There is an underlying assumption in the social sciences that consciousness and social life are ultimately classical physical/material phenomena. In this ground-breaking book, Alexander Wendt challenges this assumption by proposing that consciousness is, in fact, a macroscopic quantum mechanical phenomenon. In the first half of the book, Wendt justifies the insertion of quantum theory into social scientific debates, introduces social scientists to quantum theory and the philosophical controversy about its interpretation, and then defends the quantum consciousness hypothesis against (...) the orthodox, classical approach to the mind-body problem. In the second half, he develops the implications of this metaphysical perspective for the nature of language and the agent-structure problem in social ontology. Wendt's argument is a revolutionary development which raises fundamental questions about the nature of social life and the work of those who study it. (shrink)
Staaten beanspruchen für sich das Recht, Gesetze geben und mit Zwangsgewalt durchsetzen zu dürfen. Doch unter welchen Bedingungen haben sie dieses Recht tatsächlich? -/- Das ist die grundlegendste Frage der Politischen Philosophie. Obwohl wir die Autoritätsansprüche des Staates oft als selbstverständlich hinnehmen, erscheinen sie moralisch durchaus fragwürdig, wenn man Personen als frei und gleich begreift. Wie können wenige Parlamentsmitglieder das Recht haben, für Millionen Menschen verbindliche Gesetze zu erlassen? Wie können Polizeibeamte und Richter das Recht haben, diese Gesetze gegenüber Personen (...) durchzusetzen, die sie ablehnen? In diesem kurzen, verständlichen und anregenden Buch stellt Fabian Wendt die fünf wichtigsten Theorien politischer Autorität aus der zeitgenössischen Politischen Philosophie vor. Er diskutiert darüber hinaus den Anarchismus, der als Alternative ernst zu nehmen ist, falls alle Begründungsversuche politischer Autorität fehlschlagen sollten. (shrink)
Introductory text for the CRISPP-special issue and Routledge-book on "Compromising on Justice". Also includes a summary of the articles by Steven Wall, Robert B. Talisse, Sune Lægaard, Daniel Weinstock, Enzo Rossi and Fabian Wendt.
From citizens paying taxes to employees following their bosses’ orders and kids obeying their parents, we take it for granted that a whole range of authorities have the power to impose duties on others. However, although authority is often accepted in practice, it looks philosophically problematic if we conceive persons as free and as equals. -/- In this short and accessible book, Fabian Wendt examines the basis of authority, discussing five prominent theories that try to explain how claims to (...) authority can be vindicated. Focusing in particular on the issue of how states can rightfully claim authority, he rigorously analyses the theories’ arguments and evaluates their strengths and weaknesses. He also debates anarchism as an alternative that should be taken seriously if no theory ultimately succeeds in explaining state authority. -/- This clear and engaging book will be essential reading for anyone grappling with the most fundamental questions of authority and obligation in political theory and political philosophy. (shrink)
Philip Pettit’s republican conception of freedom is presented as an alternative both to negative and positive conceptions of freedom. The basic idea is to conceptualize freedom as non-domination, not as non-interference or self-mastery. When compared to negative freedom, Pettit’s republican conception comprises two controversial claims: the claim that we are unfree if we are dominated without actual interference, and the claim that we are free if we face interference without domination. Because the slave is a widely accepted paradigm of the (...) unfree person, the case of a slave with a non-interfering master is often cited as providing a good argument for the first republican claim and against a negative conception of freedom. One aim of this article is to raise doubts about whether this is true. The other aim of the article is to show that the prisoner—also a paradigm of the unfree person—presents a good argument against the second republican claim and in favour of a negative conception of freedom. This is called the ‘prisoner-argument’. It will be argued that neither Pettit’s distinction between free persons and free choices nor his distinction between compromising and conditioning factors of freedom can help to rebut the charge of the prisoner-argument. (shrink)
In the last ten or fifteen years, realism has emerged as a distinct approach in political theory. Realists are skeptical about the merits of abstract theories of justice. They regard peace, order, and stability as the primary goals of politics. One of the more concrete aims of realists is to develop a realist perspective on legitimacy. I argue that realist accounts of legitimacy are unconvincing, because they do not solve what I call the “puzzle of legitimacy”: the puzzle of how (...) some persons can have the right to rule over others, given that all persons are equals. I focus on the realist accounts of legitimacy developed by Bernard Williams and John Horton. (shrink)
Robert Nozick and Eric Mack have tried to show that a minimal state could be just. A minimal state, they claim, could help to protect people’s moral rights without violating moral rights itself. In this article, I will discuss two challenges for defenders of a minimal state. The first challenge is to show that the just minimal state does not violate moral rights when taxing people and when maintaining a monopoly on the use of force. I argue that this challenge (...) can be met. The second challenge is to show that the just min-imal state has political authority including, most importantly, the moral power to im-pose duties on citizens. I argue that both Nozick and Mack lack the resources to meet that challenge, and that political authority cannot be deflated. This is an important prob-lem because a lack of political authority also undermines a state’s justness. (shrink)
Modern sovereignty is anthropocentric, constituted and organized by reference to human beings alone. Although a metaphysical assumption, anthropocentrism is of immense practical import, enabling modern states to command loyalty and resources from their subjects in pursuit of political projects. It has limits, however, which are brought clearly into view by the authoritative taboo on taking UFOs seriously. UFOs have never been systematically investigated by science or the state, because it is assumed to be known that none are extraterrestrial. Yet in (...) fact this is not known, which makes the UFO taboo puzzling given the ET possibility. Drawing on the work of Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida, the puzzle is explained by the functional imperatives of anthropocentric sovereignty, which cannot decide a UFO exception to anthropocentrism while preserving the ability to make such a decision. The UFO can be "known" only by not asking what it is. (shrink)
From a left-libertarian perspective, it seems almost impossible for states to acquire political authority. For that reason, left-libertarians like Peter Vallentyne understandably hope that states without political authority could nonetheless implement left-libertarian justice. Vallentyne has argued that one can indeed assess a state’s justness without assessing its political authority. Against Vallentyne, I try to show that states without political authority have to be judged unjust even if they successfully promote justice. The reason is that institutions can be unjust independently from (...) what they achieve or do: they can be ‘intrinsically unjust’. Institutions, I argue, are intrinsically unjust when they have legal liberties and powers without having the corresponding moral liberties and powers. States without political authority are intrinsically unjust in that sense. Hence the issues of a state’s justness and a state’s political authority cannot be dealt with separately. This is a problem not only for left-libertarians but for ‘philosophical anarchism’ more generally. (shrink)
O envelhecimento populacional é uma preocupação mundial e exige medidas de prevenção de saúde a serem adotadas com a maior brevidade possível. Esse processo é, muitas vezes, acompanhado pelo declínio das habilidades cognitivas, como a memória e as funções executivas. O objetivo do presente estudo é ..
It is generally claimed that there exist exceptional circumstances when taking human life may be approved and when such actions may be justified on moral grounds. Precise guidelines in the medical field for making such decisions concerning patients who are terminally ill or have irreparable injuries incompatible with a bearable life, are difficult to establish. Recommendations that take the particular logical form of a rule, such as "in dubio pro vita", "when in doubt favour life") have been suggested and in (...) some countries incorporated into legal texts (Germany). We claim here that such a rule is of no value since it is open-ended and always allows for doubt, and a decision to employ measures that would support human life could always be argued to be a valid choice. Preservation of this rule could be encouraged, but giving it the force of law may put physicians at risk, as they may be challenged for choosing to terminate life in otherwise ethically and medically uncontroversial circumstances. (shrink)
Our societies are marked not only by disagreements on the good life, but also by disagreements on justice. This motivates philosophers as divergent as John Gray and Chandran Kukathas to focus their normative political theories on peace instead of justice. In this article, I discuss how peace should be conceived if peace is to be a more realistic goal than justice, not presupposing any moral consensus. I distinguish two conceptions of peace to be found in the literature. One, ordinary peace, (...) conceives of peace as non-violent coexistence based on modus vivendi arrangements. Modus vivendi arrangements, in turn, are explained as a special kind of compromise. Ordinary peace does not presuppose any moral consensus and is therefore realistic, but at the same time it is too minimalist and undemanding to be satisfying. The other conception of peace, ambitious peace, can be found in Kukathas’s work. It is a conception of peace ‘beyond compromise’, not minimalist and undemanding, but, I will argue, not realistic because presupposing at least a second-order moral consensus. In the end, I advocate a division of labour between both conceptions of peace under the umbrella of an overarching ideal of peace. (shrink)
Perhaps no name is more clearly associated with the formulation of American psychology than that of William James. Yet, one of James’s last published works, A Pluralistic Universe, is little known and rarely cited in the discipline. On the 100th anniversary of the publication of this book, the authors of this special issue of The Journal of Mind and Behavior explore the past, present, and future legacy of the provocative ideas contained in this volume for psychology, including the history of (...) psychology, scientific fragmentation and ethics, the philosophy of science, psychological methods and theories, the psychology of religion, the multicultural movement, and the path of psychology in general. (shrink)
William James’s A Pluralistic Universe was not very influential in his day; 100 years later, however, calls for a Jamesian-style pluralism are increasingly common in the natural and social sciences. We first summarize James’s critique of monism and his defense of pluralism. Next, we discuss similar critiques of monism and calls for “strong” pluralism across the natural and social sciences, even in traditional bastions of monism like physics, biology, and economics. We then argue that psychology is also in need of (...) this pluralism, but the discipline is mired in uncritical, monistic assumptions, most notably operationism. We describe the problems this particular assumption presents, and also suggest some solutions we believe James would proffer, in the context of this monistic requirement. (shrink)
The, classical realist writings of E.H. Carr and constructivist publications of Alexander Wendt are extraordinarily influential. While they have provoked a great number of reactions within the discipline of International Relations, the ethical dimensions of their works have rarely been studied at length. This article seeks to remedy this lack of examination by engaging in an in-depth scrutiny of the moral concerns of these two mainstream International Relations scholars. On investigation, it is revealed that Carr demonstrates a strong commitment (...) to the ethical principle of fairness and Wendt a moral concern for the prevention of the use of organized violence. These concerns are shared by Rawlsians and cosmopolitans in International Relations, and these findings may thereby encourage closer engagement between these diverse communities that rarely speak to one another and strengthen disciplinary research on morals. (shrink)