawls, “any interference with the civil liberties of others tend to obscure the civilly disobedient quality of one's act”. From this Rawls concludes that by no means can CD pose a threath to other individuals' rights. In this paper I challenge Rawls' view, arguing that CD can comprise some degree of violence without losing its “civil” value. However, I specify (...) that violence must not be aimed at seriously injuring, or even killing, other individuals. This would contravene the communicative aspect of CD. The main claim is that what really is important is that the civil disobedients be willing to accept the punishment following their law-breaking behaviour. By doing so, they demonstrate the conscientiousness of their civilly disobedient action. This also shows that they are aiming for future cooperation with the State, and are expecting the State to be sensitive to their concern for the principles of justice. (shrink)
Este artículo trata de ordenar e ilustrar las ideas de A. de Tocqueville sobre el papel de la religión en la sociedad democrática. Entre ellas, se destaca la que sostiene que el cultivo tolerante y desdogmatizado de la religión ejerce, desde el espacio de la sociedad civil, un influjo beneficioso sobre el espíritu de la libertad democrática.
Recently, the US has joined many European jurisdictions in extending civil marriage to same sex as well as different sex dyads. Many liberals regard this as a development worth entrenching. But a prominent recent liberal challenge to civil marriage claims otherwise. According to this challenge, by defining and conferring civil marriage, the state privileges some relationships over others that serve equally well the important liberal goal of fostering effective liberal citizenship, in violation of a prominent interpretation of (...) the doctrine of state neutrality. Theorists who press this challenge, such as Elizabeth Brake and Tamara Metz, argue that it can be met effectively only by dismantling civil marriage and replacing it with more inclusive state-maintained arrangements. So far, prominent responses to this neutralist challenge to civil marriage have focused on the special value of either the relationships to which civil marriage currently extends, or the special value of civil marriage itself. In this article, I develop an alternative reply to this neutralist challenge to civil marriage, one focusing instead on the special vulnerabilities of some of the liberally valuable relationships to which civil marriage currently extends, amorous caregiving dyads. (shrink)