Analyzes the historic correlation of injustice and moral judgments. Universalizability in analyzing moral judgments; Role of payment of money in the embodiment of communal remembrance; Symbolic reparation.
It is commonly argued that cultural objects ought to be returned to their place of origin in order to remedy injustices committed in the past. In this paper, it is shown that significant challenges attach to this way of arguing. Although there is considerable intuitive appeal in the idea that if somebody wrongs another person then she ought to compensate for that injustice, the principle is difficult to apply to wrongdoings committed many decades or centuries ago. It is not (...) clear that historic injustices can meaningfully be corrected, or compensated for, and there are several arguments why, even in cases where there is a prima facie moral case for compensation, repatriation might not be a legitimate means of remedy. In order to bring analytical clarity to the issue, this paper discusses the various steps of the argument that must be addressed in order to ground a valid repatriation claim based on historic injustices. (shrink)
Deliberative democracy is often celebrated and endorsed because of its promise to include, empower, and emancipate otherwise oppressed and excluded social groups through securing their voice and granting them impact in reasoned public deliberation. This article explores the ability of Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy to accommodate the demands of historically excluded social groups in democratic plural societies. It argues that the inclusive, transformative, and empowering potential of Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy falters when confronted with particular types of (...) class='Hi'>historical injustices. It falters because it pays little attention to the historical dimension of injustices and the demands to which it gives rise. The historical dimension of longstanding injustices, it is argued, gives rise to a set of distinctive demands, such as collective memory of exclusion, acknowledgement of historical injustices, taking responsibility, and offering apology and reparations for causing these injustices, which go beyond the type of democratic inclusion that is often offered by deliberative democracy. Yet, the solution is not to abandon the model of deliberative democracy. Quite the contrary, it remains a valuable basis for forward-looking political decision making. The article concludes that in order to achieve inclusive, empowering and transformative deliberation in consolidated democracies that have experienced historical injustices, the politics of reconciliation is indispensable. (shrink)
This article examines the concept of historicalinjustice in the context of contemporary political theory. It examines the moral consequences of historicalinjustice for the descendants of both the perpetrators and the victims and outlines the six questions that any plausible defence of the idea of making reparations for past injustices must deal with. It suggests that taking historicalinjustice seriously is compatible with moral cosmopolitanism and it also helps with the understanding the nature (...) of various kinds of inequalities that persist today. (shrink)
Liberal political philosophers have underestimated the philosophical relevance of historicalinjustice. For some groups, injustices from the past—particularly surrounding race, ethnicity, or religion—are a source of entrenched social inequality decades or even hundreds of years later. Rawls does not advocate the importance of redressing historicalinjustice, yet political liberalism needs a principle of historical redress. Rawls’s principle of fair equality of opportunity, which is designed to prevent the leveraging of class privilege, could be paired with (...) a supporting principle of historical redress that would contend with partiality and bias in open access to positions. (shrink)
Some claim slavery did not harm the descendants of slaves since, without slavery, its descendants would never have been born and a life worth living, even one including the subsequent harms of past slavery, is preferable to never having been born at all. This creates a classic puzzle known as the non-identity argument, applied to reject the validity of claims for historic justice based on harms to descendants of victims of historic wrongs: since descendants are never harmed by historic wrongs, (...) they have no right to rectification. This conclusion is unintuitive. This article explains the nature of harm involved in historic injustice, overcoming the hurdle the non-identity argument poses to historic justice claims. Historic injustice and the harms it generates are best understood as group harms. Claims for historic justice can be grounded in harms currently living individuals suffer as a function of the harms their group or community currently suffers as a consequence of historic wrongs. One form of harm, constitutive harm, differs from the aggregative account of harm assumed by the non-identity argument and is immune to it. It is the type of harm people suffer as members of certain historically wronged groups and communities. Therefore, the constitutive harm people suffer in cases of historic injustice may serve as a basis for justifying claims for historic justice. (shrink)
This article considers the question of the responsibility that present day generations bear as a result of the actions of their ancestors. Is it morally significant that we share a national identity with those responsible for the perpetration of historic injustice? The article argues that we can be guilty of wrongdoing stemming from past wrongdoing if we are members of nations that are responsible for an ongoing failure to fulfil rectificatory duties. This rests upon three claims: that the failure (...) to fulfil rectificatory duties is unjust; that nations can bear collective responsibility for the actions of their leaders; and that nations are comprised of overlapping generations rather than successive generations. The claim that present day parties should apologise for historic injustice is then considered, and it is argued that such an apology is best understood in relation to an ongoing failure to fulfil rectificatory duties. (shrink)
Emotions situate actors in relationships and shape their social interactions. Culture defines both the qualities of individual identity and the constitution of social groups with distinctive values and practices. Emotions, then, are necessarily experienced and acted upon in culturally inflected forms that define not only the conventions of their articulation through individual and collective action, but also the very words that name them. This article develops theoretical arguments to support these claims and illustrates their application in a description of differing (...) emotional repertoires, and their consequences, in Aotearoa New Zealand. The effects of resentment and shame in an ethnic politics of rights and antidiscrimination law demonstrate that context is central to a nuanced understanding of how law and emotions connect in the practicalities of enforcing the protections of anti-discrimination law. (shrink)
This article argues against privileging the expectations of settlers over those of dispossessed peoples. I assume in this article that historical rights to occupancy do not persist through all changes in circumstances, but a theory of justice should reduce perverse incentives to unjustly settle on land in hopes of legitimating occupancy. Margaret Moore, in her 2015 book, A Political Theory of Territory, tries to balance these intuitions through an argument based on legitimate expectations. I argue that Moore’s attempt to (...) reduce perverse incentives (through expectation-altering institutional design) fails. Moore unduly privileges settler expectations, especially over those of indigenous peoples. I criticize United States court decisions resurrecting the expectations of past settlers in the allotment era (which share structural features with Moore’s arguments). Lastly, distinguishing between ‘final’ supersession of historicalinjustice through changing circumstances, and ‘dormant’ supersession, shows how indigenous claims to land and jurisdiction may revive. (shrink)
The article presents critical examination of theories about collective responsibility attempting to cover responsibility for historic injustices. The author will also try to establish the possibility of collective responsibility for the present members of the group to make recompense for the injustices committed by their ancestors depending on two factors expounded in the article.
There are two main sources of theoretical doubt regarding the validity of claims for reparation: the questions arising from the non-identity problem and those arising from the supersession thesis. Neither of them significantly undermines the Palestinian refugees’ claims to reparations and a right of return.
Driven by a sharp increase in claims for reparations, reparative justice has become a topic of academic debate. To some extent this debate has been marred by a failure to realize the complexity of reparative justice. In this essay we try to amend this shortcoming. We do this by developing a taxonomy of different kinds of wrongs that can underwrite claims to reparations. We identify four kinds of wrongs: entitlement violations, unjust exclusions from an otherwise acceptable system of entitlements, and (...) two kinds where a social practice systematically fails to embody an acceptable system of entitlements. In deliberation about what is required to repair a historicalinjustice the weight of backward- and forward-looking considerations is a function of the distinctive features of the injustice in question. Hence, the first step in adjudicating claims for reparation is to identify what kind of wrong the claim arises from. From the taxonomy of wrongs we are thus able to construct what we call the Field of Reparative Justice, which illustrates how the structure of deliberation for reparative justice tracks the distinctive features of different kinds of wrongs. (shrink)
‘Heritage’ is a concept that often carries significant normative weight in moral and political argument. In this article, I present and critique a prevalent conception according to which heritage must have a positive valence. I argue that this view of heritage leads to two moral problems: Disowning Injustice and Embracing Injustice. In response, I argue for an alternative conception of heritage that promises superior moral and political consequences. In particular, this alternative jettisons the traditional focus on heritage as (...) a primarily positive relationship to the past, and thus offers resources for coming to terms with histories of injustice. (shrink)
The relationship between history and justice traditionally has been dominated by the idea of the past as distant or absent . This ambiguous ontological status makes it very difficult to situate the often-felt “duty to remember” or obligation to “do justice to the past” in that past itself, and this has led philosophers from Friedrich Nietzsche to Keith Jenkins to plead against an “obsession” with history in favor of an ethics aimed at the present. History’s ability to contribute to the (...) quest for justice, as a result, often seems very restricted or even nonexistent. The introduction of the “presence”-paradigm in historiography can potentially alter this relation between history and justice. However, to do so it should be conceived in such a way that it offers a fundamental critique of the metaphysical dichotomy between the present and the absent and the underlying concept of time that supports this dichotomy. The “presence”-paradigm can be emancipatory and productive only if presence and absence are not perceived as absolute dichotomies. In the first part of this article I elaborate on the influence that the present/absent dichotomy has on the notion of justice by introducing a conceptual contrast between what I will call the “time of jurisdiction” and the “time of history.” The second part of the article focuses on the way certain aspects of the dominant Western chronosophy reinforce the present/absent dichotomy and thereby prevent us from thoroughly exploring the ambiguous but often very problematic presence of the past. Throughout the article I refer to the relatively recent phenomenon of truth commissions and the context of transitional justice to discuss some challenges for the “presence”-paradigm. (shrink)
In societies that have failed to confront past injustice, the most common justifications for the inclusion of history education within the school curriculum invoke the idea that those who cannot learn from the past are doomed to repeat it; or they appeal to goals such as reconciliation, or to the importance of recognizing and morally redressing the harm done to victims. These justifications are all sound and important. However, they must be supplemented with a justification of a different kind, (...) one that appeals to a different kind of value, namely that of personal and political autonomy. When historicalinjustice is left unaddressed in school, so this paper argues, all children and adolescents are wronged, including those who were not involved in, or were directly affected by, past injustice. This is not simply because as a result they run the risk of repeating, or of being the victims of, behavior that caused past violence; or because without history education the harm done to their predecessors is left unacknowledged. They are wronged because ignorance of past injustice curtails the full exercise of their autonomous agency. It does so by denying them access to information that is crucial for evaluating their values and commitments. History education in schools can avoid this scenario, promoting autonomy instead. (shrink)
This article explores the role of photography in the global work of justice by way of a case study. It focuses on the publication, in December 2001, of a set of photographs by the Mexican newsweekly Proceso, depicting events that occurred in Mexico City on 2 October 1968. Taken at the culmination of a summer of student activism, when the military opened fire on student demonstrators and bystanders, the published photographs showed previously hidden scenes of detention and torture. Locating the (...) publication of these photographs in relation to the historical processes of democratic reform in Mexico, the article aims to contribute to debates regarding the agency of photographic images in the visual politics of humanitarianism, shifting the emphasis away from questions of whether photographs work, to explore instead how they work. In particular, it focuses on the circumstances that authorized the simultaneous entry of the photographs of 1968 into the Mexican and international media spheres, and seeks to illuminate broader questions regarding their specifically photographic mode of address and the intersection between the national settings in which human rights abuses take place and testimonial appeals addressed to a global imagined community. (shrink)
Should we be concerned with, or alarmed or outraged by, the insincerity and hypocrisy of politicians who apologize for historicalinjustice? This paper argues that the correct reply to this question is: sometimes, but not always. In order to establish what types of insincerity must be avoided, Judith Shklar?s hierarchy of ordinary vices is critically revisited. Against Shklar?s overly benign account of hypocrisy, the paper then tries to demonstrate that only institutional and harmful forms of hypocrisy must be (...) rejected in political apologies for historicalinjustice. Employing Melissa Nobles? ?membership theory?, this paper defends the claim that the sincerity standard for political apologies is, in stark contrast to apologies between individuals, agent independent. This means that in political apologies, rather than focusing on the remorse and regret of the agent who apologizes, we must primarily examine the apology?s consequences in terms of renegotiating the legal, political and affective dimensions of citizenship. In domestic affairs, the paper shows that apologies can only be considered sincere if they push the polity towards a more inclusive conception of membership in the political community. (shrink)
The debate concerning the legitimacy of awarding reparations for historical injustices focuses on the issue of finding a proper moral justification for granting reparations to the descendants of the victims of injustices which took place in the remote past. Regarding the case of Romanian communism as a more recent injustice, and analyzing the moral problems entailed by this historical lapse, within this paper I argue that overcoming such a legacy cannot be carried out, as in the case (...) of historical injustices situated more remotely in time, through the means of selective reparations, such as restitutions or compensations. For, even though they are justified from the perspective of rectificatory justice, selective reparations do not fulfill the requirements of social justice. Rather, I argue that the fall of the Romanian communist regime should have been followed by an equal distribution of all properties illegitimately seized by the state, to all adult Romanian citizens at that time, in order to attain the imperative of equal distribution of property among all citizens. The equal distribution thesis is the only way through which the Romanian society could have complied, at that moment of political and social renewal, with the requirements of justice. I also aim at explaining why other principles of justice, which either have or could have been implemented, cannot be properly justified. Finally, I analyze two main objections which could be invoked against my thesis, namely the economic efficiency objection and the legal realist objection. (shrink)
This paper offers a critique of recent attempts, by George Sher and others to justify compensation to be paid to descendants of deceased victims of past wrongs. This recent attempt is important as it endeavours to avoid some well-known critiques of previous attempts, such as the non-identity problem. Furthermore, this new attempt is grounded in individual rights, without invoking a more controversial collectivist assumption. The first step in this critique is to differentiate between compensation and restitution. Once this important distinction (...) is clear, an examination of several factors follows: the importance of the passage of time vis-à-vis claims for compensation and/or restitution, the responsibility of the would be payers, the responsibility of the descendants of the victims, the welfare level of the descendants of the victims, information-related issues, and several additional factors. The conclusion is that once we take into account the distinction between compensation and restitution, and the additional factors mentioned, the case for compensation and/or restitution under the ‘continuing injustice argument’, is highly limited. (shrink)
Advocates of remedying historical injustices urge political communities to take responsibility for their past, but their arguments are ambiguous about whether all past injustices need remedy, or just those regarding groups that suffer from current injustice. This ambiguity leaves unanswered the challenge of critics who argue that contemporary injustices matter, not those in the past. I argue instead for a focus on injustices that have roots in the past, and continue to the present day, what I call enduring (...)injustice. Instead of focusing on finding the party responsible for the injustice, I argue that we use history to help us understand why some injustices endure, which I suggest is partly due to the limitations of liberal justice. I conclude with a conception of responsibility for repairing enduring injustice that deemphasizes searching for the causal agent, and instead focuses on how to repair the injustice, which I explain through an expansive conception of shared space. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Radical injustice; 2. Which injustices? What groups?; 3. Enduring injustice; 4. Apology and acknowledgement; 5. Legitimacy and the cast of history; 6. Elusive justice; 7. A chastened liberalism.
The history of international relations is characterized by widespread injustice. What implications does this have for those living in the present? Should contemporary states pay reparations to the descendants of the victims of historic wrongdoing? Many writers have dismissed the moral urgency of rectificatory justice in a domestic context, as a result of their forward-looking accounts of distributive justice. Rectifying International Injustice argues that historical international injustice raises a series of distinct theoretical problems, as a result (...) of the popularity of backward-looking accounts of distributive justice in an international context. It lays out three morally relevant forms of connection with the past, based in ideas of benefit, entitlement and responsibility. Those living in the present may have obligations to pay compensation insofar as they are benefiting, and others are suffering, as a result of the effects of historic injustice. They may be in possession of property which does not rightly belong to them, but to which others have inherited entitlements. Finally, they may be members of political communities which bear collective responsibility for an ongoing failure to rectify historic injustice. Rectifying International Injustice considers each of these three linkages with the past in detail. It examines the complicated relationship between rectificatory justice and distributive justice, assesses the appropriateness of judging the past by contemporary moral standards, and argues that many of those who resist cosmopolitan demands for the global redistribution of resources have failed to appreciate the extent to which past wrongdoing undermines the legitimacy of contemporary resource holdings. (shrink)
Reflection on the historicalinjustice suffered by many formerly colonized groups has left us with a peculiar account of their claims to material objects. One important upshot of that account, relevant to present day justice, is that many people seem to think that members of indigenous groups have special claims to the use of particular external objects by virtue of their attachment to them. In the first part of this paper I argue against that attachment-based claim. In the (...) second part I suggest that, to provide a normatively defensible account of why sometimes agents who are attached to certain external objects might also have special claims over them, the most important consideration is whether the agents making such claims suffer from structural injustice in the present. In the third part I try to explain why structural injustice matters, in what way attachment-based claims relate to it and when they count. (shrink)
The practice of Emergency Management in Michigan raises anew the question of whose knowledge matters to whom and for what reasons, against the background of what projects, challenges, and systemic imperatives. In this paper, I offer a historical overview of state intervention laws across the United States, focusing specifically on Michigan’s Emergency Manager laws. I draw on recent analyses of these laws to develop an account of a phenomenon that I call epistemic redlining, which, I suggest, is a form (...) of group-based credibility discounting not readily countenanced by existing, ‘culprit-based’ accounts of epistemic injustice. I argue that epistemic redlining plays a crucial role in ongoing projects of racialized subordination and dispossession in Michigan, and that such discounting tends to have structural causes that can be difficult to identify and uproot. Contrary to the general thrust of recent work on the topic, I argue that epistemic redlining ought to be understood as a form of epistemic injustice. (shrink)
The current debate on why colonialism is wrong overlooks what is arguably the most discernible aspect of this particular historicalinjustice: its exreme violence. Through a critical analysis of the recent contributions by Lea Ypi, Margaret Moore and Laura Valentini, this article argues that the violence inflicted on the victims and survivors of colonialism reveals far more about the nature of this historicalinjustice than generally assumed. It is the arbitrary nature of the power relations between (...) colonizers and the colonized which is at the heart of the injustice of colonization, and violence was the way arbitrariness and domination was cemented. The example of colonialism in the Caribbean during the 16th and 17th centuries is used to expose the full extent of this historicalinjustice. (shrink)