Acts of civil disobedience and conscientious objection provide valuable indications of the congruence of political outcomes with citizens’ conceptions of justice and the good. As their primary concern is substantive, their logic seems extraneous to procedural approaches to justice. Accordingly, it has often been argued that these latter condemn citizens to a ‘deaf-and-blind’ acceptance of the outcomes of agreed procedures. A closer analysis of such acts of contestation shall reveal that although, for proceduralism, the outcomes of just procedures cannot be (...) contested as unjust , they may be contested on the ground of values other than justice, such as someone’s religious/ethical allegiances. Proceduralism about justice will be thus shown to be consistent with the commitment to realising certain outcome-oriented values. (shrink)
Whilst legitimacy is often thought to concern the processes through which coercive decisions are made in society, justice has been standardly viewed as a ‘substantial’ matter concerning the moral justification of the terms of social cooperation. Accordingly, theorization about procedures may seem appropriate for the former but not for the latter. To defend proceduralism as a relevant approach to justice, I distinguish three questions: (1) Who is entitled to exercise coercive power? (2) On what terms should the participants to a (...) scheme of cooperation interact? (3) How should the costs and benefits produced by cooperation be distributed? Legitimacy concerns (1), whereas justice applies to (2) and (3). Although the appropriateness of proceduralism is debatable in relation to (3), it seems well equipped to address the justice-related question in (2). And it does so by focusing on the inherent moral acceptability of the way in which persons are treated by the procedures through which they interact. (shrink)
It is a widely supported claim that liberal democratic institutions should treat citizens with equal respect. I neither dispute nor champion this claim, but investigate how it could be fulfilled. I do this by asking, as a sort of litmus test, how liberal democratic institutions should treat with respect citizens holding minority convictions, and thereby dissenting from a deliberative output. The first step of my argument consists in clarifying the sense in which liberal democracies have a primary concern for the (...) respectful treatment of citizens qua self-legislating persons. Taking the second step, I address critically the common tendency in the literature to concentrate on what I have termed the ex ante legem phase, focusing solely on the structure of institutionalized decision-making processes. I submit, rather, that the principle of equal respect for persons demands more of liberal democratic institutions to enhance citizens' chances to give voice to their consciences and influence, on that ground, the formulation of the rules to which they should conform. Fulfilling this commitment requires democratic theorizing to go beyond the ex ante legem phase and regard forms of ex post legem contestation as an extension of citizens' right to political participation. Against this backdrop, I take the third and last step and argue that a promising way forward consists in the adoption of an ex post legem version of conscientious exemptionism, granting citizens a conditional moral right to request exemptions on the grounds of conscience from certain controversial legal and political provisions. (shrink)
Is the corrupt behaviour of public officials a politically relevant kind of wrong only when it causes the malfunctioning of institutions? We challenge recent institutionalist approaches to political corruption by showing a sense in which the individual corrupt behaviour of certain public officials is wrong not only as a breach of personal morality but in inherently politically salient terms. To show this sense, we focus on a specific instance of individual corrupt behaviour on the part of public officials entrusted with (...) the power to implement public rules in a liberal democracy. Although not necessarily unlawful, their behaviour is politically wrong qua corrupt when it contradicts surreptitiously the requirement of public justification that undergirds the public order. Then, we distinguish this form of corruption as surreptitious action from such unlawful but publicly justifiable kinds of political misbehaviour as civil disobedience. (shrink)
The corruption of public officials and institutions is generally regarded as wrong. But in what exactly does this form of corruption consist and what kind of wrong does it imply? This article aims to take stock of the current philosophical discussion of the different senses in which political corruption is wrong in a general sense, beyond the specific negative legal, economic, and social costs it may happen to have in specific circumstances. Political corruption is usually presented as a pathology of (...) the public order. Therefore, the senses in which political corruption has been presented as wrong have varied depending on the normative theory of the public order that is presupposed. In this article, we offer a critical presentation of two major interpretations of the wrongfulness of political corruption that draw respectively on a neo-republican and a liberal account of the public order. Finally, we show how the analytical distinction between these approaches has important normative implications for the identification of relevant cases of political corruption. (shrink)
This paper aims to outline the essential structural traits that a procedural theory of justice for the management of conflicts about values should display in order to combine open-endedness and cogency. To this purpose, it offers an investigation into the characteristics of procedural justice through a critical assessment of John Rawls‟s taxonomy of proceduralism, in terms of perfect, imperfect and pure procedural justice. Given the concessions the two former kinds of proceduralism make to substantive theories, and the potentially misleading characterisation (...) Rawls gave of pure procedural theories of justice, it reformulates the latter category in terms of impure proceduralism. In this case, the theory is required not to pose substantive constraints on the qualities of just outcomes, but is, rather, expected to provide a trans-contextually applicable account of the qualities of just procedures on the basis of an independent criterion of justice. (shrink)
For many liberal democrats toleration has become a sort of pet-concept, to which appeal is made in the face of a myriad issues related to the treatment of minorities. Against the inflationary use of toleration, whether understood positively as recognition or negatively as forbearance, I argue that toleration may not provide the conceptual and normative tools to understand and address the claims for accommodation raised by at least one kind of significant minority: democratic dissenting minorities. These are individuals, or aggregates (...) of them, who oppose, on principled grounds, the outcomes of the majoritarian decision-making process. I argue that democratic dissenting minorities' claims are better understood as calls for respect for a person's capacity for self-legislation. I view respect as the cornerstone of justice in a liberal democracy: all norms resulting in a constraint on a person's conduct should be appropriately justified to her. I argue that the reconciliation of democratic dissenting minorities' claims requires an enhancement of the justificatory strategies of democratic decisions by enhancing in turn citizens' rights to political participation. This should be done both during decision making and after a provision is enacted by also securing space for contestation through such forms of illegal protest as civil disobedience and conscientious objection. (shrink)
This article aims to investigate the way in which a political theory of justice should respond to the endorsement of pluralism. After offering reasons in support of the necessity for such a theory to take pluralism seriously, an argument is put forward for its characterization in minimal and procedural terms. However, taking issue with the straightforward relationship of implication identified by a number of scholars between pluralism and procedural justice, this article contends that a direct relation can only be established (...) between pluralism and the need to define a minimal theory of justice, i.e. a theory that assumes as little as possible in terms of values and views of the world. Its procedural formulation is seen, instead, as a consequence of the limited predictive power of theory facing the heterogeneous situations with which it is expected to deal. (shrink)
This article contributes to the debate concerning the identification of politically relevant cases of corruption in a democracy by sketching the basic traits of an original liberal theory of institutional corruption. We define this form of corruption as a deviation with respect to the role entrusted to people occupying certain institutional positions, which are crucial for the implementation of public rules, for private gain. In order to illustrate the damages that corrupt behaviour makes to liberal democratic institutions, we discuss the (...) case of health care professionals’ abuse of their right to conscientious objection to abortion services. We show that the conscience clause can be instrumentally abused to sabotage democratically established public rules and thus exert undue private influence on their implementation. In this sense, from a liberal democratic perspective, institutional corruption is problematic because it is disruptive of such fundamental liberal ideals as the impartiality of public institutions and citizens’ political equality. (shrink)
Liberal theories of justice typically claim that political institutions should be justifiable to those who live under them – whatever their values. The more such values diverge, the greater the challenge of justifiability. Diversity of this kind becomes especially pronounced when the institutions in question are supra-national. Focusing on the case of the European Union, this paper aims to address a basic question: what kinds of value should inform the justification of political institutions facing a plurality of value systems? One (...) route to an answer is provided by John Rawls, who famously distinguishes between comprehensive and political values, and defends the exclusion of the former from the foundations of a political theory of justice. This paper questions the tenability of the Rawlsian solution, and draws attention to an alternative twofold conceptual distinction: that between minimal and non-minimal and between substantive and procedural values. Minimal values are meant to be as independent as possible of controversial conceptions of the good and views of the world, regardless of whether these are comprehensive or purely political. It will be argued that their endorsement may thus further specify the nature of what should be shared in order to justify political institutions in conditions of pluralism. In order to further refine the account of such basis of justification, two variants of minimalism will be presented according to whether they invest substantive or procedural values. Substantive values qualify the property of an outcome; procedural values qualify the property of a procedure. The latter part of the paper consists of a ‘face-off’ between minimal proceduralism and minimal substantivism, considering reasons in favour of the adoption of each. The result, we suggest, is a helpful reorientation of the political dimension of the value debates to which the multiplicity of values amid contemporary European horizons give rise. (shrink)
It is a standard requirement of democratic theory that all members of society be treated with equal respect as capable of self-determination (Christiano 2004; Dworkin 1977; Gutmann and Thompson 2004; Patten 2011; Waldron 1999). The fulfillment of this requirement is problematic vis-à-vis conscientious dissenters. Conscientious dissenters refuse to comply with legally enforced duties when compliance risks jeopardizing their moral integrity, because the required behavior would compromise their loyalty to (some of) their moral commitments. Coercing conscientious dissenters into behavior they deem (...) morally wrong, qua contrary to their conscience, amounts to disrespect because it threatens their capacity for .. (shrink)
On a proceduralist account of democracy, collective decisions derive their jus- tification—at least in part—from the qualities of the process through which they have been made. To fulfill its justificatory function, this process should ensure that citizens have an equal right to political participation as a respectful response to their equal status as agents capable of self-legislation. How should democratic participation be understood if it is to offer such a procedural justification for democratic decisions? I suggest that, in order to (...) overcome the structural procedural disadvantages affecting the actual, effective opportunities that citizens who hold nonmainstream views have to exercise their right to political participation, the enhancement of such opportunities requires securing space for contestation. Against this background, I vindicate the (currently underestimated) role of conscientious objection as a form of political participation. (shrink)
By reference to the illustrative case of the supranational regulation of local systems of food production, we aim to show the importance of identifying issues of international legitimacy as a discrete component – alongside issues of global distributive justice – of the liberal project of public justification of supranational collective decisions. Therefore, we offer the diagnosis of a problem but do not prescribe the therapy to cure it.
I processi di transizione post-conflitto pongono questioni prominenti per l’agenda politica globale. Si pensi, per esempio, alla transizione democratica in Sud Africa dopo la fine dell’Apartheid o alla ricostruzione politica dei paesi facenti parte dell’ex-Jugoslavia all’indomani delle guerre dei Balcani. Quali principi normativi dovrebbero informare tali processi? Questa domanda è al cuore del crescente dibattito sulla “giustizia transizionale”. Questo dibattito si è concentrato principalmente sulla rettificazione delle ingiustizie occorse a causa dei torti perpetrati e subiti dalle parti coinvolte. Di conseguenza, (...) la giustizia è stata tipicamente concepita come una proprietà di esiti distributivi di diritti e opportunità. I processi di transizione post-conflitto sono giusti nella misura in cui sono in grado di condurre a tali esiti. Un simile approccio orientato agli esiti è capace di rendere conto di dimensioni morali, animate da preoccupazioni di giustizia e/o pacificazione, che dovrebbero certamente figurare nella caratterizzazione e valutazione normativa dei processi di transizione. Tuttavia, esso rischia di perdere di vista un’altra dimensione egualmente rilevante che riguarda le qualità inerenti ai processi di transizione stessi. Per illuminare questa dimensione, vorrei portare l’attenzione su di una diversa idea di giustizia che riguarda le proprietà inerenti alle interazioni tra persone; la giustizia nelle interazioni. La tesi che sosterrò è che le procedure costitutive dei processi di transizione post-conflitto non dovrebbero essere disegnate con la sola o prioritaria preoccupazione di condurre le parti a un consenso o compromesso su di un accordo capace di rettificare le ingiustizie perpetrate e subite. È anche necessario che questi processi siano strutturati in modo da consentire alle parti di reinterpretare il loro conflitto come un problema condiviso, che richiede l’instaurazione di dinamiche d’interazione cooperative capaci di realizzare forme di trattamento inerentemente giuste delle loro pretese reciproche. (shrink)
The idea of toleration (or tolerance—the terms are mostly used interchangeably) plays a paramount role in liberal theorizing with regard to the normative characterization of the relations between the state and citizens and between majority and minority groups in society. Toleration occurs when an agent A refrains from interfering negatively with an agent B’s practice x or belief y despite A’s opposition to B’s x-ing or y-ing, although A thinks herself to be in the position of interfering. So, the notion (...) of toleration necessarily incorporates the three following elements: (1) negative judgment—whether grounded in moral disapproval or “mere” dislike; (2) power to interfere—whether actual, perceived, or counterfactual; (3) reasons for noninterference—whether epistemological (fallibilism, skepticism), practical (balance of forces), or moral (value commitments). Is the forbearance of what one finds objectionable a strong enough normative ideal when it comes to establishing what we owe to each other in circumstances of moral disagreement? Does the request that we (possibly grudgingly) put up with someone’s objectionable lifestyle and convictions render toleration a condescending concession rather than the consequence of the recognition of everyone’s equal rights? In response, some have argued that we should interpret demands of toleration not as mere claims for noninterference but for the public recognition of the equal legitimacy of someone’s lifestyles and convictions (toleration as recognition). A recent line of debate concerns the kinds of relation that the ideal of toleration is apt to inform: is toleration primarily a political ideal qualifying the way in which liberal institutions should treat those who live under them or should toleration be invoked also to characterize horizontal relations between citizens? Whatever response is given to this question, limits to toleration must be established. As toleration is required of us vis-à-vis what we find objectionable, does it entail relativism? Liberals tend to think that reference to the harm principle should work as a limit for toleration: but what does count as a relevant (physical or symbolic) harm? Such questions acquire importance as the domain of toleration extends from the realm of religious conflicts, out of which it originated in the 16th and 17th centuries, to include a number of culture and ethics-related issues: should a liberal state permit pornography? What is the appropriate response to such cultural practices as female circumcision? Should neutral institutions prohibit the exhibition of religious symbols in public spaces? (shrink)
This paper addresses the problem of the foundation of a procedural and minimalist approach to justice in terms of fair hearing. This approach may be summarised in the ‘principle of adversary argument’ (the idea that each side in a conflict should be heard). In particular, I intend to test whether this principle may provide the bases for a conception of justice applicable to conflicts of value in politics. More precisely, the considerations I shall offer aim to answer the following question: (...) ‘How should fair hearing (and in particular fair hearing qua listening to the other side) be construed and justified in order to provide the bases for addressing value conflicts justly?’. To this end, I contend that previous efforts to argue for the principle of adversary argument, especially those offered by Stuart Hampshire, have failed to provide genuinely universal and normatively cogent foundations for it. However, I submit that such foundations are nonetheless derivable from a basic idea of procedural equality which all participants in conflicts of value could be thought to endorse. (shrink)
The relations between the majority and minorities in a democracy have been standardly viewed as the main subject matter of toleration: the majority should refrain from using its dominant position to interfere with some minorities’ practices or beliefs despite its dislike or disapproval of such practices or beliefs. Can the idea of toleration provide us with the necessary resources to understand and respond to the problems arising out of majority/minorities relations in a democracy? We reply in the negative and make (...) two main claims: first, that resorting to toleration is not enough to make sense of the problems deriving from the unequal participation of minorities in society, and, second, that it risks sanctioning the asymmetric relation between the majority and minorities informed by the negative judgement of the former towards some belief or practice of the latter. We suggest resorting instead to the idea of equal opacity respect for persons: all persons should be treated equally as moral agents, in accordance with their equally possessing the capacity for self-legislation, and as if they were opaque to our judgement for all those properties of theirs which exceed moral agency. Looking at the majority/minorities relations through such a lens enables us to understand (and appropriately respond to) what is problematic in such relations: the majority often fails to treat minorities as moral agents by failing to take their voices into account on an equal footing, by seeing them merely as recipients of certain provisions affecting them rather than their authors, and by considering them as legitimately exposed to the majority’s (negative) judgment. The purchase of our argument is illustrated by reference to two minorities whose treatment is paradigmatic of the problematic nature of majority/minorities relations across Europe: Muslims and Roma. (shrink)
In this article, we engage critically with the understanding of majority-minority relations in a liberal democracy as relations of toleration. We make two main claims: first, that appeals to toleration are unable to capture the procedural problems concerning the unequal socio-political participation of minorities, and, second, that they do not offer any critical tool to establish what judgements the majority is entitled to consider valid reasons for action with respect to some minority. We suggest supplementing the reference to toleration with (...) a specific interpretation of respect for persons; all persons should be treated equally as self-legislators and as if they were opaque to our judgement as regards their agential abilities, on which their capacity for self-legislation supervenes. Minorities are disrespected in this sense whenever are treated merely as the addressees of the rules constraining the formulation and pursuit of their life-plans, rather than as their co-authors on an equal footing with the majority, and whenever their treatment in politics and society is considered as legitimately influenced by the majority's judgement of their agential abilities, either directly or by indirect inference from the evaluation of the content of their beliefs and practices. (shrink)
The WTO Dispute Settlement System (DSS) has been the object of many studies in politics, law, and economics focusing on institutional design problems. This paper contributes to such studies by accounting for the argumentative nature and sophisticated features of the DSS through a philosophical analysis of the procedures through which it is articulated. Jürgen Habermas's discourse theory is used as a hermeneutic device to disentangle the types of ‘orientations’ (compromise, consensus, and mutual understanding) pertaining to DSS procedures. We show that (...) these latter are oriented primarily to put the parties in a position to reach mutual understanding. Such an orientation is no mere idiosyncrasy of the DSS but is the only one consistently conducive to the WTO's general aims, in response to the various types of disputes that may arise between its Members. Before closing, we bring our procedural considerations to bear on the reform proposals of the DSS. (shrink)
Questo articolo offre una difesa dell'approccio procedurale alla giustizia rispetto alle critiche che ne evidenziano l'indeterminatezza normativa. A questo fine, l'articolo inizia con la presentazione di un modello di proceduralismo capace di rivelare la specificità di questo approccio alla giustizia rispetto alle alternative orientate agli esiti. La difesa di questo modello di proceduralismo si avvale di due strumenti che, all’interno del pensiero democratico liberale, sono stati invocati spesso quali canali di contestazione degli esiti politici e legali: la disobbedienza civile e (...) l’obiezione di coscienza. Per i proceduralisti, la prima può essere indirizzata verso gli esiti di procedure ingiuste, mentre la seconda ha a che fare con l’incongruenza tra le proprietà di un qualche esito e gli impegni morali personali (non pubblici) altrimenti perseguiti dalle parti interessate. In questo modo, l’analisi dell’obiezione di coscienza sembra essere capace di rivelare le basi sulle quali esiti proceduralmente giusti possono essere contestati ed esenzioni da essi richieste. Questa conclusione mira a chiarire in quale senso sia possibile ricomporre i conflitti tra le richieste della giustizia (procedurale) e quelle derivate dalle lealtà morali personali delle parti interessate, mostrando in questo modo l’appeal di un approccio procedurale alla giustizia in condizioni di disaccordo morale. (shrink)
L’oggetto di questo studio è il tipo di contributo che le teorizzazioni filosofiche sulla giustizia possono dare in risposta ai conflitti di valori in politica, perseguendo la risoluzione o la gestione di questi ultimi, e le implicazioni che la scelta di una di queste strade può avere sulla struttura della teoria stessa.
Contemporary societies are riddled with moral disputes caused by conflicts between value claims competing for the regulation of matters of public concern. This familiar state of affairs is relevant for one of the most important debates within liberal political thought: should institutions seek to realize justice or peace? Justice-driven philosophers characterize the normative conditions for the resolution of value conflicts through the establishment of a moral consensus on an order of priority between competing value claims. Peace-driven philosophers have concentrated, perhaps (...) more modestly, on the characterization of the ways in which competing value claims should be balanced, with a view to establishing a _modus vivendi _aimed at containing the conflict. _Interactive Justice _addresses an important question related to this debate: on what terms should the parties interact _during_ their conflict for their interaction to be morally acceptable to them? Although largely unexplored by political philosophers, this is a main area of concern in conflict management. Building on a proceduralist interpretation of "relational" concerns of justice, the author develops a liberal normative theory of interactive justice for the management of value conflict in politics grounded in the fundamental values of fair hearing and procedural equality. This book innovatively builds a bridge between works in political philosophy and peace studies to propose a fresh lens through which to view the normative responses liberal institutions ought to give to value conflict in politics, and moves beyond the apparent dichotomy between pursuing end-state justice through conflict resolution or peace through conflict containment. (shrink)
Contemporary societies are riddled with disputes caused by conflicts between the holders of value claims competing for the regulation of matters of public concern. Disputes regarding whether to permit euthanasia or the presence of religious symbols in public places illustrate this well. This familiar state of affairs is relevant for one of the most important debates within liberal political thought: should institutions seek to realize justice or peace? This book contributes to this debate by moving beyond the apparent dichotomy between (...) pursuing end-state justice through conflict resolution or peace through conflict containment and developing a theory of interactive justice for the management of value conflict in politics. Interactive justice in conflict management concerns the treatment that is due to the conflicting parties for the terms of their interaction to be inherently morally acceptable to them. The book offers a normative characterization of such terms that relies on a proceduralist interpretation of “relational” concerns of justice and is grounded in the liberal values of fair hearing and procedural equality. In so doing, it innovatively builds a bridge between works in political philosophy and peace studies to propose a fresh lens through which to view the normative responses liberal institutions ought to give to value conflict in politics. (shrink)
This paper aims to outline the essential structural traits that a procedural theory of justice for the management of conflicts about values should display in order to combine open-endedness and cogency. To this purpose, it offers an investigation into the characteristics of procedural justice through a critical assessment of John Rawl’s taxonomy of prodeduralism, in terms of perfect, imperfect and pure procedural justice. Given the concessions the two former kinds of proceduralism make to substantive theories, and the potentially misleading characterisation (...) Rawls gave of pure procedural theories of justice, it reformulates the latter category in terms of impure proceduralism. In this case, the theory is required not to pose substantive constraints on the qualities of just outcomes, but is, rather, expected to provide a transcontextually applicable account of the qualities of just procedures on the basis of an independent criterion of justice. (shrink)
Most contemporary political philosophers take justice—rather than legitimacy—to be the fundamental virtue of political institutions vis-à-vis the challenges of ethical diversity. Justice-driven theorists are primarily concerned with finding mutually acceptable terms to arbitrate the claims of conflicting individuals and groups. Legitimacy-driven theorists, instead, focus on the conditions under which those exercising political authority on an ethically heterogeneous polity are entitled to do so. But what difference would it make to the management of ethical diversity in liberal democratic societies if legitimacy (...) were prior to or independent from justice? -/- This question identifies a widely underexplored issue whose theoretical salience shows how the understanding of what constitutes the primary question of political philosophy has a deep impact on how practical political questions are interpreted and addressed. What difference would it make, for example, whether the difficulties concerning the safeguard of human rights were couched in terms of the justice or of the legitimacy of the documents and treaties sanctioning their implementation. How should the issue of the quality of democracies be addressed whether one assigned priority to the justice or legitimacy of democratic institutions? Addressing these and other topical questions, the book offers a new theoretical angle from which to consider a number of pressing social and political issues. (shrink)
The corruption of public officials and institutions is one of the most obvious problems that affects developed and developing countries alike. Because this view is largely shared, most current studies of this phenomenon—‘political corruption’—have been dedicated either to measuring or counteracting the negative political, social, and economic effects that this form of corruption may have in society. Albeit significant and urgent, these studies have distracted the attention of commentators from a somewhat more basic analysis of the nature and wrongness of (...) this phenomenon. This lacuna has resulted in the formulation of a multiplicity of actions that address a very heterogeneous set of issues, including such diverse phenomena as bribery, embezzlement, institutional malfunctioning, the inadequacy of political leaders, and clientelism. This situation is unsatisfactory because it muddles important distinctions between different pathologies that may affect the public order. But it matters also for the design of anti-corruption strategies that risk to either misfire or be too vague by lacking a clear target and an account of the exact kind of wrong these strategies are meant to prevent and/or correct. In our research on this topic, we have addressed this issue by offering a normative analysis of political corruption as surreptitious public action. Our account explains the distinguishing traits of political corruption and makes sense of its inherent wrongness as a contradiction of the logic of publicity that undergirds political interactions in a rights-based system. In this chapter, we draw on this research and expand it with a view to enhancing the identification of relevant instances of political corruption and the design of policies to counteract them. (shrink)
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