Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question.
The mass movement of people across the globe constitutes a major feature of world politics today. -/- Whatever the cause of the movement - often war, famine, economic hardship, political repression or climate change - the governments of western capitalist states see this 'torrent of people in flight' as a serious threat to their stability and the scale of this migration indicates a need for a radical re-thinking of both political theory and practice, for the sake of political, social and (...) economic justice. -/- This book argues that there is at present a serious gap between the legal and social practices of immigration and naturalisation in liberal democratic states and any theoretical justification for such practices that can be made within the tradition of liberal political philosophy. How can liberal states develop institutions of democratic citizenship and at the same time justifiably exclude 'outsiders' from participating in those institutions? The book examines various responses to this contradiction within the liberal tradition, and finds none of them satisfactory - there are no consistently liberal justifications for immigration control and this has serious implications both for liberal practice and theory. (shrink)
Terrorism, torture, and the problems of evil -- Diabolical evil, searching for Satan -- Philosophies of evil -- Communities of fear -- The enemy within -- Bad seeds -- The character of evil -- Facing the Holocaust -- Twenty-first-century mythologies.
In this paper I re-state the egalitarian argument against the morality of immigration controls: such limits violate the central ethical commitment to moral equality. This means that immigration controls fail a fundamental moral test and represent the ethical failure of the liberal project of moral equality. I set this re-statement against recent arguments about what moral equality means, specifically Christopher Heath Wellman's use of Elizabeth Anderson's notion of relational equality. Wellman believes that Anderson's ideas seriously damage the egalitarian argument, but (...) I argue that this is a misreading of her account. I conclude that any liberal attempt to morally justify immigration controls must fail through committing the basic logical error of ‘begging the question’. (shrink)
This is a well-behaved concept in Newtonian physics. But a center of gravity is not an atom or a subatomic particle or any other physical item in the world. It has no mass; it has no color; it has no physical properties at all, except for spatio-temporal location. It is a fine example of what Hans Reichenbach would call an abstractum. It is a purely abstract object. It is, if you like , a theorist's fiction. It is not one of (...) the real things in the universe in addition to the atoms. But it is a fiction that has nicely defined, well delineated and well behaved role within physics. (shrink)
The UK government has recently taken steps to exclude certain groups of migrants from free treatment under the National Health Service, most controversially from treatment for HIV. Whether this discrimination can have any coherent ethical basis is questioned in this paper. The exclusion of migrants of any status from any welfare system cannot be ethically justified because the distinction between citizens and migrants cannot be an ethical one.
In December 2007 it was revealed that the British government is considering the exclusion of certain groups of migrants—those considered to be present “illegally”—from primary health care provided by the National Health Service. At present, practitioners have discretion to accept any individual for NHS treatment regardless of their status. A joint Home Office and Department of Health review is examining this access for foreign nationals, and the likely outcome is the restriction of access to irregular migrants, which would, according to (...) the Institute of Public Policy Research, affect around 390,000 people. In 2004 such groups were excluded from NHS secondary care, most controversially from treatment for HIV, and so the present proposal would bar them from all but emergency health treatment. (shrink)
In this essay, I examine the concept of the refugee within the context of liberal political theory. The argument is that the refugee is displaced both in political practice and political theory – theory has a topology, and inside and an outside, such that even if the refugee as a concept does enter within its boundaries it does so as a marginal figure, constructed as problematic. However, liberal political also has a topography when it comes to the refugee question – (...) it is not just insider theory, but theory constructed within a particular kind of state in a particular location in the world. This means the extent to which liberal political theory can answer the refugee question is limited. The main challenge for theory, I argue, is not to come up with an answer to the refugee question, but to construct a context within which the refugee is an equal participant in the process of arriving at an answer. (shrink)
This paper examines toleration at two levels. At the first level, liberal individualism is concerned that the individual must be as free as possible to pursue their own goals and lifestyles. At the second level, liberal political theory is concerned with the value of liberal political culture and institutions and how to maintain and protect them. I argue that we can learn a great deal about the exercise of toleration and respect at the level of the liberal polity by examining (...) them at the level of the liberal individual. Both tolerance and intolerance at the level of the polity must be principled. Principled tolerance and intolerance have the following features. First, the judgment whether to tolerate a particular belief or practice must be based on the value of toleration itself, not pragmatic political requirements. Second, it should be an issue of setting aside moral principles and convictions rather than dislikes, prejudices or fears. Third, it should respect the distinction between the public and the private, and should only recognise an issue as one of toleration if there is a public impact at stake. (shrink)
Carens’ book covers a wide range of issues concerning the ethics of immigration, and although he is best known as a theorist of open borders that argument takes up a relatively small part of the book, and is indeed a small part of his writing on immigration. In this essay, I examine the relationship the radical arguments for open borders, and the more contextual arguments about specific issues such as birthright citizenship, naturalisation and temporary workers which fall short of that (...) radical position. This relationship is complex, and reveals that, although this is a highly readable and accessible book, it rests upon a highly complex method of doing political theory. I critically examine that method and look at the problems it raises for the relationship with political theory and activism. I ask what role the radical arguments for open borders are supposed to play in the public sphere, and, in the end, what role political theorists are supposed to play in that sphere. (shrink)
This volume contains an array of essays that reflect, and reflect upon, the recent revival of scholarly interest in the self and consciousness. Various relevant issues are addressed in conceptually challenging ways, such as how consciousness and different forms of self-relevant experience develop in infancy and childhood and are related to the acquisition of skill; the role of the self in social development; the phenomenology of being conscious and its metapsychological implications; and the cultural foundations of conceptualizations of consciousness. Written (...) by notable scholars in several areas of psychology, philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, and anthropology, the essays are of interest to readers from a variety of disciplines concerned with central, substantive questions in contemporary social science, and the humanities. (shrink)
The idea of the “nation” has played only a small role in modern political philosophy because of its apparent irrationalism and amoralism. David Miller, however, sets out to show that these charges can be overcome: nationality is a rational element of one’s cultural identity, and nations are genuinely ethical communities. In this paper I argue that his project fails. The defence against the charge of irrationalism fails because Miller works within a framework of ethical particularism which leads to a position (...) of metaethical relativism. A consequence of this relativism is that a community’s moral principles and boundaries of exclusion cannot be rationally justified to those constructed as “outsiders”. The defence against the charge of amoralism fails because Miller does not so much provide an argument to show that nations are ethical communities as assume they are; we are therefore left without resources to discriminate between ethical and unethical nations. I apply these problems to Miller’s treatment of the question of immigration, arguing that it shows that his version of “liberal” nationalism has a tendency to collapse towards a conservative position on such issues. This should not give us any great confidence that the nation, as Miller presents it, should be embraced by modern political philosophy. (shrink)
Liberal theories of social justicefocus predominantly on the national, ratherthan international, level, and where they doaddress international concerns they insist thatprinciples of justice at the national levelhave priority over principles at theinternational level. We question the coherenceof this arrangement, given liberal theory'scommitment to moral equality of persons as suchrather than to that of particular sets of persons. What isat issue is whether liberal theory can providea coherent basis for international justice atall. If it is to do so, we suggest that (...) it mustbe prepared to theorise beyond the nationstate, and to take a historical perspectivewhich takes into account the ways in whichcolonial power and exploitation have given riseto the problems of international justice weface today. (shrink)