This paper draws attention to an overlooked objection to what Rawls says about the original position. The objection comes from Joseph Raz. I reformulate it as a dilemma: either there is a better option for individuals in the original position than Rawls’s recommended option, or else the original position is not a suitable method for ranking options regarding principles of justice. I also identify a consequence of the dilemma, for the maximin argument.
I here defend historical entitlement theories of property rights against a popular charge. This is the objection that such theories fail because no convincing account of original appropriation exists. I argue that this argument assumes a certain reading of historical entitlement theory and I spell out an alternative reading against which it misfires. On this reading, the role of acts of original appropriation is not to justify but to individuate people’s holdings. I argue that we can identify which (...) acts count as original appropriation against the background of a general justification for a practice of property rights. On this view, what I will call ‘natural’ acts of original appropriation are acts by which a person begins to satisfy the general conditions for justified ownership. Finally, I offer an interpretation of John Locke's theory of appropriation along these lines and argue that it provides an attractive reading of his view. (shrink)
The justice of racial profiling is addressed in the original position first for a society without racism, then for a society marked by racism. In the first case, the practice is argued to be just if carried out respectfully and expeditiously and likely to contribute to effective crime control. Thus it is not intrinsically racist. Addressing the second case, the idea that the harms of racial profiling are modest because expressive is critiqued. The practice is shown to carry the (...) danger of producing rights-violations by increasing the incidence of racist attitudes and practices. It is argued to be just in a society marked by racism if done under special supervision, and only to aid in apprehending dangerous criminals. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is no straightforward conflict between the traditional Christian doctrine of original sin and the thesis that a person P is morally responsible for the obtaining of a state of affairs S only if S obtains (or obtained) and P could have prevented S from obtaining.
Widely regarded as the most influential proponent of the truth of original sin in the twentieth century, Reinhold Niebuhr worked hard to excise any "literalistic" element from his interpretation of the doctrine. In his attempt to "correct" the Augustinian tradition on original sin by purging it of all "literalistic errors," however, Niebuhr assumed as his starting point the most characteristically modern objection to the doctrine: that birth is a thoroughly natural, animal, and morally meaningless event. As a result, (...) Niebuhr unnecessarily constrained his vision of the dimensions of human freedom, and hence his description of the dynamic of anxiety and freedom that energizes sin. Through a careful reading of Reinhold Niebuhr's writings on original sin, in light of the truth that the end of human life is inseparable from its origins, a reappraisal and recovery of the meaningfulness of the assertion of original sin as a literal inheritance is possible. The result of such a reappraisal and recovery is an amplified insight into the existential anxiety that Niebuhr otherwise described so convincingly. (shrink)
This article identifies and assesses a way of thinking that might help to explain why some compatibilists are attracted to what is variously called an internalist, structuralist, or anti-historicist view of moral responsibility—a view about the bearing of agents’ histories on their moral responsibility. Scenarios of two different kinds are considered. Several scenarios feature heavy-duty manipulation that radically changes an agent’s mature moral personality from admirable to despicable or vice versa. These “radical reversal” scenarios are contrasted with a scenario featuring (...) “original design”: a supernatural designer determines exactly how an agent’s life will go before the agent comes into existence. It is explained why scenarios of these two different kinds generate very different challenges to compatibilism. Partly in light of that explanation, it is argued that the way of thinking at issue is misguided. (shrink)
The common conception of justice as reciprocity seemingly is inapplicable to relations between non-overlapping generations. This is a challenge also to John Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness. This text responds to this by way of reinterpreting and developing Rawls’s theory. First, by examining the original position as a model, some revisions of it are shown to be wanting. Second, by drawing on the methodology of constructivism, an alternative solution is proposed: an amendment to the primary goods named ‘sustainability (...) of values’. This revised original position lends support to intergenerational justice as fairness. (shrink)
I argue that Hume’s characterization of the passions as “original existences” is shaped by his preoccupation with Stoicism, and is not (as most commentators suppose) a ridiculous or trifling remark. My argument has three parts. First, I show that Hume’s description of the passions as “original existences” is properly understood as part of his argument against the possibility of passions caused by reason alone (rational passions). Second, I establish that Hume was responding to the Stoics, who claimed that (...) a rational passion is caused by a special type of impression that accurately represents its cause—the divine reason administrating the cosmos—in virtue of resembling it. Third, I argue that Hume rejects the Stoics’ claim by appeal to the following feature of his general account of impressions and ideas: For Hume, ideas are exact “copies” or representations of the impressions that caused them, but simple impressions are “originals” that do not represent in virtue of resembling their external or physiological causes. On my reading of Hume, the “original existence” passage therefore signals his rebuke of a key claim in the Stoics’ theory of rational passions. (shrink)
Stephen Mulhall has distinguished himself as one of the most rigorous and constructive contemporary thinkers on European philosophy and its complicated relationship to Christian theology. A prominent locus of that relationship in his work is the Christian doctrine of original sin, and its criticism but also structural recapitulation in the work of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and others. This article begins with an overview of relevant themes and their development in Mulhall's writings. I then offer an account of the internal (...) tensions Mulhall identifies in Heidegger et al's ambivalent contestation of original sin, and of his own response. The centre of this response is a reconfiguration of the character of the divine, and of human participation in that divine, as radical self-abnegation. I conclude with an appreciative critique of Mulhall's proposal as insufficiently responsive to the eschatological framework within which original sin has its doctrinal and ontological place in Thomist thought. (shrink)
As Modernist doctrines emphasizing the unity and agency of the educated self are increasingly set up as the straw men of contemporary educational discourses, premodern and Medieval theories of selfhood tend to disappear from the horizon of educational thought altogether. In this essay, in order to subvert this overcoming of our intellectual past, I examine Thomas Aquinas’ reading of the doctrine of original sin. Relying on Graham McAleer’s claim that Aquinas’ metaphysical theory sanctifies the body, I argue that Aquinas’ (...) understanding of original sin relies on a discursive, pedagogical model to account for human finitude. (shrink)
The comparison between the concept state of nature, as it appears in the contractualist theories of XVII and XVIII centuries, and the original position of the the- ory of justice by John Rawls, reveals the assumptions, difficulties and limitations of the latter. In spite of its claims, the original position does not justify the search and existence of a well ordered society, and it is far away from reach the brightness and coherence with which their predecessors argued on (...) behalf of societies where safety, freedom or equality ruled. Besides, Rawls, on amounting justice to a material welfare which must arrive, does not know the important role that the historical memory plays when claiming the resolution of the injustices from the pastLa comparación entre el concepto de estado de naturaleza, tal y como aparece en las teorías contractualistas de los siglos XVII y XVIII, y la posición original de la teoría de la justicia de John Rawls, sirve para poner de manifiesto los supuestos, dificultades y limitaciones de esta última. A pesar de sus pretensiones, la posición original no justifica la búsqueda y existencia de una sociedad bien ordenada, y está lejos de alcanzar la brillantez y coherencia con la que sus antecesores argumentaron a favor de sociedades donde reinara la seguridad, la libertad o la igualdad. Además, Rawls, al reducir la justicia a un bienestar material que ha de llegar, desconoce el importante papel que la memoria histórica desempeña a la hora de reclamar la resolución de las injusticias del pasado. (shrink)
O objetivo deste artigo é estabelecer algumas considerações sobre o papel dos procedimentos de posição original e equilíbrio reflexivo na teoria da justiça como equidade de John Rawls, nas obras A Theory of Justice, Political Liberalism e Justice as Fairness: A Restatement. Eu pretendo mostrar que Rawls faz uso de um modelo coerentista-pragmático de justificação dos princípios de justiça em um âmbito público, que é não-fundacionalista em razão da interconexão entre estes procedimentos.
This article will investigate the issue of accessing benxin 本心 (original mind), subsequent operation from Self and, in that process, union with the greater universe or benti 本体 (original substance)—a state expressed in the West as cosmic consciousness. It is proposed that this allows one to participate as a partner in the creative process of one’s own life and the surrounding world. The equally important question of how to gain contact with original mind will also be addressed, (...) as well as the consequences of doing so with regard to the human condition. The concept of original thought is introduced, being important here as it is held to be that thought which is generated in the pure condition of original mind, devoid of influence from finite physical existence. (shrink)
By analyzing the author of Ziyi ç¼è¡£ (Black Costumes) as well as Ziyiâs transmission and evolution by studying and analyzing the ancient text, one can see that Ziyi was a work of Zisi or the Zisi and Mencius School. Comparing the similarities and differences between the transmitted version of Ziyi and its Guodian éåº and Shangbo ä¸å versions, one finds that the original version of Ziyi had been significantly revised by Confucian classics teachers in the unstable political and social (...) climate during the Western Han Dynasty, specifically, the thought of moral politics of the original Confucians contained in the work was garbled and concealed, and the idea of law and the legal system was highlighted accordingly. The uncovered Guodian and Shangbo versions of Ziyi have removed the shroud that Confucians in the Han Dynasty had spread over it for 2, 000 years, revealing the thought of moral politics of the original Confucians. (shrink)
The approach of returning to the original and recovering nature is a typical characteristic of Chinese philosophy. It was founded by the Daoist School and followed by both Daoist and Confucian schools. The precondition of returning to the original and recovering nature is the stillness and goodness within nature integrated into a whole afterwards. Its implementation includes not only returning to the original root so as to achieve the philosophical aim but also restoration to the original (...) nature after it is injured by man’s physical nature and desire. The realization of human nature depends on the work making up for the loss of the original nature. Although there are different methods of realization concerning the return to the original nature, such as returning to the root, seeking the lost mind, extinguishing desire, being good at return, and the self-consciousness of intuitive knowledge, all of these aim at returning to the original nature of stillness and purity. The philosophical value consists in the unceasing pursuit of returning to the original nature. (shrink)
O impacto e a relevância da teoria econômica para o desenvolvimento de A Theory of Justice são, frequentemente, deixados de lado na imensa literatura a respeito das obras de John Rawls. Ainda assim, entender os elementos de economia política na obra de Rawls é fundamental para a compreensão dos motivos pelos quais ele abandonará uma abordagem utilitarista para a filosofia política e, consequentemente , par a noss o entendimento das principais questões que dão origem à noção de justiça como equidade. (...) Este artigo tem dois objetivos principais: primeiramente, descrever a influência de John Stuart Mill, Kenneth Arrow e Vilfredo Pareto na virada metodológica encontrada na ideia de posição original; segundo, descrever os elementos históricos pressupostos para a compreensibilidade dos ideais rawlsianos. Concluirei com algumas observações que sugerem um complemento historicista e fenomenológico para as descrições ideais encontradas no liberalismo político tal como é entendido por Rawls. (shrink)
In this article, I advance what I think is a more theologically robust and informed free-will defense, which allows me to address the problem of evil in a more theologically robust and informed way. In doing so, however, I do not claim to offer a comprehensive response to the problem of evil, or full-blown "theodicy"; instead, I offer a partial response, which I place in the service of a full-blown theodicy. Moreover, my own approach is explicitly Thomistic, insofar as I (...) formulate much of it drawing on Thomas Aquinas's own formulations of the doctrines of original justice and original sin, or the human being as created and fallen. Structurally, the article consists of three main sections. In first section, I consider and critique a recent, expanded free-will defense offered by Peter van Inwagen, which also incorporates the doctrines of creation and the Fall. I then introduce key aspects of Aquinas's own thought in order to make the requisite improvements to this approach. In the second section of the article, I consider some main objections to my own Thomistic approach, as I will have formulated it so far: in particular, that the doctrines of original justice and original sin are unintelligible from the standpoints of moral psychology and evolutionary biology. I also begin to consider the objection that there is no intelligible way of explaining the transmission of original sin. In the third and final section of the article, I respond to these objections, offering a final defense of my central claim that the free-will defense is best served when it is wedded with a specifically Thomistic construal of the human being as originally created in a state of original justice, but now subject to defects (both bodily and spiritual) that are the inherited consequences of original sin. (shrink)
John Harsanyi has offered an argument grounded in Bayesian decision theory that purports to show that John Rawls's original position analysis leads directly to utilitarian conclusions. After explaining why a prominent Rawlsian line of response to Harsanyi's argument fails, I argue that a seemingly innocuous Bayesian rationality assumption, the continuity axiom, is at the heart of a fundamental disagreement between Harsanyi and Rawls. The most natural way for a Rawlsian to respond to Harsanyi's line of analysis, I argue, is (...) to reject continuity. I then argue that this Rawlsian response fails as a defence of the difference principle, and I raise some concerns about whether it makes sense to posit the discontinuities needed to support the other elements of Rawls's view, although I suggest that Rawls may be able to invoke discontinuity to vindicate part of his first principle of justice. (shrink)
John Rawls’ main purpose in The Law of Peoples is to extend his social contract theory to the peoples’ society, establishing the general principles that should be accepted by liberal and non-liberal societies, regulating the relationships between peoples. This paper pretends to analyze and demonstrate that Rawls’ law of peoples is considered to be an ethnocentrically theory, and therefore, difficult as a regular proposal for today’s world.
Introduction -- Note on the texts -- An inquiry into the original of our ideas of beauty and virtue -- Treatise I -- An inquiry concerning beauty, order, & c. -- Treatise II -- An inquiry concerning the original of our ideas of virtue or moral good.
It is surprisingly hard to define presentism. Traditional definitions of the view, in terms of tensed existence statements, have turned out not to to be capable of convincingly distinguishing presentism from eternalism. Picking up on a recent proposal by Tallant, I suggest that we need to locate the break between eternalism and presentism on a much more fundamental level. The problem is that presentists have tried to express their view within a framework that is inherently eternalist. I call that framework (...) the Fregean nexus, as it is defined by Frege’s atemporal understanding of predication. In particular, I show that the tense-logical understanding of tense which is treated as common ground in the debate rests on this very same Fregean nexus, and is thus inadequate for a proper definition of presentism. I contrast the Fregean nexus with what I call the original temporal nexus, which is based on an alternative, inherently temporal form of predication. Finally, I propose to define presentism in terms of the original temporal nexus, yielding original presentism. According to original presentism, temporal propositions are distinguished from atemporal ones not by aspects of their content, as they are on views based on the Fregean nexus, but by their form—in particular, by their form of predication. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose a novel interpretation of the role of the understanding in generating the unity of space and time. On the account I propose, we must distinguish between the unity that belongs to determinate spaces and times – which is a result of category-guided synthesis and which is Kant’s primary focus in §26 of the B-Deduction, including the famous B160–1n – and the unity that belongs to space and time themselves as all-encompassing structures. Non-conceptualist readers of Kant (...) have argued that this latter unity cannot be the product of categorial synthesis. While they are correct that this unity is not the product of any particular act of category-guided synthesis, I argue that conceptualists are right to nevertheless attribute this unity to the understanding. I argue that it is a result of what we can think of as the ‘original’ synthesis of understanding and sensibility themselves – it is a synthesis, moreover, in which the whole is logically prior to the parts. (shrink)
This new translation presents the _Analects_ in a revolutionary new format that, for the first time in any language, distinguishes the original words of the Master from the later sayings of his disciples and their followers, enabling readers to experience China's most influential philosophical work in its true historical, social, and political context.
These five essays began a debate about the nature and scope of ancient scepticism which has transformed our understanding of what scepticism originally was. Together they provide a vigorous and highly stimulating introduction to the thought of the original sceptics, and shed new light on its relation to sceptical arguments in modern philosophy.
As capitalist economies have shifted their primary focus from providing goods and services for all, to concentrating wealth at the top echelons of societies, social entrepreneurs have been one source of re-capturing the original intent of capitalism. Social entrepreneurs have combined the efficiency and effectiveness of business organizations with the social concerns of many non-profit and governmental agencies. As a result, social entrepreneurship is viewed as having significant potential for alleviating many of the social ills we now face. To (...) accomplish this mission, however, will require expansion of social enterprises beyond their current footprints. We explore alternate methods of expansion, scaling and replication, and then examine potential catalysts, which can enable social entrepreneurs to attain their goals of social improvement. The catalysts we identify are effectual logic, enhanced legitimacy through appropriate reporting metrics, and information technology. We conclude with two brief case studies that exemplify how these catalysts are currently working to enhance the effectiveness of social start-ups. (shrink)
Suppose libertarians could prove that durable, unqualified private property rights could be created through 'original acquisition' of unowned resources in a state of nature. Such a proof would cast serious doubt on the legitimacy of the modern state. It could also render the approach to property rights that I favour irrelevant. I argue here that none of the familiar Lockean-libertarian arguments for a strong natural right to acquisition succeed, and that any successful argument for grounding a right to acquire (...) would have to use my favoured approach to property rights - the 'vector-sum' approach. I conclude with some doubts about original acquisition theory and natural property rights. (shrink)
Revolutionizing received opinion of Taoism's origins in light of historic new discoveries, Harold D. Roth has uncovered China's oldest mystical text--the original expression of Taoist philosophy--and presents it here with a complete translation and commentary. Over the past twenty-five years, documents recovered from the tombs of China's ancient elite have sparked a revolution in scholarship about early Chinese thought, in particular the origins of Taoist philosophy and religion. In _Original Tao,_ Harold D. Roth exhumes the seminal text of Taoism--_Inward (...) Training _--not from a tomb but from the pages of the _Kuan Tzu,_ a voluminous text on politics and economics in which this mystical tract had been "buried" for centuries. _Inward Training_ is composed of short poetic verses devoted to the practice of breath meditation, and to the insights about the nature of human beings and the form of the cosmos derived from this practice. In its poetic form and tone, the work closely resembles the _Tao-te Ching_; moreover, it clearly evokes Taoism's affinities to other mystical traditions, notably aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism. Roth argues that _Inward Training_ is the foundational text of early Taoism and traces the book to the mid-fourth century B.C.. These verses contain the oldest surviving expressions of a method for mystical "inner cultivation," which Roth identifies as the basis for all early Taoist texts, including the _Chuang Tzu_ and the world-renowned _Tao-te Ching._ With these historic discoveries, he reveals the possibility of a much deeper continuity between early "philosophical" Taoism and the later Taoist religion than scholars had previously suspected. _Original Tao_ contains an elegant and luminous complete translation of the original text. Roth's comprehensive analysis explains what _Inward Training_ meant to the people who wrote it, how this work came to be "entombed" within the _Kuan Tzu,_ and why the text was largely overlooked after the early Han period. (shrink)
This essay is framed by conflict between Christianity and Darwinian science over the history of the world and the nature of original human personhood. Evolutionary science narrates a long prehuman geological and biological history filled with vast amounts, kinds, and distributions of apparently random brutal and pointless suffering. It has also unveiled an original human person with animal psychosomatic heredity. This narrative seems to discredit Christianity's metanarrative of the Fall—Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. The author contends that the (...) Augustinian story and its character of Adam are implausible, anyway, for reasons of theology and apologetics. He proposes that Christians adopt instead a Supralapsarian metaphysics of original human personhood and existence that grows from the intuitions of Irenaeus. The outcome will be improved Christian theology, more persuasive theodicy, and, above all, peace with Darwinian science. (shrink)
Recent proponents of the ‘theory theory’ of mind often trace its roots back to Wilfrid Sellars’ famous ‘myth of Jones’ in his 1956 article, ‘Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind’. Sellars developed an account of the intersubjective basis of our knowledge of the inner mental states of both self and others, an account which included the claim that such knowledge is in some sense theoretical knowledge. This paper examines the nature of this claim in Sellars’ original account and its (...) relationship to more recent debates concerning ‘theory of mind’, in particular the theory theory. A close look reveals that Sellars’ original view embodied several distinctions that would enable more recent theory theorists to accommodate certain phenomenological objections that have been raised against that outlook. At the heart of the philosophical issue is an overlooked complexity involved in Sellars’ account of the ‘theory/observation’ distinction, involving a conception of the distinction that is both independently plausible and a key to the issue in dispute. (shrink)
Libertarians concede that non-autonomous sentient beings pose a problem for their theory. But, while they acknowledge that libertarianism denies non-autonomous sentient beings basic moral rights, libertarians have overlooked how their theory also denies non-autonomous sentient beings basic moral powers. In this article, I show how the libertarian entitlement theory of justice, specifically, the theory for the original acquisition of holdings, denies non-autonomous sentient beings the moral power to originally acquire or make property. Attempts to avoid this problem by appealing (...) to interests or preference autonomy are likely to be unsuccessful. (shrink)
This paper highlights the fundamental difference in the criteria adopted to explain original intentionality, which is the basic stratum of intentional phenomena, between the mentalist mainstream and the minority inspired by the rejection of the Myth of the Given. Among the attempts on the latter, inferentialism has become a view of particular interest. According to inferentialism, full intentionality is a feature of cognitive subjects who participate in normative discursive practice. Therefore, the criteria to which the basic intentionality of the (...) mind can be attributed are fundamentally linguistic and not mentalist; for example, perception alone is not sufficient to ground full intentional states. This situation is an interesting challenge to mainstream intentionalism. Furthermore, it can be argued that this view can be a good basis to develop a different conception of collective intentionality in social ontology. In fact, inferentialism makes use of the basic normative notion of discursive commitment to track and evaluate the inferential moves of speakers. This notion can be easily extended hypothetically in the direction of the idea of a ‘joint commitment’ developed by Margaret Gilbert. In what follows, a number of questions and remarks are raised as a first explorative attempt. The role that language plays in social ontology through this approach is of particular interest because of its strict connection with collective intentionality: it is an ‘active’ institution (maybe a meta-institution), the medium and the practice to create and establish other institutions. (shrink)
All separable states satisfy all Bell-type inequalities, which involve as their assumption only existence of local realistic (local hidden variable) models of the correlations of spatially separated systems, observed by two or more observers making independent decisions on what to measure (free will). The recent observation by Loubenets, that some separable states do not satisfy the original Bell inequality (1964) has no consequences whatsoever for the studies of the relation of separability with local realism. The original Bell inequality (...) was derived using an additional assumption that the local results for a certain pair of local settings reveal perfect Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen (EPR) correlations. Therefore violation of this inequality by some quantum predictions implies that either (i) the predictions do not allow a local realistic model, or (ii) the predictions do not have the required EPR correlations, or finally both (i) and (ii). (shrink)
Anderson's theory is plausible and largely consistent with the data. However, it remains underspecified on several fronts, and we highlight areas for potential improvement. Reuse is described as duplicating a functional component, preserving one function and tinkering to add another function. This is a promising model, but Anderson neglects other reasonable alternatives and we highlight several. Evidence cited in support of reuse fails to uniquely support it among a broader set of multi-use theories. We suggest that a more stringent criterion (...) for direct support of reuse may be satisfied by focusing on previous adaptive functions (original use). (shrink)
The view (most prominently advocated by Justice Scalia) that original meaning entails the constitutionality of original practices has strong intuitive appeal and has been broadly assumed by originalists and nonoriginalists alike. But the position is mistaken. We suggest that a failure to distinguish between two different notions of meaning accounts for the position's wide currency. According to the first notion, the meaning of a term is roughly what a dictionary definition attempts to convey--the semantic or linguistic understanding necessary (...) to use the term, as opposed to nonlinguistic facts about the objects or activities to which the term applies. In contrast, according to the second, looser notion, the meaning of a term incorporates the objects or activities to which the term is applied. The first notion lies behind originalism's theoretical force; it is untenable that the meaning of the Constitution in the first sense could evolve. In sharp contrast, it is not only tenable but inevitable that changes occur over time in the class of things to which a constitutional provision is applied. Once recognized, the distinction undermines the seemingly natural move from the necessity of interpreting the Constitution in accordance with how it was originally understood to the necessity of upholding practices originally understood to be constitutional. By taking the distinction on board and rejecting the assumption, originalism can readily deflect the challenges based on unacceptable original practices; as a consequence, however, it will not be tenable for originalism, in any case challenging an original practice, simply to rule out the possibility of the practice's invalidity. (shrink)
The objective of this article is to contribute to an understanding of Hannah Arendt’s special place in present-day political theory by means of a contrast between her Origins of Totalitarianism and four important political science studies of National Socialism and totalitarianism, three written by authors who shared the status of involuntary emigrant with Arendt, that are offered as constituting the original context of her work. A critical appreciation of the seminal works by Ernst Fraenkel, Franz L. Neumann, Sigmund Neumann, (...) and Carl Joachim Friedrich and Zbigniew Brezinski, with special emphasis on questions of method, opens the way to a reconsideration of the distinctly philosophical character of Arendt’s work, and its shocking challenges to the scientific orientations of political science. (shrink)
The paper contrasts Kant's conception of original common possession of the earth with Hugo Grotius's superficially similar notion. The aim is not only to elucidate how much Kant departs from his natural law predecessors—given that Grotius's needs-based framework very much lines in with contemporary theorists’ tendency to reduce issues of global concern to questions of how to divide the world up, it also seeks to advocate Kant's global thinking as an alternative for current debates. Crucially, it is Kant's radical (...) shift in perspective—from an Archimedean ’view from nowhere‘, to a first-personal standpoint through which agents reflexively recognise their systematic interdependence in a world of limited space—that provides him with the more thorough and ultimately convincing global standpoint. This standpoint does not come with ready-made solutions to shared global problems, but provides a promising perspective from which to theorise them. (shrink)
Two different discussions in John Rawls' A Theory of Justice lead naturally to a rather conservative position on the moral status of the human embryo. When discussing paternalism, he claims that the parties in the original position would seek to protect themselves in case they end up as incapacitated or undeveloped human beings when the veil of ignorance is lifted. Since human embryos are examples of such beings, the parties in the original position would seek to protect themselves (...) from their embryonic stages onward. When discussing the basis of equality, Rawls claims that the parties in the original position would guarantee basic rights for all those with the capacity to take part in this original position. To guarantee the basic rights of infants and young children, he goes on to interpret this capacity as a "potentiality that is ordinarily realized in due course." Since human embryos have this potentiality, they too should have basic rights. (shrink)