This book advances a novel theory of international justice that combines the orthodox liberal notion that the lives of individuals are what ultimately matter morally with the putatively antiliberal idea of an irreducibly collective right of self-governance. The individual and her rights are placed at center stage insofar as political states are judged legitimate if they adequately protect the human rights of their constituents and respect the rights of all others. Yet, the book argues that legitimate states have a moral (...) right to self-determination and that this right is inherently collective, irreducible to the individual rights of the persons who constitute them. Exploring the implications of these ideas, the book addresses issues pertaining to democracy, secession, international criminal law, armed intervention, political assassination, global distributive justice, and immigration. A number of the positions taken in the book run against the grain of current academic opinion: there is no human right to democracy; separatist groups can be morally entitled to secede from legitimate states; the fact that it is a matter of brute luck whether one is born in a wealthy state or a poorer one does not mean that economic inequalities across states must be minimized or even kept within certain limits; most existing states have no right against armed intervention; and it is morally permissible for a legitimate state to exclude all would-be immigrants. (shrink)
Pornography is everywhere, and it raises a host of difficult questions. What counts as pornography, first of all? When does material cross the line from being erotic to being objectionable? Where does a person's entitlement to sexual freedom end and another person's right not to feel objectified begin? How should rights be weighed against consequences in deciding what laws and policies ought to be adopted? Philosophers Andrew Altman and Lori Watson explore these and other issues in this succinct and readable (...) for-and-against volume. (shrink)
The controversy surrounding targeted killings represents a crisis of conscience for policymakers, lawyers, philosophers and leading military experts grappling with the moral and legal limits of the war on terror. The book examines the legal and philosophical issues raised by government efforts to target suspected terrorists without giving them the safeguards of a fair trial.
In this first book-length liberal reply to CLS, Andrew Altman systematically examines the philosophical underpinnings of the CLS movement and exposes the deficiencies in the major lines of the CLS argument against liberalism.
Abstract: Democracy is regularly heralded as the only form of government that treats political subjects as free and equal citizens. On closer examination, however, it becomes apparent that democracy unavoidably restricts individual freedom, and it is not the only way to treat all citizens equally. In light of these observations, we argue that the non-instrumental reasons to support democratic governance stem, not from considerations of individual freedom or equality, but instead from the importance of respecting group self-determination. If this is (...) correct, it implies that a state may choose democracy, but its right to self-determination means that it is also free, in principle, to decide in favor of some nondemocratic alternative. (shrink)
A century after its publication, G.E. Moore''sPrincipia Ethica stands as one of theclassic statements of anti-naturalism inethics. Moore claimed that the most basic ethicalproperties were denoted by `good'' and `bad'' andthat all naturalist accounts of thoseproperties were inadequate. His open-questionargument aimed to refute any proposedidentification of good with some naturalproperty, and Moore concluded from theargument that good must be a nonnaturalproperty.The received view is that the open-questionargument is a failure. In this paper,my aim is to breathe some life back intoMoore''s (...) argument. My plan for doing so beginsby presenting the standard interpretation ofthe argument and then showing that there isan alternative to that interpretation. Thealternative is not developed at any length byMoore and stands in need of some elaboration. Isuggest a way of elaborating theargument and then show that the standardcriticisms of Moore fail to undermine thisalternative version of the open-questionargument. (shrink)
The modern liberal state arose as part of a rebellion against the entrenched hierarchies of rank, power, and privilege that had characterized the feudal order of European society. Under that order, a person's prospects in life were determined almost entirely by his status at birth. The individual lacked the liberty to change his social and economic ranking and was rendered dependent on the will of those in higher-ranking positions. It was against this inclusive, closed, and ascriptive system of inequality and (...) dependence that the proponents of the liberal state fought. (shrink)
For several decades, Ronald Dworkinhas been one of the most prominent voicesdefending the legality and justifiability ofrace-conscious programs aimed at undoing thecontinuing effects of prejudice. Writingwithin the framework of a liberal legalphilosophy, he has formulated powerfularguments against the view that color-blindpolicies are the only defensible ones. Nonetheless, I argue that a more completeliberal defense of race-conscious policieswould need to develop and modify Dworkin's lineof argument. Such a defense would go beyondhis policy-based arguments and incorporatearguments of principle. Race-conscious policiesdo not only (...) promote the general good; they arealso required in order to help realize theconstitutional right of equal citizenship. (shrink)