Every idealist believes himself to have rational grounds for the faith that somewhere, and in some world, and at some time, the ideal will triumph, so that a survey, a divine synopsis of all time, somehow reveals the lesson of all sorrow, the meaning of all tragedy, the triumph of the spirit. But it is not ours to say, in the world in which we at present have to live from one day to another, and to follow the fortunes of (...) man from one newspaper to another,--when and how the true revelation of the world's meaning is faced and[ found. The Basic Writings of Josiah Royce, Vol. II, p. 1146.]. (shrink)
Nearly $2 trillion is spent annually in the U.S. treating chronic illness — yet accessibility to quality health care services in rural communities for the chronically ill and dying remains problematic. Unique barriers present special challenges to a meaningful discussion of and subsequent strategies for addressing these issues in the context of increasingly scarce resources.
When people of good faith and sound mind disagree deeply about moral, religious, and other philosophical matters, how can we justify political institutions to all of them? The idea of public reason―of a shared public standard, despite disagreement―arose in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the work of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. At a time when John Rawls’ influential theory of public reason has come under fire but its core idea remains attractive to many, it is important not to (...) lose sight of earlier philosophers’ answers to the problem of private conflict through public reason. -/- The distinctive selections from the great social contract theorists in this volume emphasize the pervasive theme of intractable disagreement and the need for public justification. New essays by leading scholars then put the historical work in context and provide a focus of debate and discussion. They also explore how the search for public reason has informed a wider body of modern political theory―in the work of Hume, Hegel, Bentham, and Mill―sometimes in surprising ways. The idea of public reason is revealed as an overarching theme in modern political philosophy―one very much needed today. (shrink)
William Perm summarized the Magna Carta thus: “First, It asserts Englishmen to be free; that's Liberty. Secondly, they that have free-holds, that's Property.” Since at least the seventeenth century, liberals have not only understood liberty and property to be fundamental, but to be somehow intimately related or interwoven. Here, however, consensus ends; liberals present an array of competing accounts of the relation between liberty and property. Many, for instance, defend an essentially instrumental view, typically seeing private property as justified because (...) it is necessary to maintain or protect other, more basic, liberty rights. Important to our constitutional tradition has been the idea that “[t]he right to property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.” Along similar lines, it has been argued that only an economic system based on private property disperses power and resources, ensuring that private people in civil society have the resources to oppose the state and give effect to basic liberties. Alternatively, it is sometimes claimed that only those with property develop the independent characters that are necessary to preserve a regime of liberty. But not only have liberals insisted that, property is a means of preserving liberty, they have often conceived of it as an embodiment of liberty, or as a type of liberty, or indeed as identical to liberty. This latter view is popular among contemporary libertarians or classical liberals. Jan Narveson, for instance, bluntly asserts that “Liberty is Property,” while John Gray insists that “[t]he connection between property and the basic liberties is constitutive and not just instrumental.”. (shrink)
Liberal political theory is all too familiar with the divide between classical and welfare-state liberals. Classical liberals, as we all know, insist on the importance of small government, negative liberty, and private property. Welfare-state liberals, on the other hand, although they too stress civil rights, tend to be sympathetic to “positive liberty,” are for a much more expansive government, and are often ambivalent about private property. Although I do not go so far as to entirely deny the usefulness of this (...) familiar distinction, I think in many ways it is misleading. In an important sense, most free-market liberals are also “welfare-state” liberals. I say this because the overwhelming number of liberals, of both the pro-market and the pro-government variety, entertain a welfarist conception of political economy. On this dominant welfarist view, the ultimate justification of the politico-economic order is that it promotes human welfare. Traditional “welfare-state liberals” such as Robert E. Goodin manifestly adopt this welfarist conception. But it is certainly not only interventionists such as Goodin who insist that advancing welfare is the overriding goal of normative political economy. J. R. McCulloch, one of the great nineteenth-century laissez-faire political economists, was adamant that “freedom is not, as some appear to think, the end of government: the advancement of public prosperity and happiness is its end.” To be sure, McCulloch would have disagreed with Goodin about the optimal welfare-maximizing economic policy: the welfarist ideal, he and his fellow classical political economists believed, would best be advanced by provision of a legal and institutional framework — most importantly, the laws of property, contract, and the criminal code — that allows individuals to pursue their own interests in the market and, by so doing, promote public welfare. In general, what might be called the “classical-liberal welfare state” claims to advance welfare by providing the framework for individuals to seek wealth for themselves, while welfarists such as Goodin insist that a market order is seriously flawed as a mechanism for advancing human welfare and, in addition, that government has the competency to “correct market failures” in the provision of welfare. (shrink)
In 1911 Gerald F. Shove, later to become a leading Cambridge economist, submitted to King's College a fellowship dissertation on the application of G.E. Moore's ethical philosophy to political theory. In the article the dissertation, hitherto unpublished, is discussed with reference to both the acceptance and elaboration of Moore's Principia Ethica by the members of the Apostles and Bloomsbury groups and Shove's intellectual and personal biography. The thesis tackles some major concepts in political theory like the nature of human (...) societies, self-government, justice and freedom. (shrink)
Part One of this essay considered familiar ways of characterizing deontology, which focus on the notions of the good and the right. Here we will take up alternative approaches, which stress the type of reasons for actions that are generated by deontological theories. Although some of these alternative conceptualizations of deontology also employ a distinction between the good and the right, all mark the basic contrast between deontology and teleology in terms of reasons to act.
Current moral philosophy is often seen as essentially a debate between the two great traditions of consequentialism and deontology. Although there has been considerable work clarifying consequentialism, deontology is more often attacked or defended than analyzed. Just how we are to understand the very idea of a deontological ethic? We shall see that competing conceptions of deontology have been advanced in recent ethical thinking, leading to differences in classifying ethical theories. If we do not focus on implausible versions, the idea (...) of a deontological ethic is far more attractive than most philosophers have thought. Indeed, I shall argue that in an important sense, only a deontological ethic can be plausible. (shrink)