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Displaying: 1-10 of 1349 documents


1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Robert Huseby Luck Egalitarianism and the Distributive Trilemma: Accepting Exploitation?
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It is generally acknowledged that most accounts of distributive justice face a trilemma pertaining to agents who are badly off, or risk becoming so, due to their own imprudent behavior: If we a) leave such agents to their own devices, some might perish, which is harsh (Harshness). If we b) force such agents to buy insurance, for their own good (or ban certain risky activities), we act paternalistically (Paternalism). If we c) secure sufficiency for such agents by taxing everyone, we exploit the prudent (Exploitation). This paper discusses how luck egalitarianism should handle this trilemma. The view defended is that luck egalitarianism should avoid Harshness and Paternalism, and accept Exploitation, by incorporating a sufficientarian constraint. The paper further shows how this can be done without violating core luck egalitarian commitments. Lastly, the paper asks whether securing sufficiency for the imprudent really amounts to exploitation as such, and whether it is, in any case, unfair.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Keith Hyams Risk, Responsibility, and Choice: Why Should Some Choices Justify Disadvantage While Others Don’t?
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Choice-based conceptions of substantive responsibility face a number of powerful counterexamples. In order to avoid some of these counterexamples, it is widely claimed that agents are substantively responsible for disadvantage arising from their choices only when the option set from which they chose satisfied a reasonability criterion. I examine three possible justifications for a reasonability criterion: an agent-responsibility-based motivation, a voluntariness-based motivation, and what I call a ‘denied-claim’-based motivation. In each case, I argue that the putative motivation cannot in fact justify a reasonability condition. I end with some comments on what this result means for choice-based conceptions of substantive responsibility.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Viktor Ivanković, Bart Engelen Nudging, Transparency, and Watchfulness
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Nudges have been criticized for working ‘in the dark’, influencing people without their full awareness. To assess whether this property renders nudging an illegitimate policy tool in liberal democracies, we argue that in scrutinizing nudge transparency, we should adequately divide our focus between nudging techniques, the nudgers employing them, and the nudgees subjected to them. We develop an account of what it means for nudgees to be ‘watchful’, a disposition that enables them to resist and circumvent nudges. We argue that such ‘watchfulness’ should be cultivated if we want to implement nudges in legitimate, accountable, and democratic ways.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Jennifer M. Page State-Sponsored Injustice: The Case of Eugenic Sterilization
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In analytic political philosophy, it is common to view state-sponsored injustice as the work of a corporate agent. But as I argue, structural injustice theory provides grounds for reassessing the agential approach, producing new insights into state-sponsored injustice. Using the case of eugenic sterilization in the United States, this article proposes a structurally-sensitive conception of state-sponsored injustice with six components: authorization, protection, systemization, execution, enablement, and norm- and belief-influence. Iris Marion Young’s models of responsibility for agential and structural injustice, and the place of state-sponsored injustice with respect to these models, are also discussed.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Daniel Restrepo Naked Soldiers, Naked Terrorists, and the Justifiability of Drone Warfare
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A hallmark of the war on terror is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, to kill terrorists abroad. I argue that the justification for targeted killing is based on the same logic as the justification for killing the Naked Soldier in traditional wars. Since many drone strikes are personal strikes—the targeted killing of known individuals—this seems like a more justifiable attack than one against anonymous soldiers. Yet, I propose there are three problems to this analogy that makes killing the Naked Terrorist—one unaware of the danger he is in—worse than killing the Naked Soldier: First, there is the epistemological problem regarding knowing with some certainty that the targets are indeed terrorists. Second, terrorists do not seem to pose a great enough danger for the necessity claim. Lastly, drones may not be as precise as the US claims they are.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Katy Wells Renting Personal Goods
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Renting is a common property relation, and it is becoming more common. In spite of this, there is little treatment of renting in political philosophy. In this paper, I remedy this neglect by offering a defence of renting personal goods such as housing, clothing, and means of transport. I argue that we should want each person to rent a much greater proportion of their personal goods than at present they typically do. I offer two arguments for this claim: “The Community Argument” and “The Mitigation Argument.”
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Ingrid V. Albrecht Graveside and Other Asymmetrical Promises
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People who make graveside promises consider themselves bound by them, which raises the question of whether a promise can morally obligate a promisor directly to a promisee who cannot acknowledge the promise. I show that it can by using the theoretical framework provided by “transaction accounts” of promising. Paradigmatically, these accounts maintain that the creation of a promissory obligation requires that the promisee consent to the promise. I extend these accounts to capture promises made by proxy and self-promises, and conclude that we can make promises to absent promisees when we bear responsibility for their moral and personal development.
8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Markus Furendal Rescuing Justice from Indifference: Equality, Pareto, and Cohen’s Ethos
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G. A. Cohen has argued that egalitarian justice proscribes equality-upsetting economic incentives, but that individuals nevertheless are required to make a sufficiently large productive contribution to society. This article argues, however, that Cohen’s claim that justice is insensitive to Pareto concerns and simply is equality, undermines such a duty. In fact, Cohen cannot say that justice prefers a distribution where everyone is equally well off to one where everyone is equally badly off. Individuals hence cannot have a duty of justice to use their talents at a more productive level. This indifference risks removing Cohen’s egalitarianism’s appeal as an alternative to the Rawlsian position it challenges. Several ways of avoiding this problem are proposed and evaluated. Ultimately, it is argued that such a duty to contribute must instead be based on a concern for both equality and human flourishing. The ethos Cohen defends must hence be made pluralist, and encourage a commitment to both principles.
9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Adam Thomas Betz Epistemic Authority, Sovereignty, and Selective Conscientious Objection: A Critical Revision of McMahan’s Jus Ad Bellum Court
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This paper discusses some of the practical difficulties confronting Jeff McMahan’s proposal of a jus ad bellum court of experts for deciding the justice of war, and recommends two revisions. First, following the earlier proposals of Vitoria, Suarez, and Grotius, leaders could have a say in appointing judges to the ad bellum court; second, the court could be an organ of the International Criminal Court. Though significant practical challenges remain, these revisions make McMahan’s proposal fairer to democratic governments, and give the court a better chance for successful implementation in the prevailing Westphalian system of state sovereignty.
10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Dan Threet Mill’s Social Pressure Puzzle
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John Stuart Mill takes social pressure to be a serious threat to individuality, and his proposed limit to the “authority of society” in On Liberty is meant to restrain its force. This proposal creates practical and conceptual difficulties, though, because considerable social pressure can be produced as an unintended, cumulative effect of individuals simply exercising their own liberty. Existing scholarship largely underrates the degree to which this undermines the coherence of his ambitions. I argue that the puzzle cannot be resolved without rejecting part of his framework, even though his concerns about social pressure are not misplaced.