Are liberalism and perfectionism compatible? In this study Steven Wall presents and defends a perfectionist account of political morality that takes issue with many currently fashionable liberal ideas but retains the strong liberal commitment to the ideal of personal autonomy. He begins by critically discussing the most influential version of anti-perfectionist liberalism, examining the main arguments that have been offered in its defence. He then clarifies the ideal of personal autonomy, presents an account of its value and shows that a (...) strong commitment to personal autonomy is fully compatible with an endorsement of perfectionist political action designed to promote valuable pursuits and discourage base ones. (shrink)
In a number of publications, Gerald Gaus has presented an ambitious account of political morality that gives the ideal of public justification pride of place. This article critically discusses Gaus’s characterization and defense of the ideal of public justification in politics. It also presents an account and an argument in support of first-person political justification.
In this paper, we defend the ethics of clinical research against the charge of paternalism. We do so not by denying that the ethics of clinical research is paternalistic, but rather by defending the legitimacy of paternalism in this context. Our aim is not to defend any particular set of paternalistic restrictions, but rather to make a general case for the permissibility of paternalistic restrictions in this context. Specifically, we argue that there is no basic liberty-right to participate in clinical (...) research and that considerations of distributive fairness justify some paternalistic protections of research subjects. (shrink)
In his late work, Rawls makes strong claims about the status of political liberty. These claims, if accepted, would have significant implications for the content of "justice as fairness." I discuss the nature of these claims, clarifying Rawls's fair value guarantee of the political liberties and critically discussing the arguments that he and others have given for assigning special importance to the political liberties. I conclude that justice as fairness, properly understood, is not a deeply democratic conception of justice.
The term “exploitation” has gained wide currency in recent discussions of biomedical and research ethics. This is due in no small measure to the influence of Alan Wertheimer’s path-breaking work on the topic (Wertheimer 1999, 2011). Wertheimer presented a clear and compelling non-Marxist account of the concept of exploitation—one that stressed the connection between exploitation and unfair distributive outcomes. On this account, when one party exploits another, she takes advantage of the other to gain unfairly. A number of contemporary bioethicists (...) have accepted Wertheimer’s account of exploitation and have proceeded to apply it to a range of issues in research ethics (Hawkins and Emanuel 2008; Miller and Brody .. (shrink)
Many writers claim that democratic government rests on a principled commitment to the ideal of political equality. The ideal of political equality holds that political institutions ought to be arranged so that they distribute political standing equally to all citizens. I reject this common view. I argue that the ideal of political equality, under its most plausible characterizations, lacks independent justificatory force. By casting doubt on the ideal of political equality, I provide indirect support for the claim that democratic government (...) is only instrumentally justified. (shrink)
In debating Patrick Devlin, H. L. A. Hart claimed that the “modern form” of the debate over the legal enforcement of morals centered on the “significance to be attached to the historical fact that certain conduct, no matter what, is prohibited by a positive morality.” This form of the debate was politically important in 1963 in Britain and America, and it remains politically important in these countries today and elsewhere; but it is not the philosophically most interesting form the debate (...) can take. An older form of the debate appealed to natural law or critical morality. It centered on the question of whether political authorities could properly use the criminal law to enforce critical morality, including prohibitions on conduct that was not harmful or disrespectful to others. This paper engages with this older form of the debate. It offers some reasons for thinking that there is a presumption in favor of the view that it is a proper function of the criminal law to enforce critical morality, including that part of critical morality that is not directly concerned with preventing harm or disrespect to others. It then defends this presumption against some arguments recently pressed by Ronald Dworkin. (shrink)
The issue of just savings between generations presents an important,and for the most part unappreciated, problem for Rawls's theory ofdistributive justice. This paper argues that the just savingsprinciple, as Rawls formulates it in his recent work, standsin tension with the difference principle. When thought through,the just savings principle – and more precisely the foundationon which it rests – give us reason to reject the differenceprinciple in favor of a less egalitarian principle ofdistributive justice.
What are our reasons for acting? Morality purports to give us these reasons, and so do norms of prudence and the laws of society. The theory of practical reason assesses the authority of these potentially competing claims, and for this reason philosophers with a wide range of interests have converged on the topic of reasons for action. This volume contains eleven essays on practical reason by leading and emerging philosophers. Topics include the differences between practical and theoretical rationality, practical conditionals (...) and the wide-scope ought, the explanation of action, the sources of reasons, and the relationship between morality and reasons for action. The volume will be essential reading for all philosophers interested in ethics and practical reason. (shrink)
I shall assume that a well-ordered state is one that promotes the freedom of its subjects. My question is what is the kind of freedom that the state ought to promote? This question is different from the question of what freedom is. It might be thought, for example, that freedom consists in the autonomous pursuit of valuable goals and projects, but that the state cannot directly promote this freedom. On this view, the state would not be able to make its (...) citizens free. However, it might be able to do things that make it easier or more likely for them to be free. The freedom that the state promotes might be merely an aspect of or a condition for the freedom that really matters. (shrink)
The ethical standards that regulate clinical research have multiple rationales. Among them is the need to protect potential subjects from making imprudent decisions, which extends beyond the soft paternalistic concern to protect people from making uninformed decisions to participate in trials. This article argues that a plausible risk/benefit restriction on clinical trials is presumptively justified by hard paternalism, which in turn is supported by a deeper fairness-based rationale. This presumptive case for hard paternalism in research is not defeated by the (...) alleged right to participate in clinical trials, by concerns about insult or status, by the need to conduct early phase trials that promise little to no benefit to participants, or by the recognition that some potential subjects are altruistically motivated. (shrink)
In the wake of G. A. Cohen's masterful critique of Rawls's work, this paper discusses Rawlsian justice in general and the difference principle in particular. It argues that Rawlsian arguments for the difference principle present a puzzle and that to respond adequately to the puzzle we must engage in rational reconstruction. After explaining the puzzle and considering and rejecting a number of responses to it, the paper begins its reconstructive project. It presents the case for viewing the difference principle as (...) a maximizing prioritarian principle of justice, one that that contains no trace of commitment to equality as a distributive norm. The paper concludes by bringing out some of the implications of viewing Rawlsian justice in this light. (shrink)
Abstract In his early work in political philosophy, Amartya Sen advanced an interesting and provocative thesis ? the egalitarian thesis. This is the claim that every conception of social justice that has received support in recent times is egalitarian. This paper argues that Sen's account of capabilities and his more recent critique of transcendental justice have implications for the truth of the egalitarian thesis. It also discusses how the rejection of the egalitarian thesis bears on the larger, and more general, (...) issue of the overall plausibility of egalitarian conceptions of social justice. (shrink)
In recent years, theorists of radical democracy have criticized the liberal pluralist model of politics, a model which views the political forum primarily as a space for bargaining and the aggregation of individual preferences. While conceding that some measure of bargaining and preference aggregation is probably an ineliminable feature of democratic politics, radical democrats have charged that this model underestimates or ignores the transformative effects of democratic political interaction. In particular, liberal pluralism does not allow for the possibility that democratic (...) politics can generate new forms of solidarity, enhance personal freedom, and inculcate virtue. (shrink)
The authors in this edited volume reflect on their experiences with culturally relevant pedagogy-as students, as teachers, as researchers-and how these experiences were often at odds with their backgrounds and/or expectations.
This is the inaugural volume of Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. Since its revival in the 1970s political philosophy has been a vibrant field in philosophy, one that intersects with jurisprudence, normative economics, political theory in political science departments, and just war theory. OSPP aims to publish some of the best contemporary work in political philosophy and these closely related subfields.
This is the second volume of Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. Since its revival in the 1970s political philosophy has been a vibrant field in philosophy, one that intersects with jurisprudence, normative economics, political theory in political science departments, and just war theory. OSPP aims to publish some of the best contemporary work in political philosophy and these closely related subfields. The papers in this volume address a range of central topics and represent cutting edge work in the field. They (...) are grouped into three main themes: ideal theory, the moral assessment of states, and issues in social reliations. (shrink)
This is the fourth volume of Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. The series aims to publish some of the best contemporary work in the vibrant field of political philosophy and its closely related subfields, including jurisprudence, normative economics, political theory in political science departments, and just war theory.
This is the third volume of Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. The series aims to publish some of the best contemporary work in the vibrant field of political philosophy and its closely related subfields, including jurisprudence, normative economics, political theory in political science departments, and just war theory.