Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski reject expressive objections to markets on the grounds that market symbolism is culturally contingent, and contingent cultural symbols are less important than the benefits markets offer. I grant and, but I deny that these points suffice as grounds to dismiss expressive critiques of markets. For many plausible expressive critiques of markets are not symbolic critiques at all. Rather, they are critiques grounded in the idea that some market transactions embody morally inappropriate normative stances toward the (...) goods or services on offer. (shrink)
It is traditional to ascribe to Locke the view that every person who acquires natural property rights by labouring on resources is obligated to leave sufficient resources for everyone else. But during the last several decades, a number of authors have contributed to a compelling textual case against this reading. Nevertheless, Locke clearly indicates that there is something wrong with distributions in which some suffer while others thrive. But if he does not endorse the traditional proviso, what exactly is the (...) problem? In this paper, I offer a solution to this puzzle. I argue that according to Locke, once people use their natural rights to acquire large properties, many individuals are unable to enjoy the material and moral wellbeing, or “preservation,” that is the end of natural law. For even if such large properties pose no problem for material preservation, they foster arbitrary power that offends against moral preservation. (shrink)
Capitalism in the western world is currently facing a crisis of legitimacy in the face of rampant and growing inequality. In response, people are challenging the status quo and demanding their economic rights. But what economic rights do we have, and why? This book explores how four remarkable thinkers answered these questions during the nineteenth century's industrial revolution and how their ideas can provide a blueprint for economic justice today.
According to John Locke, the conditions of human happiness establish the content of natural law, but God’s commands make it morally binding. This raises two questions. First, why does moral obligation require an authority figure? Second, what gives God authority? I argue that, according to Locke, moral obligation requires an authority figure because to have an obligation is to be accountable to someone. I then argue that, according to Locke, God has a kind of parental authority inasmuch as he is (...) bound by covenant to guide us by revealing the content of the moral law. (shrink)
Deliberative democracy aspires to secure political liberty by making citizens the authors of their laws. But how can it do this in the face of deep disagreement, not to mention imperfect knowledge and limited altruism? Deliberative democracy can secure political liberty by affording each citizen an equal position as a co-author of public laws and norms. Moreover, fundamental deliberative democracy—in which institutional design is ultimately accountable to public deliberation but not necessarily subject to its direct control—does not strain knowledge or (...) altruism. Thus, there is a place for deliberative democracy in a robust political economy. (shrink)
Was Robert Boyle an occasionalist? And if so, what kind of occasionalist was he? These questions have long troubled commentators, as Boyle’s texts often seem to offer both endorsements of occasionalism and affirmations of bodies’ causal powers. I argue that Boyle’s position is best understood as reductive occasionalism, according to which bodily powers are relations between bodies and God’s action in the world, and there is no causal efficacy in bodies that is not strictly identical to God’s nomological causal efficacy.
John Locke held that every person has a natural duty to use her property efficiently, and that consent is required for legitimate political power. On the face of it, these two positions seem to be in tension. This is because, (1) according to Locke, it is nearly impossible to use resources efficiently unless one lives within a political community, and (2)the waste restriction is enforceable. Consequently, it might seem that persons living outside civil society may be forced to submit to (...) civil power, in violation of the consent requirement. I argue that this tension is only apparent; although the waste restriction is enforceable, the consent requirement is safe. But in the course of resolving this difficulty, three significant, but little-noticed, features of Locke's doctrine of consent to government come to light: (A) consent is conceptually necessary, and not just morally required, for persons to be subject to political power; (B) most people living outside civil society have a moral obligation to enter civil society if they can; and (C) consent to government can bind under duress so long as the duress does not render anyone dependent on the arbitrary wills of others. (shrink)
In Free Market Fairness, John Tomasi tries to show that ‘thick’ economic liberties, including the right to own productive property, are basic liberties. According to Tomasi, the policy-level consequences of protecting economic liberty as basic are essentially libertarian in character. I argue that if economic liberties are basic, just societies must guarantee their fair value to all citizens. And in order to secure the fair value of economic liberty, states must guarantee that citizens of roughly similar dispositions and talents are (...) roughly equally able to use their economic liberties to develop and pursue a conception of the good. This, I will argue, is a very demanding standard that requires aggressive taxation and redistribution. (shrink)
What gives some people the right to issue commands to everyone else and force everyone else to obey them? And why should people obey the commands of those with political power? These two key questions are the heart of the issue of political authority, and, in this volume, two philosophers debate the answers. Michael Huemer argues that political authority is an illusion and that no one is entitled to rule over anyone. He discusses and rebuts the major theories supporting political (...) authority's rightfulness: implicit social contract theory, hypothetical contract theories, democratic theories of authority, and utilitarian theories. Daniel Layman argues that democratic governments have authority because they are needed to protect our rights and because they are accountable to the people. Each author writes two replies directly addressing the arguments and ideas of the other. Key Features Covers a key foundational problem of political philosophy: the authority of government. Debate format ensures a full hearing of both sides. A Glossary includes key concepts in political philosophy related to the issue of authority. Annotated Further Reading sections point students to additional resources. Clear, concrete examples and arguments help students clearly see both sides of the argument. A Foreword by Matt Zwolinski describes a broader context for political authority and then traces the key points and turns in the authors' debate. (shrink)