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Arash Abizadeh
McGill University
  1. Democratic Theory and Border Coercion.Arash Abizadeh - 2008 - Political Theory 36 (1):37-65.
    The question of whether or not a closed border entry policy under the unilateral control of a democratic state is legitimate cannot be settled until we first know to whom the justification of a regime of control is owed. According to the state sovereignty view, the control of entry policy, including of movement, immigration, and naturalization, ought to be under the unilateral discretion of the state itself: justification for entry policy is owed solely to members. This position, however, is inconsistent (...)
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  2. Cooperation, Pervasive Impact, and Coercion: On the Scope of Distributive Justice.Arash Abizadeh - 2007 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (4):318–358.
    Many anticosmopolitan Rawlsians argue that since the primary subject of justice is society's basic structure, and since there is no global basic structure, the scope of justice is domestic. This paper challenges the anticosmopolitan basic structure argument by distinguishing three interpretations of what Rawls meant by the basic structure and its relation to justice, corresponding to the cooperation, pervasive impact, and coercion theories of distributive justice. On the cooperation theory, it is true that there is no global basic structure, but (...)
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  3. Democratic Legitimacy and State Coercion: A Reply to David Miller.Arash Abizadeh - 2010 - Political Theory 38 (1):121-130.
  4. On the Demos and its Kin: Nationalism, Democracy, and the Boundary Problem.Arash Abizadeh - 2012 - American Political Science Review 106 (4):867-882.
    Cultural-nationalist and democratic theory both seek to legitimize political power via collective self-rule: their principle of legitimacy refers right back to the very persons over whom political power is exercised. But such self-referential theories are incapable of jointly solving the distinct problems of legitimacy and boundaries, which they necessarily combine, once it is assumed that the self-ruling collectivity must be a pre-political, in-principle bounded, ground of legitimacy. Cultural nationalism claims that political power is legitimate insofar as it expresses the nation’s (...)
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  5. The Special-Obligations Challenge to More Open Borders.Arash Abizadeh - 2016 - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
    According to the special-obligations challenge to the justice argument for more open borders, immigration restrictions to wealthier polities are justified because of special obligations owed to disadvantaged compatriots. I interrogate this challenge by considering three types of ground for special obligations amongst compatriots. First, the social relations that come with shared residence, such as participation in a territorially bounded, mutually beneficial scheme of cooperation; having fundamental interests especially vulnerable to the state’s exercise of power; being subject to coercion by the (...)
     
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  6. Does Collective Identity Presuppose an Other: On the Alleged Incoherence of Global Solidarity.Arash Abizadeh - 2005 - American Political Science Review 99 (1):45-60.
    Two arguments apparently support the thesis that collective identity presupposes an Other: the recognition argument, according to which seeing myself as a self requires recognition by an other whom I also recognize as a self (Hegel); and the dialogic argument, according to which my sense of self can only develop dialogically (Taylor). But applying these arguments to collective identity involves a compositional fallacy. Two modern ideologies mask the particularist thesis’s falsehood. The ideology of indivisible state sovereignty makes sovereignty as such (...)
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  7.  78
    Does Liberal Democracy Presuppose a Cultural Nation? Four Arguments.Arash Abizadeh - 2002 - American Political Science Review 96 (3):495-509.
    This paper subjects to critical analysis four common arguments in the sociopolitical theory literature supporting the cultural nationalist thesis that liberal democracy is viable only against the background of a single national public culture: the arguments that (1) social integration in a liberal democracy requires shared norms and beliefs (Schnapper); (2) the levels of trust that democratic politics requires can be attained only among conationals (Miller); (3) democratic deliberation requires communicational transparency, possible in turn only within a shared national public (...)
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  8. Is There a Genuine Tension Between Cosmopolitan Egalitarianism and Special Responsibilities?Arash Abizadeh & Pablo Gilabert - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (3):349 - 365.
    Samuel Scheffler has recently argued that some relationships are non-instrumentally valuable; that such relationships give rise to “underived” special responsibilities; that there is a genuine tension between cosmopolitan egalitarianism and special responsibilities; and that we must consequently strike a balance between the two. We argue that there is no such tension and propose an alternative approach to the relation between cosmopolitan egalitarianism and special responsibilities. First, while some relationships are non-instrumentally valuable, no relationship is unconditionally valuable. Second, whether such relationships (...)
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  9. Historical Truth, National Myths and Liberal Democracy: On the Coherence of Liberal Nationalism.Arash Abizadeh - 2004 - Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (3):291–313.
    The claim that liberal democratic normative commitments are compatible with nationalism is challenged by the widely acknowledged fact that national identities invariably depend on historical myths: the nationalist defence of such publicly shared myths is in tension with liberal democratic theory’s commitment to norms of publicity, public justification, and freedom of expression. Recent liberal nationalist efforts to meet this challenge by justifying national myths on liberal democratic grounds fail to distinguish adequately between different senses of myth. Once this is done (...)
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  10. Hobbes on the Causes of War: A Disagreement Theory.Arash Abizadeh - 2011 - American Political Science Review 105 (02):298-315.
    Hobbesian war primarily arises not because material resources are scarce; or because humans ruthlessly seek survival before all else; or because we are naturally selfish, competitive, or aggressive brutes. Rather, it arises because we are fragile, fearful, impressionable, and psychologically prickly creatures susceptible to ideological manipulation, whose anger can become irrationally inflamed by even trivial slights to our glory. The primary source of war, according to Hobbes, is disagreement, because we read into it the most inflammatory signs of contempt. Both (...)
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  11. A Critique of the “Common Ownership of the Earth” Thesis.Arash Abizadeh - 2013 - Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 8 (2):33-40.
    In On Global Justice, Mathias Risse claims that the earth’s original resources are collectively owned by all human beings in common, such that each individual has a moral right to use the original resources necessary for satisfying her basic needs. He also rejects the rival views that original resources are by nature owned by no one, owned by each human in equal shares, or owned and co-managed jointly by all humans. I argue that Risse’s arguments fail to establish a form (...)
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  12.  38
    Hobbes’s Agnostic Theology Before Leviathan.Arash Abizadeh - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):714-737.
    Prior to 1651, Hobbes was agnostic about the existence of God. Hobbes argued that God’s existence could neither be demonstrated nor proved, so that those who reason about God’s existence will systematically vacillate, sometimes thinking God exists, sometimes not, which for Hobbes is to say they will doubt God’s existence. Because this vacillation or doubt is inherent to the subject, reasoners like himself will judge that settling on one belief rather than another is epistemically unjustified. Hobbes’s agnosticism becomes apparent once (...)
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  13.  37
    Hobbes on Mind: Practical Deliberation, Reasoning, and Language.Arash Abizadeh - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1):1-34.
    Readers of Hobbes usually take his account of practical deliberation to be a passive process that does not respond to agents’ judgements about what normative reasons they have. This is ostensibly because deliberation is purely conative and/or excludes reasoning, or because Hobbesian reasoning is itself a process in which reasoners merely experience a succession of mental states (e.g. according to purely associative mental structures). I argue to the contrary that for Hobbes deliberation (and hence the basis for voluntary action) is (...)
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  14. Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics.Arash Abizadeh - 2018 - Cambridge University Press.
    Reading Hobbes in light of both the history of ethics and the conceptual apparatus developed in recent work on normativity, this book challenges received interpretations of Hobbes and his historical significance. Arash Abizadeh uncovers the fundamental distinction underwriting Hobbes's ethics: between prudential reasons of the good, articulated via natural laws prescribing the means of self-preservation, and reasons of the right or justice, comprising contractual obligations for which we are accountable to others. He shows how Hobbes's distinction marks a watershed in (...)
     
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  15.  52
    Sovereign Jurisdiction, Territorial Rights, and Membership in Hobbes.Arash Abizadeh - 2016 - In A. Martinich & Kinch Hoekstra (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Hobbes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Although sovereign jurisdictional authority is not itself a kind of property right for Hobbes, it is the object of the sovereign’s (not the state’s) proprietary rights. Jurisdictional authority for Hobbes is foundationally over persons rather than territory, so that the sovereign’s territorial jurisdiction is parasitic on jurisdiction over persons. Territory nevertheless plays a significant role in determining subjects’ political obligations because the sovereign’s ability to protect subjects is necessary for such obligations, and control over space is necessary to protect subjects. (...)
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  16.  89
    The Passions of the Wise: Phronêsis, Rhetoric, and Aristotle’s Passionate Practical Deliberation.Arash Abizadeh - 2002 - Review of Metaphysics 56 (2):267 - 296.
    According to Aristotle, character (êthos) and emotion (pathos) are constitutive features of the process of phronetic practical deliberation: in order to render a determinate action-specific judgement, practical reasoning cannot be simply reduced to logical demonstration (apodeixis). This can be seen by uncovering an important structural parallel between the virtue of phronêsis and the art of rhetoric. This structural parallel helps to show how Aristotle's account of practical reason and deliberation, which constructively incorporates the emotions, illuminates key issues in contemporary democratic (...)
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  17.  43
    Hobbes’s Conventionalist Theology, the Trinity, and God as an Artificial Person by Fiction.Arash Abizadeh - 2018 - Historical Journal 60 (4):915-941.
    By the time Hobbes wrote Leviathan, he was a theist, but not in the sense presumed by either side of the present-day debate concerning the sincerity of his professed theism. On the one hand, Hobbes’s expressed theology was neither merely deistic, nor confined to natural theology: the Hobbesian God is not merely a first mover, but a person who counsels, commands, and threatens. On the other hand, the Hobbesian God’s existence depends on being constructed artificially by human convention. The Hobbesian (...)
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  18. Publicity, Privacy, and Religious Toleration in Hobbes's Leviathan.Arash Abizadeh - 2013 - Modern Intellectual History 10 (2):261-291.
    What motivated an absolutist Erastian who rejected religious freedom, defended uniform public worship, and deemed the public expression of disagreement a catalyst for war to endorse a movement known to history as the champion of toleration, no coercion in religion, and separation of church and state? At least three factors motivated Hobbes’s 1651 endorsement of Independency: the Erastianism of Cromwellian Independency, the influence of the politique tradition, and, paradoxically, the contribution of early-modern practices of toleration to maintaining the public sphere’s (...)
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  19.  85
    In Defence of the Universalization Principle in Discourse Ethics.Arash Abizadeh - 2005 - Philosophical Forum 36 (2):193–211.
  20. Banishing the Particular: Rousseau on Rhetoric, Patrie, and the Passions.Arash Abizadeh - 2001 - Political Theory 29 (4):556-582.
    Rousseau initially attempts to secure freedom by grounding political rule in persuasion, rather than coercion. When the spectre of rhetoric undermines this strategy, he is led to ground the volonté générale in the silent and introspective disclosure of the solitary citizen’s inner conscience, which through a sentimentalist transformation of Descartes’s category of bon sens, is recast as an eminently public sentiment. But when rhetorical eloquence turns out to be indispensable to politics, Rousseau turns to republican virtue and the trope of (...)
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  21.  65
    On the Philosophy/Rhetoric Binaries: Or, is Habermasian Discourse Motivationally Impotent?Arash Abizadeh - 2007 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (4):445-472.
    The susceptibility of Habermas' socio-political theory to the charge of motivational impotence can be traced to a problem in the way in which he conceives of discursive practical reason. By implicitly constructing the notion of discursive rationality in contrast to, and in abstraction from, the rhetorical and affective components of language use, Habermas' notion of discursive practical reason ends up reiterating the same binaries — between reason and passion, abstract and concrete, universal and particular — that provide the tacit parameters (...)
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  22.  6
    Which Procedure for Deciding Election Procedures?Arash Abizadeh - 2017 - In Andrew Potter, Daniel Marc Weinstock & Peter Loewen (eds.), Should We Change How We Vote? Evaluating Canada's Electoral System. Montreal: Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2017.. pp. 188-196.
    One way to evaluate electoral rules is instrumental: we ask what effects they tend to produce. A second way is constitutive: we ask what kinds of values they embody, or whether the procedures they effect respect people's rights or moral status. A third way is genetic: we ask by what procedure the electoral rules were adopted. I shall argue that in judging the value or the legitimacy of electoral rules, we must consider not only (1) the values they serve instrumentally (...)
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  23.  40
    Liberal Nationalist Versus Postnational Social Integration: On the Nation's Ethno-Cultural Particularity and ‘Concreteness’.Arash Abizadeh - 2004 - Nations and Nationalism 10 (3):231-250.
    Liberal nationalists advance two claims: (1) an empirical claim that nationalism is functionally indispensable to the viability of liberal democracy (because it is necessary to social integration) and (2) a normative claim that some forms of nationalism are compatible with liberal democratic norms. The empirical claim is often supported, against postnationalists’ view that social integration can bypass ethnicity and nationality, by pointing to the inevitable ethnic and cultural particularities of all political institutions. I argue that (1) the argument that ethno-cultural (...)
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  24.  78
    The Absence of Reference in Hobbes’ Philosophy of Language.Arash Abizadeh - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    Against the dominant view in contemporary Hobbes scholarship, I argue that Hobbes’ philosophy of language implicitly denies that linguistic expressions refer to anything. I defend this thesis both textually, in light of what Hobbes actually said, and contextually, in light of Hobbes’ desertion of the vocabulary of suppositio, which was prevalent in semantics leading up to Hobbes. Hobbes explained away the apparent fact of linguistic reference via a reductive analysis: the relation between words and things wholly reduces to a composite (...)
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  25.  88
    Wage Competition and the Special-Obligations Challenge to More Open Borders.Arash Abizadeh, Manish Pandey & Sohrab Abizadeh - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (3):255-269.
    According to the special-obligations challenge to the justice argument for more open borders, immigration restrictions to wealthier polities are justified because of special obligations owed to disadvantaged compatriots negatively impacted by the immigration of low-skilled foreign workers. We refute the special-obligations challenge by refuting its empirical premise and draw out the normative implications of the empirical evidence for border policies. We show that immigration to wealthier polities has negligible impact on domestic wages and that only previous cohorts of immigrants are (...)
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  26. Liberal Egalitarian Arguments for Closed Borders: Some Preliminary Critical Reflections.Arash Abizadeh - 2006 - Ethics & Economics 4 (1).
    There are at least five important arguments for why liberal egalitarianism permits states, under today's circumstances, to close their borders to foreigners: the public order, domestic economy, social integration, political threat, and domestic welfare arguments. Critical examination of these arguments suggests that liberal egalitarianism, rather than supporting a right to close one's borders to foreigners, mandates borders considerably more open than is the practice of today's self-styled liberal states.
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  27.  3
    Les signes religieux, la laïcité et la mentalité médiévale : du débat public sur la Charte des valeurs.Arash Abizadeh - 2016 - In Alain-G. Gagnon & Jean-Charles St-Louis (eds.), Les Conditions du dialogue au Québec : Laïcité, réciprocité, pluralisme. Montreal: Québec Amérique. pp. 29-41.
    Our public debate over secularism has suffered from a kind of amnesia about the historical genesis of the modern, secular, and tolerant state. The transition away from the highly intolerant and persecutory regimes of late-medieval and early-modern Europe was greatly facilitated by four important developments. First, Europeans learned that social order and cohesion are threatened less by diversity than by intolerance of diversity. Second, the traditionally paternalist vision of the state’s role was called into question by a new valuation of (...)
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  28. The Representation of Hobbesian Sovereignty: Leviathan as Mythology.Arash Abizadeh - 2013 - In S. A. Lloyd (ed.), Hobbes Today. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Readers of Hobbes have often seen his Leviathan as a deeply paradoxical work. On one hand, recognizing that no sovereign could ever wield enough coercive power to maintain social order, the text recommends that the state enhance its power ideologically, by tightly controlling the apparatuses of public discourse and socialization. The state must cultivate an image of itself as a mortal god of nearly unlimited power, to overpower its subjects and instil enough fear to win obedience. On the other hand, (...)
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  29. Closed Borders, Human Rights, and Democratic Legitimation.Arash Abizadeh - 2010 - In David Hollenbach (ed.), Driven From Home: Human Rights and the New Realities of Forced Migration. Georgetown University Press.
    Critics of state sovereignty have typically challenged the state’s right to close its borders to foreigners by appeal to the liberal egalitarian discourse of human rights. According to the liberty argument, freedom of movement is a basic human right; according to the equality or justice argument, open borders are necessary to reduce global poverty and inequality, both matters of global justice. I argue that human rights considerations do indeed mandate borders considerably more open than is the norm today but that, (...)
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  30. Border Coercion and Democratic Legitimacy: Freedom of Association, Territorial Dominion, and Self-Defence.Arash Abizadeh - manuscript
  31.  15
    Counter-Majoritarian Democracy: Persistent Minorities, Federalism, and the Power of Numbers.Arash Abizadeh - forthcoming - American Political Science Review.
    The majoritarian conception of democracy implies that counter-majoritarian institutions such as federalism—and even representative institutions—are derogations from democracy. The majoritarian conception is mistaken for two reasons. First, it is incoherent: majoritarianism ultimately stands against one of democracy’s core normative commitments—namely, political equality. Second, majoritarianism is premised on a mistaken view of power, which fails to account for the power of numbers and thereby fails to explain the inequality faced by members of persistent minorities. Although strict majority rule serves the democratic (...)
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  32. Democratic Elections Without Campaigns? Normative Foundations of National Baha'i Elections.Arash Abizadeh - 2005 - World Order 37 (1):7-49.
    National Baha’i elections, conducted world-wide without nominations, competitive campaigns, or parties, challenge the emerging consensus that the only truly democratic elections are multiparty elections in which each party’s candidates compete freely for votes. National Baha’i electoral institutions are based on three core values: respect for the inherent dignity of each person, the unity and solidarity of persons collectively, and the justice and fairness of institutions. While liberal political philosophy interprets respect for dignity exclusively in terms of equality and freedom, the (...)
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  33. Démocratie, nation et ethnie : le problème des frontières.Arash Abizadeh - 2013 - Raison Publique.
    Democratic theory claims that the exercise of political power is legitimate only to the extent that it conforms to the will of the people; cultural nationalism claims that it is legitimate only to the extent that it conforms to the pre-political culture of the nation. But democracy and cultural nationalism both face a parallel problem: How to determine the boundaries of the collectivity that is supposed to legitimize political power? This problem explains why democracy is disposed to collapse into cultural (...)
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  34.  10
    Glory and the Evolution of Hobbes’s Disagreement Theory of War: From Elements to Leviathan.Arash Abizadeh - 2020 - History of Political Thought 41 (2):265-298.
    The centrality of glory, contempt, and revengefulness to Leviathan’s account of war is highlighted by three contextual features: Hobbes’s displacement of the traditional conception of glory as intrinsically intersubjective and comparative; his incorporation of the Aristotelian view that revengefulness is provoked by expressions of mere contempt; and the evolution of his account between 1640 and 1651. An archeology of Leviathan’s famous chapter thirteen confirms that Hobbes’s thesis throughout his career was that disagreement is the universal cause of war because prickly, (...)
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  35. Geschlossene Grenzen, Menschenrechte und demokratische Legitimation.Arash Abizadeh - 2013 - Polylog.
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  36. In Defence of Imperfection: An Election-Sortition Compromise.Arash Abizadeh - 2019 - In John Gastil & Erik Olin Wright (eds.), Legislature by Lot. London: pp. 249-255.
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  37.  38
    Introduction to Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics.Arash Abizadeh - 2018 - Online Colloquium of the European Hobbes Society.
    Overview of "Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics" to kick off online colloquium on book, with responses by Sandra Field, Michael LeBuffe, and Daniel Eggers, ending with reply from Arash Abizadeh.
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  38. Power & Community, Here & Now the Global Context of Political Morality.Arash Abizadeh - 1994
     
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  39.  13
    Representation, Bicameralism, Political Equality, and Sortition: Reconstituting the Second Chamber as a Randomly Selected Assembly.Arash Abizadeh - forthcoming - Perspectives on Politics.
    The two traditional justifications for bicameralism are that a second legislative chamber serves a legislative-review function (enhancing the quality of legislation) and a balancing function (checking concentrated power and protecting minorities). I furnish here a third justification for bicameralism, with one elected chamber and the second selected by lot, as an institutional compromise between contradictory imperatives facing representative democracy: elections are a mechanism of people’s political agency and of accountability, but run counter to political equality and impartiality, and are insufficient (...)
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  40.  22
    Recognition of Reviewers.Arash Abizadeh, Andrew Altman, Scott Arnold, Birmingham Kim Atkins, Sorin Baisau, Derek Bell, Roslyn Bologh, Thom Brooks, Dario Castiglione & Louis Charland - 2008 - Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (4):467-470.
  41.  17
    Reply to Critics of Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics.Arash Abizadeh - 2019 - Online Colloquium of the European Hobbes Society.
    Author's reply to reviews of "Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics" Sandra Field, Michael LeBuffe, and Daniel Eggers, in online colloquium on book.
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  42. Rhetoric, the Passions, and Difference in Discursive Democracy.Arash Abizadeh - 2001 - Dissertation, Harvard University
    How can liberal democracies mobilize their citizens and effect their social integration, while accommodating their tremendous heterogeneity and respecting their freedom? Neo-Kantian liberals and cosmopolitans such as Habermas reject appeals to shared ethnicity, culture, or nation, for fear that they effect the suppression of difference; communitarian critics retort that theories like Habermas's are impotent to motivate social integration. My goal is to show that this theoretical impasse is an artifact of the fact that both camps articulate their disagreements within the (...)
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  43.  51
    Subjectivism, Instrumentalism, and Prudentialism About Reasons: On the Normativity of Instrumental Transmission.Arash Abizadeh - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):387-402.
    According to a subjectivist theory, normative reasons are grounded in facts about our desires. According to an instrumentalist theory, reasons are grounded also in facts about the relevant means to desired objects. These are distinct theories. The widespread tendency to conflate the normativity of subjective and instrumentalist precepts obscures two facts. First, instrumentalist precepts incorporate a subjective element with an objective one. Second, combining these elements into a single theory of normative reasons requires explaining how and why they are to (...)
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  44.  16
    The Grammar of Social Power: Power-to, Power-with, Power-Despite and Power-Over.Arash Abizadeh - forthcoming - Political Studies.
    There are two rival conceptions of power in modern sociopolitical thought. According to one, all social power reduces to power-over-others. According to another, the core notion is power-to-effect-outcomes, to which even power-over reduces. This article defends seven theses. First, agential social power consists in a relation between agent and outcomes (power-to). Second, not all social power reduces to power-over and, third, the contrary view stems from conflating power-over with a distinct notion: power-despite-resistance. Fourth, the widespread assumption that social power presupposes (...)
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  45.  86
    The Radical Hobbes: The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes, by Jeffrey R. Collins. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2005. 326 Pp. $125.00 , $55.00 . Subverting the Leviathan: Reading Thomas Hobbes as a Radical Democrat, by James Martel. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. 240 Pp. $34.50. [REVIEW]Arash Abizadeh - 2009 - Political Theory 37 (5):706-712.
  46.  39
    Review Symposium. [REVIEW]Joseph Carens, Rainer Bauböck, David Miller & Arash Abizadeh - 2015 - Political Theory 43 (3):380-411.
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