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1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 3
Paul Billingham, Jonathan Chaplin Introduction to the Special Issue on Religious Diversity, Political Theory, and Theology: Public Reason and Christian Theology
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2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 3
Christopher J. Eberle Irreconcilable Disagreement: Supreme Emergency, Respect, and Restraint
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John Rawls’s articulation of what makes for justice in war includes one of his most interesting, yet least discussed, assessments of religion and state coercion. Rawls claims that “the duties of the statesman in political liberalism” are incompatible with adherence to “the Catholic doctrine of double effect” when that doctrine precludes the deliberate targeting of innocent and harmless human beings in a “supreme emergency.” I explicate Rawls’s argument in favor of that claim, articulate various theological objections, and assess some proposed restrictions on the justificatory role of religious reasons in the light of that disagreement.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 3
Joshua Hordern The Challenge of Healthcare for Consensus Public Reason
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This article argues that religious and other "non-public" reasoning can have a legitimate and beneficial role in justifying health-related resource allocation decisions affecting individuals, subpopulations and whole communities. Section I critically examines Norman Daniels’s exclusion of such reasoning from such justifications. Section II shows the inadequacy of Daniels’s approach to healthcare as a matter of basic justice, arguing that consensus public reason is indeterminate in certain areas of healthcare policy, including the use of life-sustaining resources and issues related to risk and responsibility. Section III shows how resource allocation decision-making can appropriately incorporate religious and "non-public" reasoning via the medical professional practice of collaborative deliberation.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 3
Paul Billingham Can Christians Join the Overlapping Consensus?: Prospects and Pitfalls for a Christian Justification of Political Liberalism
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The success of political liberalism depends on there being an overlapping consensus among reasonable citizens—including religious citizens—upon principles of political morality. This paper explores the resources within one major religion—Christianity—that might lead individuals to endorse (or reject) political liberalism, and thus to join (or not join) the overlapping consensus. I show that there are several strands within Christian political ethics that are consonant with political liberalism and might form the basis for Christian citizens’ membership of the overlapping consensus. Nonetheless, tensions remain, and it is not clear that Christians could wholeheartedly endorse the political conception or give unreserved commitment to political liberal ideals.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 3
Kevin Vallier Christian Reconciliation through the Public Use of Reason
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Christian political theologians have usually taken one of two approaches to the purpose of political order: agonist or perfectionist. Either political order should seek a civic peace between opposing forces or advance the full human good. Both approaches face difficulties, so I propose a middle-way: Christian reconciliationism. This political theology holds that political order should seek reconciliation between diverse moral perspectives. With perfectionism, reconciliationism aims to establish the political order as a moral order, but with agonism, reconciliationism rejects attempts to use the political order to promote the full human good. It thereby avoids the vices of both approaches.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 3
Cécile Laborde On the Parity between Secular and Religious Reasons
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The contributors to this Special Issue all suggest that Christianity is compatible with political liberalism. In this paper, I first illuminate the grounds of this compatibility. I then focus on one distinctive—yet unexplored—premise of the compatibility argument. This is the thought that religious and secular reasons are essentially on a par, in terms of their contribution to public reasoning. I critically examine Christopher Eberle’s claim that, as their epistemological status is equivalent, both secular and religious reasons may play a decisive role in justifying coercion-related state policies, including in contexts of war.
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 3
Jonathan Chaplin An Institutionalist Reframing of the Religion and Public Reason Debate
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Responding to the preceding four articles, this piece presents a theologically-informed ‘institutionalist’ perspective on the debate within political liberalism over religion and public reason. Institutionalism calls for greater attention to the normative purpose and structural design of political institutions in order better to frame what political deliberation in a liberal democracy should look like. Eschewing any ‘idealization’ of citizens, and favouring an ‘argumentative’ account of democratic deliberation, it explores what public reasoning should consist in when viewed as an empirical practice occurring within actual political institutions. Five features of my account of institutionalism are outlined, followed by three implications of that account for the religion and public reason debate.
8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Rutger Claassen, Lisa Herzog Making Power Explicit: Why Liberal Egalitarians Should Take (Economic) Power Seriously
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In this paper we argue that liberal-egalitarian theorists of justice should take power, especially economic power, seriously and make it explicit. We argue that many theories of justice have left power implicit, relying on what we call the “primacy of politics” model as a background assumption. However, this model does not suffice to capture the power relations of today’s globalized world, in which the power of nation states has been reduced and material inequality has sky-rocketed. We suggest replacing it by a “political economy” model that emphasizes the possibility of self-reinforcing cycles. Doing so has direct implications for how to theorize justice, not only on the non-ideal, but also on the ideal level.
9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Zsolt Kapelner Structural Injustice and the Duties of the Privileged
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Structural injustice is injustice produced by largescale social structures and processes that create systemic disadvantages for large groups of people. Individuals have duties to counteract structural injustice. These duties are more demanding for people privileged by unjust social structures than for non-privileged individuals, even when the latter have equal ability to contribute. What explains this? I review and reject two common explanations, i.e., the Reparation Account and the Restitution Account. I offer a third view, the Domination Account; it holds that the privileged have more demanding duties because they pose a constant threat of domination to non-privileged individuals by virtue of their structural positions.
10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Elias L. Khalil, Alain Marciano Other-Regarding Preferences: The Poverty of the Self/Other Dichotomy
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The category “other-regarding preferences” is a catch-all phrase based on a self/other dichotomy. While the self/other might be useful when the motive is self-interest or altruism, it fails when the motive involves bonding. This article identifies three motives that involve bonding: i) the preferences regarding friendship and community; ii) the preferences that amalgamate communal bonding with self-interest; and iii) the preferences for distinction and status. These three types of preferences unify the self and other—usually aided by ceremonies of gift exchange and celebratory prizes. This article offers a more complete taxonomy of preferences and, corollary, structures of exchange.
11. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Jonathan Kwan Self-Determination as the Ground and Constraint for the Right to Exclude: An Answer to the Boundary Problem
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In this article, I show how the principle of democratic self-determination can answer the boundary problem by both grounding and constraining a people’s right to exclude potential immigrants. I argue that a people has the qualified right to exclude insofar as it respects the self-determination claims of outsiders. I analyze the concrete implications of the requirement to respect the self-determination claims of outsiders in the cases of (a) long-term residents, (b) refugees, and (c) brain drain. Sometimes the only way for a people to respect the self-determination claims of outsiders will be by including, rather than excluding, them as members.
12. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Matthew Lindauer Entry by Birth Alone?: Rawlsian Egalitarianism and the Basic Right to Invite
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This article argues that citizens have a basic right to invite family members and spouses into their society on the basis of Rawlsian egalitarian premises. This right is argued to be just as basic as other recognized basic rights, such as freedom of speech. The argument suggests further that we must treat immigration and family reunification, in particular, as central issues of domestic justice. The article also examines the implications of these points for the importance of immigration in liberal domestic justice and suggests avenues for further research on the interplay of considerations of justice towards citizens and non-citizens.
13. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Aylon R. Manor Experiments in Living: Moral Polycentricity versus Epistemic Polycentricity
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A number of liberal and libertarian philosophers make the moral case for laissez-faire polycentricity—a political order centered around voluntary association. Some of these philosophers further present epistemic arguments in favor of polycentric forms of organization. Initially, one might think that the epistemic arguments reinforce the moral ones, resulting in a philosophically robust case for laissez-faire polycentricity. This paper argues against this conclusion. Through examining the intersection between epistemic considerations and institutional arrangements, I show that the epistemic arguments point away from laissez-faire polycentricity and toward alternative forms of polycentric order.
14. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Élise Rouméas The Procedural Value of Compromise
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Compromise is a valuable decision-making procedure. This article argues that its value lies in the norms of reciprocity and consent. Reciprocity structures the practice of concession-giving. Compliance with this tacit rule expresses an ethos of mutual concern and achieves a shared sense of fairness. Consent is a useful safeguard against asymmetric deals and makes compromise morally binding. The procedural value of compromise gives us important reasons to choose this method for resolving conflicts.
15. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Jeppe von Platz The Injustice of Alienation
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I articulate and defend a Rousseauvian theory of alienation and argue that thus construed non-alienation is a requirement of justice. On the Rousseauvian account, alienation is a process whereby social and economic conditions produce a particular sort of moral-psychological failure (alienated persons). Alienation is undesirable in itself, but it also makes the alienated person miserable, wicked, and unfree. Since our social and economic conditions are chosen, we should choose those that do not have these undesirable consequences.
16. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 2
Aaron J. Yarmel On Choosing Where to Stand: Selecting a Social Movement Approach
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When selecting approaches to pursuing social change, activists commonly evaluate the merits of individual approaches without considering the distributions of approaches already in their movements. This is a problem. I argue, from both general considerations about the division of cognitive labor and empirical evidence from sociology, that some distributions of approaches are better for movements than others and that activists can and should change these distributions for the better rather than for the worse.
17. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Guy Aitchison, Saladin Meckled-Garcia Against Online Public Shaming: Ethical Problems with Mass Social Media
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Online Public Shaming (OPS) is a form of norm enforcement that involves collectively imposing reputational costs on a person for having a certain kind of moral character. OPS actions aim to disqualify her from public discussion and certain normal human relations. We argue that this constitutes an informal collective punishment that it is presumptively wrong to impose (or seek to impose) on others. OPS functions as a form of ostracism that fails to show equal basic respect to its targets. Additionally, in seeking to mobilise unconstrained collective power with potentially serious punitive consequences, OPS is incompatible with due process values.
18. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Erin Beeghly What’s Wrong with Stereotypes?: The Falsity Hypothesis
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Stereotypes are commonly alleged to be false or inaccurate views of groups. For shorthand, I call this the falsity hypothesis. The falsity hypothesis is widespread and is often one of the first reasons people cite when they explain why we shouldn’t use stereotypic views in cognition, reasoning, or speech. In this essay, I argue against the falsity hypothesis on both empirical and ameliorative grounds. In its place, I sketch a more promising view of stereotypes—which avoids the falsity hypothesis—that joins my earlier work on stereotypes in individual psychology (2015) with the work of Patricia Hill Collins on cultural stereotypes (2000). According to this two-part hybrid theory, stereotypes are controlling images or ideas that enjoy both a psychological and cultural existence, which serve a regulative social function.
19. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Michael Da Silva The Traces Left Behind: On Appropriate Responses to Right Acts with Wrong Features
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Fulfilling one’s all-things-considered duty sometimes requires violating pro tanto duties. According to W. D. Ross and Robert Nozick, the pro tanto-duty-violating, wrong-making features of acts in these cases can leave ‘traces’ of wrongfulness that require specific responses: feeling compunction for the wrongfulness and/or providing compensation to the negatively affected person. Failure to respond in the appropriate way to lingering wrong-making features can itself be wrongful. Unfortunately, criteria for determining when traces remain are largely lacking. In this piece, I argue for three necessary conditions for the existence of a trace: ‘The Non-Consequentialist Duty Condition,’ ‘The Identity Condition,’ and ‘The Ratio Condition.’
20. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Sam Kiss Political Realism and Political Reasons
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Some people, we may call them realists, endorse the priority thesis. This thesis says political reasons (distinct from moral, prudential, aesthetic, economic, and other kinds of reason) have normative priority whenever we assess political situations. Any putative political reasons, I argue, must satisfy an autonomy condition and an identity condition. I argue that no realist account of political reasons shows such reasons are distinct and autonomous as of yet. One account, the practice-based account, may have the wherewithal to show political reasons are distinct. I also say some things about the relations between identity, autonomy, and priority.