The legend of Robin Hood exemplifies a distinct concern of justice neglected by theorists: the distributive results of systemic injustices. Robin Hood’s redistributive activities are justified by the principle that the distributive results of systemic injustices are unjust and should be corrected. This principle has relevance beyond the legend: since current inequalities in the US are results of systemic injustices, the US has good reason to take from the rich and give to the poor.
Some meritocratic defenders of capitalism rely on the principle that cooperators should receive a share of the product commensurate with their contribution. However, such defences of capitalism fail due to a dilemma. Either they rely on an understanding of contribution that arguably will be reflected by the capital-labour split in suitably idealized capitalist economies, but cannot serve as a plausible standard of merit; or they rely on an interpretation of contribution that is a plausible standard of merit, but which won’t (...) tend to be reflected by the capital-labour split in capitalist economies. (shrink)
I articulate and defend a Rousseauvian theory of alienation and argue that thus construed non-alienation is a requirement of justice. On the Rousseauvian account, alienation is a process whereby social and economic conditions produce a particular sort of moral-psychological failure. Alienation is undesirable in itself, but it also makes the alienated person miserable, wicked, and unfree. Since our social and economic conditions are chosen, we should choose those that do not have these undesirable consequences.
Driven by a sharp increase in claims for reparations, reparative justice has become a topic of academic debate. To some extent this debate has been marred by a failure to realize the complexity of reparative justice. In this essay we try to amend this shortcoming. We do this by developing a taxonomy of different kinds of wrongs that can underwrite claims to reparations. We identify four kinds of wrongs: entitlement violations, unjust exclusions from an otherwise acceptable system of entitlements, and (...) two kinds where a social practice systematically fails to embody an acceptable system of entitlements. In deliberation about what is required to repair a historical injustice the weight of backward- and forward-looking considerations is a function of the distinctive features of the injustice in question. Hence, the first step in adjudicating claims for reparation is to identify what kind of wrong the claim arises from. From the taxonomy of wrongs we are thus able to construct what we call the Field of Reparative Justice, which illustrates how the structure of deliberation for reparative justice tracks the distinctive features of different kinds of wrongs. (shrink)
The central idea of Rawls’s theory of justice is the idea of democratic society as a fair system of cooperation between free and equal citizens. The moral powers of democratic citizens are the capacities presupposed by this idea. Rawls identifies two such powers, the capacity for a conception of the good and the capacity for a sense of justice. I argue that the idea of democratic citizenship presupposes also a third moral power: the capacity for working. Since the basic rights (...) are the rights necessary for the development and exercise of the moral powers of citizenship; and since the capacity for working is such a moral power; and since access to work, education, and healthcare are necessary for the development and exercise of the capacity for working; access to work, education, and healthcare are basic rights. (shrink)
Libertarians often rely on arguments that subordinate the principle of liberty to the value of its economic consequences. This invites the question of what a pure libertarian theory of justice—one that takes liberty as its overriding concern—would look like. Grotius's political theory provides a template for such a libertarianism, but it also entails uncomfortable commitments that can be avoided only by compromising the principle of liberty. According to Grotius, each person should be free to decide how to act as long (...) as her actions do not violate the equal liberty of others. According to this principle, however, people are free to enter any contract and alienate any rights, permitting even contracts of slavery or the alienation of rights of bodily integrity. Libertarians can escape this commitment to absolute freedom of contract only by adopting ad-hoc amendments to the principle of liberty. (shrink)
In line with the tradition running from Ancients through Christian thought, Kant affirms the idea of moral freedom: that true freedom consists in moral self-determination. The idea of moral freedom raises the problem of moral freedom: if freedom is moral self-determination, it seems that the wicked are not free and therefore not responsible for their wrongdoings. In this essay I discuss Kant's solution to this problem. I argue that Kant distinguishes between four modalities of freedom as moral self-determination and that (...) the problem of moral freedom disappears when these distinctions are brought to light. (shrink)
In this essay I defend a variety of political perfectionism that I call negative perfectionism. Negative perfectionism is the position that if some design of the basic structure of society promotes objectively bad human living, then this should count as a reason against it. To give this hypothetical some bite, I draw on Rousseau’s diagnosis of the maladies of his society to defend two further claims: first, that some human lives are objectively bad, and, second, that some designs of the (...) basic structure promote objectively bad human living. It follows that we have should avoid such designs of the basic structure, which means that negative political perfectionism presents true requirements of justice. (shrink)
According to both common wisdom and long-standing tradition, the ideal of peace is central to the morality of war. I argue that this notion is mistaken, not because peace is unachievable and utopian, though it might be for many of today’s asymmetrical conflicts; nor because the pursuit of peace is counterproductive, though, again, it might be for many of today’s conflicts; the problem, rather, is that the pursuit of peace is not a proper objective of war.
Justice as mutual advantage appears to show inadequate concern for those that are insufficiently useful to others, implying that those that are most in need of the protections of justice fall outside the scope of justice as mutual advantage. Vanderschraaf offers a novel reply to this objection. He presents a game–the Indefinitely Repeated Provider-Recipient Game–which establishes that in some situations justice as mutual advantage can show concern for the vulnerable. This finding, however, does not match the problem raised by the (...) vulnerability objection, for the objection says that in all relevant situations, justice requires equal basic concern for all–vulnerable and non-vulnerable alike. (shrink)
Principles of Distributive Justice.Jeppe von Platz - 2018 - In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Springer Verlag. pp. 397-408.details
What is a just distribution of economic benefits and burdens? Principles of distributive justice help us answer this and related questions about how we should design the economic system. Principles of distributive justice guide our perception and judgment by telling us what facts to care about and when and why these facts reveal justice or injustice in the distribution of some good or burden. Thus, these principles bridge the gap between basic normative categories of right and wrong and facts about (...) our social world, guiding our attempts to build more just societies. This chapter presents and discusses the main principles of distributive justice—the principles of equality, sufficiency, liberty, utility, priority, merit, and equality of opportunity. (shrink)
Talbott grounds human rights in a moral epistemology that supports metaphysical immodesty but requires epistemic modesty. Metaphysical immodesty provides prescriptive confidence, while epistemic modesty prevents moral imperialism. I offer some reasons for doubting that Talbott’s moral epistemology yields the desired result. Insofar as Talbott aims for a determinate conception of human rights that could serve as the backbone of a system of international law, Talbott must deal with issues of reasonable disagreement, and for these issues, epistemic modesty provides no guarantee (...) against moral imperialism. In particular, I outline two sources of reasonable disagreement, that no social world is without loss and the complexity of the concept of autonomy, which illustrate how Talbott’s prescriptive confidence borders on moral imperialism. (shrink)