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Jonathan Wolff
University College London
  1. Fairness, Respect, and the Egalitarian Ethos.Jonathan Wolff - 1998 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (2):97-122.
  2. Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry.Jonathan Wolff - 2011 - Routledge.
    Train crashes cause, on average, a handful of deaths each year in the UK. Technologies exist that would save the lives of some of those who die. Yet these technical innovations would cost hundreds of millions of pounds. Should we spend the money? How can we decide how to trade off life against financial cost? Such dilemmas make public policy is a battlefield of values, yet all too often we let technical experts decide the issues for us. Can philosophy help (...)
     
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  3. Fairness, Respect and the Egalitarian Ethos Revisited.Jonathan Wolff - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (3-4):335-350.
    This paper reconsiders some themes and arguments from my earlier paper “Fairness, Respect and the Egalitarian Ethos.” That work is often considered to be part of a cluster of papers attacking “luck egalitarianism” on the grounds that insisting on luck egalitarianism's standards of fairness undermines relations of mutual respect among citizens. While this is an accurate reading, the earlier paper did not make its motivations clear, and the current paper attempts to explain the reasons that led me to write the (...)
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  4. The Moral Problem of Risk Impositions: A Survey of the Literature.Madeleine Hayenhjelm & Jonathan Wolff - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (S1):E1-E142.
    This paper surveys the current philosophical discussion of the ethics of risk imposition, placing it in the context of relevant work in psychology, economics and social theory. The central philosophical problem starts from the observation that it is not practically possible to assign people individual rights not to be exposed to risk, as virtually all activity imposes some risk on others. This is the ‘problem of paralysis’. However, the obvious alternative theory that exposure to risk is justified when its total (...)
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  5. Equality: The Recent History of an Idea.Jonathan Wolff - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):125-136.
  6.  55
    Disadvantage, Risk and the Social Determinants of Health.Jonathan Wolff - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (3):214-223.
    The paper describes a project in which the thesis of the social determinants of health is used in order to help identify groups that will be among the least advantaged members of society, when disadvantage is understood in terms of lack of genuine opportunity for secure functioning. The analysis is derived from the author's work with Avner de-Shalit in Disadvantage (Oxford University Press, 2007).
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  7. Disability Among Equals.Jonathan Wolff - 2009 - In Kimberley Brownlee & Adam Cureton (eds.), Disability and Disadvantage. Oxford University Press.
     
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  8. How Propaganda Works By Jason Stanley.Jonathan Wolff - forthcoming - Analysis:anw046.
     
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  9. An Introduction to Political Philosophy.Jonathan Wolff - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    The revised edition of this highly successful text provides a clear and accessible introduction to some of the most important questions of political philosophy. Organized around major issues, Wolff provides the structure that beginners need, while also introducing some distinctive ideas of his own.
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  10. Scanlon on Social and Material Inequality.Jonathan Wolff - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (4):406-425.
  11.  38
    Evaluating Interventions in Health: A Reconciliatory Approach.Jonathan Wolff, Sarah Edwards, Sarah Richmond, O. R. R. Shepley & Geraint Rees - 2012 - Bioethics 26 (9):455-463.
    Health-related Quality of Life measures have recently been attacked from two directions, both of which criticize the preference-based method of evaluating health states they typically incorporate. One attack, based on work by Daniel Kahneman and others, argues that ‘experience’ is a better basis for evaluation. The other, inspired by Amartya Sen, argues that ‘capability’ should be the guiding concept. In addition, opinion differs as to whether health evaluation measures are best derived from consultations with the general public, with patients, or (...)
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  12.  63
    Risk, Fear, Blame, Shame and the Regulation of Public Safety.Jonathan Wolff - 2006 - Economics and Philosophy 22 (3):409-427.
    The question of when people may impose risks on each other is of fundamental moral importance. Forms of “quantified risk assessment,” especially risk cost-benefit analysis, provide one powerful approach to providing a systematic answer. It is also well known that such techniques can show that existing resources could be used more effectively to reduce risk overall. Thus it is often argued that some current practices are irrational. On the other hand critics of quantified risk assessment argue that it cannot adequately (...)
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  13.  8
    Evaluating Interventions in Health: A Reconciliatory Approach.Jonathan Wolff, Sarah Edwards, Sarah Richmond, Shepley Orr & Geraint Rees - 2012 - Bioethics 26 (9):455-463.
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  14.  90
    Disability, Status Enhancement, Personal Enhancement and Resource Allocation.Jonathan Wolff - 2009 - Economics and Philosophy 25 (1):49-68.
    It often appears that the most appropriate form of addressing disadvantage related to disability is through policies that can be called “status enhancements”: changes to the social, cultural and material environment so that the difficulties experienced by those with impairments are reduced, even eradicated. However, status enhancements can also have their limitations. This paper compares the relative merits of policies of status enhancement and “personal enhancement”: changes to the disabled person. It then takes up the question of how to assess (...)
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  15.  4
    I—The Demands of the Human Right to Health.Jonathan Wolff - 2012 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):217-237.
    The human right to health has been established in international law since 1976. However, philosophers have often regarded human rights doctrine as a marginal contribution to political philosophy, or have attempted to distinguish ‘human rights proper’ from ‘aspirations’, with the human right to health often considered as falling into the latter category. Here the human right to health is defended as an attractive approach to global health, and responses are offered to a series of criticisms concerning its demandingness.
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  16. The Apparent Asymmetry of Responsibility.Avner de-Shalit & Jonathan Wolff - 2011 - In Carl Knight & Zofia Stemplowska (eds.), Responsibility and Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press.
     
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  17.  42
    Addressing Disadvantage and the Human Good.Jonathan Wolff - 2002 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (3):207–218.
    This paper sets out a framework in which we can distinguish between four types of redistributive attention to the disadvantaged: compensation; personal enhancement; targeted resource enhancement; and status enhancement. It is argued that in certain cases many of us will have strong intuitions in favour or against one or more strategies for addressing disadvantage, and it is further argued that in such cases it is likely that our reactions are based on assumptions about the human good. Hence the two issues (...)
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  18. Marx and Exploitation.Jonathan Wolff - 1999 - The Journal of Ethics 3 (2):105--120.
    The discussion of the adequacy of Karl Marx''s definition of exploitation has paid insufficient attention to a prior question: what is a definition? Once we understand Marx as offering a reference-fixing definition in a model we will realise that it is resistant to certain objections. A more general analysis of exploitation is offered here and it is suggested that Marx''s own definition is a particular instance of the general analysis which makes a number of controversial moral assumptions.
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  19. A General Framework for Resolving Disputed Land Claims.Hillel Steiner & Jonathan Wolff - 2003 - Analysis 63 (3):188–189.
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  20.  37
    What is the Value of Preventing a Fatality?Jonathan Wolff - 2007 - In Tim Lewens (ed.), Risk: Philosophical Perspectives. Routledge.
    in Risk: Philosophical Perspectives ed Tim Lewens, Routledge.
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  21.  62
    The Demands of the Human Right to Health.Jonathan Wolff - 2012 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):217-237.
    The human right to health has been established in international law since 1976. However, philosophers have often regarded human rights doctrine as a marginal contribution to political philosophy, or have attempted to distinguish ‘human rights proper’ from ‘aspirations’, with the human right to health often considered as falling into the latter category. Here the human right to health is defended as an attractive approach to global health, and responses are offered to a series of criticisms concerning its demandingness.
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  22. Erratum: Barnett, Bargaining and the Nash Solution.Jonathan Wolff - 1987 - Noûs 21 (1):111.
  23. Political Obligation, Fairness, and Independence.Jonathan Wolff - 1995 - Ratio 8 (1):87-99.
    In the first section the problem of political obligation is motivated, and in Section 2 the core structure of the problem is laid bare. A recognition ofthis structure prompts reflection that the problem will appear very different to different thinkers, depending on their moral theories. It also invites the speculation that the problem will be incapable of solution on some moral theories while trivial on others. This polarity does reflect the state of much of the literature until fairly recently. However (...)
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  24.  32
    Political Obligation: A Pluralistic Approach.Jonathan Wolff - 2000 - In Maria Baghramian & Attracta Ingram (eds.), Pluralism: The Philosophy and Politics of Diversity. Routledge. pp. 179--96.
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  25.  36
    Political Philosophy and the Real World of the Welfare State.Jonathan Wolff - 2015 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (4):360-372.
    What contribution can political philosophers make to policy questions, such as the best configuration of the welfare state? On one view, political philosophers set out abstract theories of justice that can guide policy makers in their attempt to transform existing institutions. Yet it rarely seems the case that such a model is used in practice, and it therefore becomes unclear how political philosophy can contribute to policy debates. Following a suggestion from Margaret MacDonald, I consider the view that political philosophers (...)
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  26.  27
    Robert Nozick: Property, Justice and the Minimal State.Dudley Knowles & Jonathan Wolff - 1993 - Philosophical Quarterly 43 (173):566.
  27.  24
    Paying People to Act in Their Own Interests: Incentives Versus Rationalization in Public Health.Jonathan Wolff - 2015 - Public Health Ethics 8 (1):27-30.
    A number of schemes have been attempted, both in public health and more generally within social programmes, to pay individuals to behave in ways that are presumed to be good for them or to have other beneficial effects. Such schemes are normally regarded as providing a financial incentive for individuals in order to outweigh contrary motivation. Such schemes have been attacked on the basis that they can ‘crowd out’ intrinsic motivation, as well as on the grounds that they are in (...)
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  28.  60
    Cognitive Disability in a Society of Equals.Jonathan Wolff - 2009 - Metaphilosophy 40 (3-4):402-415.
    This paper considers the range of possible policy options that are available if we wish to attempt to treat people with cognitive disabilities as equal members of society. It is suggested that the goal of policy should be allow each disabled person to establish a worthwhile place in the world and sets out four policy options: cash compensation, personal enhancement, status enhancement and targeted resource enhancement. The paper argues for the social policy of targeted resource enhancement for individuals with cognitive (...)
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  29. Mill, Indecency and the Liberty Principle.Jonathan Wolff - 1998 - Utilitas 10 (1):1-16.
    In this paper I want to do two things. One concerns Mill’s attitude to public indecency. In On Liberty Mill expresses the conventional view that certain actions, if conducted in public, are an affront to good manners, and can properly be prohibited. I want to come to an understanding of Mill’s position so that it allows him to defend this part of conventional morality, but does not disrupt certain of his liberal convictions: principally the conviction that what consenting adults do (...)
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  30.  92
    Making the World Safe for Utilitarianism.Jonathan Wolff - 2006 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 58:1-.
    Utilitarianism has a curious history. Its most celebrated founders – Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill – were radical progressives, straddling the worlds of academic philosophy, political science, economic theory and practical affairs. They made innumerable recommendations for legal, social, political and economic reform, often (especially in Bentham’s case) described in fine detail. Some of these recommendations were followed, sooner or later, and many of their radical ideas have become close to articles of faith of western liberalism. Furthermore many of (...)
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  31.  73
    Freedom, Liberty, and Property.Jonathan Wolff - 1997 - Critical Review 11 (3):345-357.
    If one values freedom, what sort of regime of property should one favor: libertarianism, socialism, or something else again? Debate on this topic has been hampered by a failure to distinguish freedom and liberty, which are both of great value, but can come into conflict. Furthermore there are many similar concepts?distinct from both liberty and freedom, yet each representing something we rightly value?which may also come into conflict with each other and with freedom and liberty. Consequently the question posed above (...)
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  32. The Dilemma of Desert.Jonathan Wolff - 2003 - In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), Desert and Justice. Clarendon Press.
  33.  2
    The Precautionary Attitude:Asking Preliminary Questions.Jonathan Wolff - 2014 - Hastings Center Report 44 (S5):S27-S28.
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  34.  46
    Why Read Marx Today?Jonathan Wolff - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
    The fall of the Berlin Wall had enormous symbolic resonance, marking the collapse of Marxist politics and economics. Indeed, Marxist regimes have failed miserably, and with them, it seems, all reason to take the writings of Karl Marx seriously. Jonathan Wolff argues that if we detach Marx the critic of current society from Marx the prophet of some never-to-be-realized worker's paradise, he remains the most impressive critic we have of liberal, capitalist, bourgeois society. The author shows how Marx's main ideas (...)
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  35. Hume, Bentham, and the Social Contract.Jonathan Wolff - 1993 - Utilitas 5 (1):87-.
    Hume famously argues that Social Contract theory collapses into a form of utilitarianism. Bentham endorses Hume's argument. I show that, if Hume's argument refutes Social Contract theory, it equally undermines Bentham's own utilitarian account of political obligation. This discussion is used to illustrate a more general thesis that there is no single problem of political obligation, but different problems for different theorists.
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  36.  77
    Success and Stupor.Jonathan Wolff - 2007 - The Philosophers' Magazine 39 (39):35-39.
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  37.  45
    How Propaganda Works.Jonathan Wolff - 2016 - Analysis 76 (4):558-560.
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  38.  33
    Democratic Voting and the Mixed-Motivation Problem.Jonathan Wolff - 1994 - Analysis 54 (4):193 - 196.
  39. The Ethics of Competition.Jonathan Wolff - manuscript
    Exchange is one thing, economic competition another. Exchange is possible without competition; and economic competition (of sorts) is possible without exchange. Put exchange and competition together and, roughly, you get the free market. There are many philosophical discussions of the free market; a sizeable number about free exchange; but - - aside from in the context of consequentialist defences of the market - - who this century has had much to say about economic competition?
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  40. Disputed Land Claims: A Response to Weatherson and to Bou-Habib and Olsaretti.Hillel Steiner & Jonathan Wolff - 2006 - Analysis 66 (3):248–255.
    In a paper published in this journal we proposed a method for resolving disputed land claims between two parties (Steiner and Wolff: 2003). In essence the proposal is to hold an auction between the disputants in which the land is given to the higher bidder, but the receipts of the auction to the under-bidder. We claimed that under such circumstances both parties can walk away happy: the higher bidder happy to pay the price bid for the land; the under-bidder happier (...)
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  41.  57
    Are We Good Enough for Democracy?Jonathan Wolff - 2002 - Think 1 (2):29.
    Is democracy a good thing? Most of us think so. And yet, as Jonathan Wolff here explains, Plato thought democracy was a very bad idea. If you favour democracy , then your challenge is to explain what, if anything, is wrong with Plato's argument. So can you?
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  42.  36
    Pluralistic Models of Political Obligation.Jonathan Wolff - 1995 - Philosophica 56 (2):7-27.
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  43.  15
    Agonism, Pluralism, and Contemporary Capitalism: An Interview with William E. Connolly.Jonathan Wolff - 2008 - Contemporary Political Theory 7 (2):200-219.
  44.  72
    What Is the Problem of Political Obligation?Jonathan Wolff - 1990 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 91:153 - 169.
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  45. Rational, Fair, and Reasonable.Jonathan Wolff - 1996 - Utilitas 8 (3):263.
    There can be no doubt that Brian Barry has made an enormous contribution to the clarification of the ideas of justice current in contemporary political thought. In Barry’s Justice as Impartiality he explicitly distinguishes and sets in competition three models of justice: justice as mutual advantage; justice as reciprocity; and justice as impartiality, and he argues that we should prefer the last of these. What I want to do here is to consider four questions. First, what is this competition a (...)
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  46.  12
    Tommie Shelby, Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform.Jonathan Wolff - 2018 - Ethics 128 (2):510-515.
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  47. Libertarianism, Utility and Economic Competition.Jonathan Wolff - unknown
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  48.  27
    Poverty and Social Exclusion.Jonathan Wolff - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 72:115-116.
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  49.  9
    Forms of Differential Social Inclusion.Jonathan Wolff - 2017 - Social Philosophy and Policy 34 (1):164-185.
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  50.  34
    John Rawls: Liberal Democracy Restated.Jonathan Wolff - 2001 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):347-361.
    The paper starts with brief biographical details of John Rawls’s life, and indications regarding the significance of his proposal. The most relevant part of the article is dedicated to the discussion of the concept of democracy as it is included in Rawls’s theory of Justice. Rawls tries to find a solution to the incompatibility of two different motivations for democracy: the instrumental and the intrinsic defence. It followsfrom Rawls’s proposal that the two defences need not necessarily to be incompatible. Participation (...)
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