After a fatal police shooting in the United States, it is typical for city and police officials to view the family of the deceased through the lens of the law. If the family files a lawsuit, the city and police department consider it their legal right to defend themselves and to treat the plaintiffs as adversaries. However, reparations and the concept of “reparative justice” allow authorities to frame police killings in moral rather than legal terms. When a police officer (...) kills a person who was not liable to this outcome, officials should offer monetary reparations, an apology, and other redress measures to the victim’s family. To make this argument, the article presents a philosophical account of non-liability hailing from self-defense theory, centering the distinction between reasonableness and liability. Reparations provide a non-adversarial alternative to civil litigation after a non-liable person has been killed by a police officer. In cases where the officer nevertheless acted reasonably, “institutional agent-regret” rather than moral responsibility grounds the argument for reparations. Throughout the article, it is argued that there are distinct racial wrongs both when police kill a non-liable black person and when family members of a black victim are treated poorly by officials in the civil litigation process. (shrink)
Reparations is an idea whose time has come. From civilian victims of war in Iraq and South America to descendents of slaves in the US to citizens of colonized nations in Africa and south Asia to indigenous peoples around the world--these groups and their advocates are increasingly arguing for the importance of addressing historical injustices that have long been either ignored or denied. This volume contributes to these debates by focusing the attention of a group of highly distinguished international (...) experts on the ways that reparations claims figure in contemporary political and social justice movements. Four broad types of reparations claims are examined, those involving indigenous peoples, the legacy of slavery in the United States, victims of war and conflict, and colonialism. In each instance, scholars and activists argue about the character of the injustice for which reparations are owed, why it is important to take these demands seriously, and what form redress should take. The aim is not consensus but to exhibit better the complexity of the issues involved--a goal which the interdisciplinary nature of the volume furthers--as well as the importance of taking seriously both conceptual issues and the actual politics of reparations. (shrink)
A recent development in philosophical scholarship on reparations for black chattel slavery and Jim Crow segregation is reliance upon social science in normative arguments for reparations. Although there are certainly positive things to be said in favor of an empirically informed normative argument for black reparations, given the depth of empirical disagreement about the causes of persistent racial inequalities, and the ethos of 'post-racial' America, the strongest normative argument for reparations may be one that goes through (...) irrespective of how we ultimately explain the causes of racial inequalities. By illuminating the interplay between normative political philosophy and social scientific explanations of racial inequality in the prevailing corrective justice argument for black reparations, I shall explain why an alternative normative argument, which is not tethered to a particular empirical explanation of racial inequality, may be more appealing. (shrink)
If affirmative action and other ethnicity-based social programs are justified, then J. Angelo Corlett believes it is important to come to an adequate understanding of the nature of ethnicity in general and ethnic group membership in particular. In Race, Racism, and Reparations, Corlett reconceptualizes traditional ideas of race in terms of ethnicity. As he makes clear, the answers to the questions "What is a Native American?" or "What is a Latino?" have important implications for public policy, especially for those (...) programs designed to address historic injustices and economic and social imbalances among different groups in our society. Having supplanted "race" with a well-defined concept of ethnicity, the author then analyzes the nature and function of racism. Corlett argues for a notion of racism that must encompass not only racist beliefs but also racist actions, omissions, and attempted actions. His aim is to craft a definition of racism that will prove useful in legal and public policy contexts. Corlett places special emphasis on the broad questions of whether reparations for ethnic groups are desirable and what forms those reparations should take: land, money, social programs? He addresses the need for differential affirmative action programs and reparations policies—the experiences of different ethnic groups vary greatly. Arguments for reparations to Native and African Americans are considered in light of a variety of objections that are or might be raised against them. Corlett articulates and critically analyzes a number of possible proposals for reparations. (shrink)
All of these claims for reparations have mobilized popular support, and all share a degree of intuitive plausibility. The challenge to the theorist is to judge whether and which of such demands are grounded in sound principles of political normativity, so as to be able to select out the valid claims and to measure how the urgency of these claims compares with other demands on the public agenda. The most basic question for those considering the justiﬁcations of reparations (...) is how to orient their theories within the space of reasons. Do valid claims for reparation rest at the deepest level on reasons we have for redressing a past injustice? Or do they rather rest on reasons we have to improve our current relations so that we can get along better in the future? Are valid reparative demands backward- or forward-looking? (shrink)
Positive law and problems with identifying beneficiaries confine reparations for U.S. slavery to the level of discourse. Within the discourse, the broader topic of rectification can be addressed. The rectification of slavery includes restoring full humanity to our ideas of the slaves and their descendants and it requires disabuse of the false biological idea of race. This is not racial eliminativism, because biological race never existed, but more importantly because African American racial identities and redress of present racism are (...) based on lifeworlds of race in contrast with which the biological idea has been an external imposition. (shrink)
This essay argues that reparations for wrongs by one's ancestors can be justified. Differential benefits to those descended from victims of one's ancestors is discrimination which can be justified by one's right to be partial to one's ancestors, doing what they, with clearer thinking, would have done--namely compensating their victims. So, while there is no obligation to discriminate, one has a right to, in virtue of one's partiality towards one's ancestors.
The paper addresses the question of the appropriateness of a Congressional apology for American slavery. After offering an account of what an apology entails, I consider the claim that today's Congress fails to stand in the right relation to the guilt of American slavery to apologize for it. I argue that, while the current Congress and the constituency it represents do not bear a guilt that would permit it to apologize FOR slavery, it has inherited a guilt RELATED TO slavery (...) for which it is appropriate for it to apologize. (shrink)
The ‘structural injustice’ framework is an increasingly influential way of thinking about historical injustice. Structural injustice theorists argue against reparations for historical injustice on the grounds that our focus should be on forward-looking responsibility for contemporary structural injustice. Through the use of a case study – the Caribbean Community 10-Point Plan for reparations from 2014 – I argue that this reasoning is flawed. Backward-looking reparations can be justified on the basis of state liability over time. The value (...) of backward-looking reparations is that they ensure that historical perpetrators do not evade their reparative obligations and that affected communities are taken seriously. However, I argue that this backward-looking approach should be supplemented by a forward-looking structural injustice approach and the ‘social connection model’ of responsibility, which can expand the scope of responsible agents and forms of injustice that warrant repair and explain how citizens living now can be expected to pay for crimes of the past. (shrink)
This paper sketches an account of reparative justice for climate refugees, focusing on total land loss due to sea-level rise. I begin by outlining the harm of this loss in terms of self-determination and cultural heritage. I then consider, first, who is owed these reparations? Second, who should pay such reparations? Third, in what form should the reparations be paid? I end with thoughts on the project of reparative justice more generally, arguing that such obligations do not (...) depend upon a perfect account of how reparations might be fulfilled; we simply have an obligation to shoot the arrow as close to the target as we can. (shrink)
The end of the twentieth century witnessed a resurgence of demands for reparations for slavery and segregation in the United States. At the same time, a chorus of prominent political theorists warned against the threat "identity politics" poses for democratic politics. This essay considers whether it is possible to construct an argument for reparations that responds to these concerns, particularly as they are articulated by Wendy Brown. To do so, I explore how Brown's analysis of the dangers of (...) political organizing around "wounded identities" and of appealing to the state for redress might inform and be informed by arguments for black reparations. (shrink)
We identify the ethics of reparations policies as its own distinct field of inquiry, and consider several neglected ethical issues that arise in the process of devising reparations programmes. The problem of political instrumentalization has to do with the fact that reparations can be a way for the governments to bolster their legitimacy rather than achieve justice. The problem of exclusion refers to individuals with seemingly valid claims being turned away. Finally, the problem of inclusion has to (...) do with including would-be claimants who are not mobilized in making a reparations demand, as well as with reconciling competing reparations demands. (shrink)
This paper assesses recent trends in international law regarding the availability and character of reparations. Presently, reparations issues have arisen particularly in domestic societies searching for transitional justice in the aftermath of authoritarian rule. These issues are shaped by national legal systems, but are also influenced by international practice. In these transitional settings, the search for justice is affected by political preoccupations such as the persistent influence of displaced prior authoritarian leadership as well as by real and alleged (...) limitations on the financial capabilities of transitional states. No general approach can address the interplay between national and international law at this stage. Reliance must be placed on a case by case approach, considering matters of context such as the degree of suffering and disability inflicted on particular categories of claimants, the balance of claims versus the State’s demands for resources to fund sustainable and equitable development. Remoteness in time bears on the credibility of the claimants as present victims tend to be given priority over victims in the distant past when assessing relative merits. Scale and selectivity suggests that if the total of claims overwhelms the administrative capacity of the state, there will be a tendency to substitute apology and symbolic gestures for material ones, and award reparations based on individual need associated with the prior deprivation. International law informs background moral and political thinking about reparations, but practical considerations of capability and prudence are decisive in most instances, making the influence of international law indirect and sometimes marginal. (shrink)
Offering the most comprehensive book-length study to-date of reparation programs, this handbook contains an innovative blend of case-study analysis, thematic papers, and national legislation documents from leading scholars and practitioners. This landmark work will make a genuine contribution to the theory and practice of reparations.
Research has paid scant attention to reparative behavior to compensate for unintended wrongdoing or to the role of emotions in doing the right thing. We propose a new approach to investigating reparative behavior by looking at moral emotions and psychological proximity. In this study, we compare the effects of moral emotions (guilt and shame) on the level of compensation for financial harm. We also investigate the role of transgressors’ perceived psychological proximity to the victims of wrongdoing. Our hypotheses were tested (...) through a scenario based questionnaire on a sample of 261 participants. Analyses indicate that (1) guilt has a stronger effect on the level of compensation than shame; (2) psychological proximity influences the level of guilt, shame, and compensation; and (3) shame interacts with psychological proximity to predict compensation, whereas guilt mediates the relationship between psychological proximity and compensation. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne (in his "Responsibility and Atonement") argues for a sacrificial version of the Atonement, in which the individual penitent offers the life of Christ to God in (partial) reparation for his sins. I argue that any version of this account is both conceptually incoherent and morally unsatisfying and offer in its place a version of the exemplary theory of the Atonement which, I claim, meets the conditions he lays down for any satisfactory account.
This paper describes the reparations programs implemented in Chile from 1990 to 2004. These programs target the victims of human rights violations committed during the military regime. These include the relatives of the missing and executed persons; people who were dismissed from their jobs for political motives; peasants who participated in land reform and were expelled from the land for political reasons; and Chilean exiles returning to the country. Political prisoners and torture victims were considered only in 2003. The (...) creation of the Commission for Political Imprisonment and Torture was followed by a law which provides pensions to political prisoners and torture victims identified by the Commission. Created with different kinds of victims in mind, these programs were based on pensions, social services, educational benefits, and public recognition of the violations of the victims’ rights, monuments, sites of memory, and health assistance, mainly in the form of mental health services. The Program for Reparation and Integral Health Assistance for Victims of Human Rights Violations, created in 1991 and reinforced by a law at the end of 2004, has been the reparation measure for all kinds of victims of human rights violations, including third-generation relatives. (shrink)
Between 1904 and 1908, German colonialists in German South West Africa (GSWA, known today as Namibia) committed genocide and other international crimes against two indigenous groups, the Herero and the Nama. From the late 1990s, the Herero have sought reparations from the German government and several German corporations for what occurred more than a hundred years ago. This article examines and contextualizes the issues concerning reparations for historical human rights claims. It describes and analyzes the events in GSWA (...) at the time. It further explores whether international humanitarian law and international human rights law today permit reparatations to be obtained. The article therefore examines the origins of international criminal law, as well as international human rights and humanitarian law, to determine whether what occurred then were violations of the law already in force. Finally, the article examines and evaluates the Herero reparations cases, as well as the potential impact of the cases on the wider reparations movement that sees an increasing number of claims for events that occurred during colonial times. (shrink)
Reparations whether to blacks for slavery, or to Indians for land theft, or to settle any number of other conflicts, has an interesting political background. Analysts on the left, who are usually no friend of private property rights, nevertheless rely on this doctrine to support their case for reparations. Those on the right, in contrast, who supposedly defend the institution of property rights, jettison them when it comes to reparations. It is only libertarians, such as the present (...) authors, who both favor private property rights in general, and, also, apply them to the issue of reparations, who are logically consistent. (shrink)
This paper seeks to articulate a conception of justice in reparations for victims of human rights violations when the aim is to repair a large number of cases, as opposed to individual, isolated cases. It starts with an effort to establish some semantic clarity by trying to distinguish between two different contexts for the use of the term “reparations”. It discusses some of the problems with merely transplanting the ideal of compensation in proportion to harm from its natural (...) home in the resolution of individual judicial cases, and using it as a standard of justice for massive reparations programs. Instead, it argues in favor of thinking about justice in the context of massive cases in terms of the achievement of three goals, namely, recognition, civic trust, and social solidarity — three goals that are intimately related to justice. Finally, it tries to shed light on the basic trade-offs that accompany some of the choices that have to be made in the process of constructing a comprehensive and coherent reparations program. (shrink)
This article proposes a normative theory of reparations for political violence from the standpoint of contemporary critical theory debates on recognition and redistribution. I argue that any satisfactory reparations theory should aspire to ‘status parity’, a term coined by Nancy Fraser, and should include symbolic and material components for both individuals and groups. The essay argues that reparations can promote a number of worthy goals, including the reaffirmation of moral respect and dignity of victims.
This paper provides an overview of psychosocial and mental health theory and practice as it has emerged in contexts of war, post-war, and transitional situations. It identifies several models that have guided much of this work until now, critically examines their underlying assumptions, and posits a series of limitations inherent in the dominant paradigm of post-traumatic stress disorder, especially as applied in the aftermath of political violence. It argues that psychosocial work as part of reparations processes must be designed (...) and enacted within specific historical, cultural, sociopolitical contexts, with singular individuals and their particular communities. This perspective permits more effective ways of responding to and working within the diversity of challenges facing societies seeking to reconstruct in the wake of war and other forms of organized political violence. An alternative framework for this work is proposed, which must be articulated and shaped in practice by individuals, families, and groups in their neighborhoods, communities, and societies. Exhumations and reburials, in two distinct contexts, are examined as sites for psychosocial work within reparation processes. The paper concludes by describing ongoing questions that challenge psychosocial workers hoping to contribute to reparations work. (shrink)
There are many commonalities between the goals of transitional justice and domestic redress movements. We look at the movement for reparations for enslavement and Jim Crow in the United States as an example of a domestic reparations movement, and argue for the usefulness of the concept of transitional justice. We are particularly interested in showing that a future democratic transition – the end of mass incarceration – could animate a renewed push for reparations and a formal investigation (...) into America’s legacy of racial injustice. (shrink)
This article addresses the question of whether present day individuals can inherit rights to compensation from their ancestors. It argues that contemporary writing on compensatory justice in general, and on the inheritability of rights to compensation in particular, has mischaracterized what is at stake in contexts where those responsible for wrongdoing continually refuse to make reparation for their unjust actions, and has subsequently misunderstood how later generations can advance claims rooted in the past mistreatment of their forebears. In particular, a (...) full consideration of the wrongful character of non-rectification needs to take account of the multiplicity of temporal points at which compensation could have been, but was not, paid, each with potentially significant consequences for the victims of injustice. This has relevance for what is owed to those who have been wrongfully denied compensation for wrongs that caused them direct harm, and can be extended to others, such as their direct heirs, who are likewise affected by non-rectification. This opens the door to the endorsement of potentially extensive contemporary claims on behalf of the heirs of victims of wrongdoing. (shrink)
The doctrine of the atonement is a subject of perpetual curiosity for a number of contemporary theologians. The penal substitution theory of atonement in particular has precipitated a great deal of recent interest, being held up by many Protestants as ‘the’ doctrine of atonement. In this essay, we make a defense against the objection to the Anselmian theory of atonement that is often leveled against it by exponents of the Penal Substitution theory, namely, that Christ’s work does not accomplish anything (...) for those whom it appears he undertakes his atoning work, but merely makes provision for salvation. (shrink)
Two of the most important theories in contemporary liberal egalitarianism are Ronald Dworkin’s equality of resources and Amartya Sen’s capability approach. Recently Dworkin has claimed that Sen’s capability approach does not provide a genuine alternative to equality of resources. In this article, we provide both an internal and an external critique of Dworkin’s claim. In the first part of the article we develop an internal critique by providing a detailed analysis of Dworkin’s claim. Andrew Williams has contested Dworkin’s claim, but (...) he has failed to convince Dworkin of his objections. We analyze this debate, and offer an argument that, we hope, settles this dispute. In the second part of the article we argue that an analysis beyond the current parameters of the liberal-egalitarian debate points to three significant differences between Dworkin’s and Sen’s egalitarian theories: the degree to which they rely on an ideal-theoretical approach; their ability to judge social structures that are intertwined with people’s social endowments; and their endorsement of a well-defined criterion to demarcate morally relevant from morally irrelevant inequalities. This broader analysis not only reinforces our conclusion that Dworkin’s equality of resources and Sen’s capability approach are genuinely distinct, but it also suggests some more general insights that may be relevant for a better understanding of contemporary egalitarian thinking. (shrink)
This paper argues that Leif Wenar's theory of reparations is not purely forward-looking and that backward-looking considerations play an important role: if there had never been a past injustice, then reparations for the future cannot be acceptable. Past injustice compose the first part of a two-tiered theory of reparations. We must first discover a past injustice has taken place: reparations are for the repair of previous damage. However, for Wenar, not all past injustices warrant reparations. (...) Once we have first passed the initial test of demonstrating a past injustice has taken place, we then determine whether or not to finally accept reparations based upon forward-looking considerations. What is important to note is that this decision to award reparations is based upon forward-looking considerations, but only after first satisfying the test of a past injustice. Thus, backward-looking considerations make up an important first part of Wenar's two-tiered theory of reparations. It is not my argument that this theory is unsafe and I find Wenar's arguments both novel and highly compelling. However, the view that this theory is forward-looking -- and not backward-looking -- is not entirely accurate. My brief reply corrects this part of an important new theory of reparations in the hope of strengthening its persuasive power. (shrink)
Public officials should compensate the victims of wrongful conviction and enforcement. The same considerations in favor of compensating people for wrongful conviction and enforcement in other cases support officials’ payment of reparations to the victims of unjust enforcement practices related to the drug war. First, we defend the claim that people who are convicted and incarcerated because of an unjust law are wrongfully convicted. Although their convictions do not currently qualify as wrongful convictions in the legal sense, we argue (...) that the same reasons for legally recognizing other wrongful convictions support conceiving of these cases as wrongful convictions. If so, then people who suffered wrongful convictions associated with unjust laws, like others who were wrongfully convicted, are entitled to compensation and reparation. We then argue that America’s drug laws are unjust laws. Therefore, people who were convicted of nonviolent drug offenses are entitled to compensation. (shrink)
: International instruments now defend a "right to the truth " for victims of political repression and violence and include truth telling about human rights violations as a kind of reparation as well as a form of redress. While truth telling about violations is obviously a condition of redress or repair for violations, it may not be clear how truth telling itself is a kind of reparations. By showing that concerted truth telling can satisfy four features of suitable (...) class='Hi'>reparations vehicles, I defend the idea that politically implemented modes of truth telling to, for, and by those who are victims of gross violation and injustice may with good reason be counted as a kind of reparations. Understanding the doubly symbolic character of reparations, however, makes clearer why truth telling is unlikely to be sufficient reparation for serious wrongs and is likely to be sensitive to the larger context of reparative activity and its social, political, and historical background. (shrink)
This is a defense of black reparations using the theory of reparations set out in John Locke''s The Second Treatise of Government. I develop two main arguments, what I call the ``inheritance argument'''' and the ``counterfactual argument,''''both of which have been thought to fail. In no case do I appeal to the false ideas that present day United States citizens are guilty of slavery or must pay reparation simply because the U.S. Government was once complicit in the crime.