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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 40, Issue 3, July 2014

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Displaying: 1-9 of 9 documents

1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Andrés Luco, The Definition of Morality: Threading the Needle
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This essay proposes and defends a descriptive definition of morality. Under this definition, a moral system is a system of rules, psychological states, and modes of character development that performs the function of enabling mutually beneficial social cooperation. I shall argue that the methodologies employed by two prominent moral psychologists to establish a descriptive definition of morality only serve to track patterns in people’s uses of moral terms. However, these methods at best reveal a nominal definition of morality, since moral appraisers may be ignorant about the referents of their moral terms. I propose a real definition of morality that characterizes moral systems as a natural kind—more precisely, a copied kind. I explain what it takes for a moral system to satisfy this definition, and I identify the sorts of evidence needed to distinguish moral systems from value systems of other kinds.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Michael Kates, Individuals and the Demands of Justice in Nonideal Circumstances
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Ought some individuals be required to do more to combat injustice simply because others have done less? My thesis in this paper is that in order to answer thisquestion in a theoretically compelling manner, it is necessary to distinguish the social obligations that citizens have towards one another in virtue of their institutional ties or special relationships from the natural duties that all persons share simply in virtue of their status as equal moral agents. What justice demands of individuals in nonideal circumstances will ultimately depend, I argue, on the comparative scope or range of application of these two different types of moral requirement.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Christie Hartley, Two Conceptions of Justice as Reciprocity
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Social cooperation based on reciprocity is the cornerstone of many theories of justice. However, what is central to social cooperation based on reciprocity? How does basing social cooperation on reciprocity structure and constrain theories of justice? In this paper, I consider what is central to reciprocity. I argue that the purpose of reciprocal exchange among persons is important for determining the appropriateness of reciprocal exchanges and that sustaining mutually advantageous relations is not always the point or the only point of reciprocity. This has important implications for theorizing about justice. I show this by outlining two conceptions of justice as reciprocity.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Robert S. Taylor, Illiberal Socialism
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Is “liberal socialism” an oxymoron? Not quite, but I will demonstrate here that it is a much more unstable and uncommon hybrid than scholars had previously thought and that almost all liberals should reject socialism, even in its most attractive form. More specifically, I will show that three leading varieties of liberalism—neutralist, plural-perfectionist, and deliberative-democratic—are incompatible with even a moderate form of socialism, viz., associational market socialism. My paper will also cast grave doubt on Rawls’s belief that justice as fairness is consistent with liberal socialism.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, The Importance of What Citizens Care About
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This paper aims to strengthen the liberal theory of public justification defended by John Rawls and his followers, by arguing that advocates of political liberalism can have more to say about how citizens can come to endorse and give priority to liberal justice than has been commonly supposed. The political conception of the person, complete with the two powers of moral personality, contains within it all the resources we need to illustrate why reasonable persons would have at least one good reason to endorse and uphold liberal justice, and to make it regulative of their pursuit of their conceptions of the good. This is achieved by citizens’ feelings of care and affective concern toward their higher-order interests—their sense of justice, and their conception of the good.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
David Birks, Moral Status and the Wrongness of Paternalism
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In this paper, I consider the view that paternalism is wrong when it demeans or diminishes the paternalizee's moral status (the Moral Status Argument). I argue that we should reject the Moral Status Argument because it is both too narrow and too broad. It is too narrow because it cannot account for the wrongness of some of the most objectionable paternalistic interventions, namely, strong paternalistic interventions. It is too broad because it is unable to distinguish between wrongful paternalistic acts that are plausibly considered more wrong than other wrongful paternalistic acts.
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Will Jefferson, Thomas Douglas, Guy Kahane, Julian Savulescu, Enhancement and Civic Virtue
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Opponents of biomedical enhancement frequently adopt what Allen Buchanan has called the “Personal Goods Assumption.” On this assumption, the benefits of biomedical enhancement will accrue primarily to those individuals who undergo enhancements, not to wider society. Buchanan has argued that biomedical enhancements might in fact have substantial social benefits by increasing productivity. We outline another way in which enhancements might benefit wider society: by augmenting civic virtue and thus improving the functioning of our political communities. We thus directly confront critics of biomedical enhancement who argue that it will lead to a loss of social cohesion and a breakdown in political life.
book reviews
8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Kelly McCormick, D. Justin Coates and Neal A. Tognazzini (eds.), Blame: Its Nature and Norms
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9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
George Schedler, James P. Sterba, From Rationality to Equality
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