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Displaying: 1-10 of 33 documents


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1. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Steven Jay Gold, Towards a Marxist Theory of the State
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Though Karl Marx never developed a systematic theory of the state, he did have much to say about state action. In recent times philosophers have made attempts to capture essential elements of Marx’s political theory in order to reconstruct a general understanding of his ideas about state action that is consistent with his theory of history. It has been my purpose in this paper to layout and synthesize recent developments in this area with ideas developed in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of what Marx meant. The debate of nearly two decades past, between instrumentalists and structuralists, is developed here in the context of more recent theories of “abdication” and “class balance” to generate four basic principles of state action consistent with Marx’s statements about the state.
2. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Joan McGregor, Bargaining Advantages and Coercion in the Market
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Does the “free market” foster more freedom for individuals generally and less coercion? Libertarians and other market advocates argue that the unfettered market maximizes freedom and hence has less coercion than any feasible alternative. Welfare liberals, Socialist, and Marxists, in different ways, argue against the claim that the unrestricted market maximizes freedom generally. Both supporters and critics agree that coercion undermines freedom and that that is what is ultimately prima facie wrong with it. Further, they agree that the extent to which an economic system includes coercion provides a serious strike against it. The problem is that there is little consensus on the necessary conditions for coercion. In this paper I will be concerned with the nature of coercive relationships in the market. Market interactions have a particular character and occur within a specific institutional framework. Other accounts of coercion have failed to capture the unique character of coercion in the market because they have failed to take into account certain nontrivial facts about the market which are essential to the analysis of coercive market relations.
3. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
David M. Adams, In Defense of the Autonomy of Rights
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Several philosophers, including most prominently Theodore Benditt, have recently urged that the discourse of rights, widely thought to be a central, if not foundational feature of moral and political thought, is in reality a mere “redundant” appendage---a discourse that holds no distinctive place in moral or legal reasoning owing to the fact that it is thoroughly derivative because collapsible into other forms of moral or legal language. In this paper I attempt to (1) flesh out this “Redundancy” Thesis (RT) and (2) identify and criticize at least two general arguments that might be thought to give rise to it: the claims that rights reduce (respectively) to duties (the Correlativity Thesis) or to permissions (the Permissibility Thesis). I try to show how and why these arguments fail and why they do not therefore support RT.
4. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Joel Feinberg, Responsibility Tout Court
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One who is responsible tout court may be contrasted either with irresponsible persons or with non-responsible (incompetent) persons. Calling one responsible may be either merely describing, or it may be ascribing certain excellences of character. Praising a person for being generally responsible may indicate his/her willingness to take on new liability when s/he has a duty or responsibility to do so, or it may point to virtues which make for effective use of discretion, or it may be certification of moral trustworthiness. Common to all the states opposed to responsibility is a kind of unfitness for prospective or retrospective judgments of liability. Responsibility for . . . provides the contextual background for responsibilities tout court and also for the unity underlying their various ambiguities.One who is generally responsible in the “on balance” sense is responsible in all senses of the word. S/he is (all told) neither non-responsible, nor irresponsible, nor unresponsible and is a safe bet for assignments of prospective liability in virtue of good judgment, self-reliance, and trustworthiness. To describe him or her is to portray an ideal---not the only ideal that philosophical moralists have prescribed for human conduct and character---but an ideal peculiarly adapted to the needs of the modern world.
5. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Joel Feinberg, Responsibility for the Future
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Prospective ascription of responsibility is hypothetical, commonly noting or setting conditions for critical judgment or liability if some event occurs or fails to occur, thus determining vulnerability to retrospective judgments. Prospective liabilities can be classified by source, by type or degree (if any) of accompanying control, and by structure or stages.But not all prospective responsibility can be understood in terms of liability. Actual or de facto control over X and/or responsibility for Y (persons, animals, inanimate things, etc.), though they may involve prospective liabilities, may not be responsibilities to any person in particular. Such responsibilities may be called responsibilities in rem and distinguished from those assignable to persons (responsibilities in personam).Though prospective responsibility judgments often provide the most important grounds for retrospective judgments, if the concern is with the meaning of responsibility judgments, retrospective responsibility judgments are more basic. For, while we can understand retrospective judgments even though we know nothing of prospective ones, the opposite is not true
6. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Steven Jay Gold, Non-Voluntary Compliance
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It is often assumed that one cannot be forced to accept an offer as one can always reject it and be no worse off than one would have been had the offer not been made; offers involve benefits rather than the pains associated with threats. The confusion arises from the fact that we often also assume that in all cases where Q is forced to choose to do what P wants him to do, P coerces Q. I have argued that coercion is only one “mode of non-voluntary compliance”. By distinguishing the different ways one can be forced to comply with another’s wishes, I have attempted to sketch out the various ways that non-voluntary compliance can operate with offers as well as threats.
7. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
William L. Langenfus, A Problem for Harman’s Moral Relativism
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Gilbert Harman’s defense of moral relativism is distinctive because it is grounded upon a fundamental theory of moral obligation, and not merely upon certain well-known anthropological facts (e.g., cultural diversity). Harman’s theory of moral obligation is a particular form of “internalism”-roughly, that to have a moral obligation, one must have some adequate motivation (either dispositional or occurrent) to observe such constraints on action. It is argued, in the present piece, that Harman’s version of internalism fails to account for the sense of using common moral judgments for the purposes of moral education (there is, in other words, a relativism that exists between those with more complex moralities and those who are just learning moral ideas). But this use of moral judgments seems to be crucial in moral education. Since this is so, this difficulty poses an important anomaly to Harman’s relativistic moral theory.
8. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Charles Sayward, Do Moral Explanations Matter?
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In a recent paper Nicholas Sturgeon claims moral explanations constitute one area of disagreement between moral realists and noncognitivists. The correctness of such explanation is consistent with moral realism but not with noncognitivism. Does this difference characterize other anti-realist views? I argue that it does not. Moral relativism is a distinct anti-realist view. And the correctness of moral explanations is consistent with moral relativism.
9. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
C.L. Sheng, “Marginal Consequences” and Utilitarianism
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The purpose of this paper is to clarify the concept of marginal consequences of a group moral action. The situations in which a group action is taken are studied and classified. The assumption that the agents of a group action are similarly (or symmetrically) situated is clearly specified and emphasized. Then a probabilistic approach is used to determine the marginal consequences of a group action. It is shown that the refutation of utilitarian generalization by Bart Gruzalski is unjustified because of his misinterpretation of marginal consequences. Finally the delicate situations of maximizing and minimizing conditions are analyzed. It is concluded that if the probability of participation p is not known, then the contributory consequences approach is the only approach that can be used. If the probability of participation p is known or can be estimated, then the use of the marginal consequences approach seems to be justified and preferable.
10. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Peter Fuss, James Madison and the Classical Republican Tradition
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The thesis pursued here is that Madison, in articulating the principles of political philosophy underlying his defense of the proposed constitution in his contributions to the Federalist Papers of 1787-8, can best be understood as at once invoking, enriching, and on several key points all but abandoning the “classical republican” or “civic humanist” tradition. I analyze the ambivalent character of Madison’s response to Plato and Aristotle, Machiavelli and Rousseau with respect to the quality and complexity of the body politic, the principle of representation, the containment of factionalism, and the nature of political legitimation and renewal.