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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 43, Issue 1, January 2017

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Displaying: 1-10 of 11 documents


1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Alice Baderin, Reflective Equilibrium: Individual or Public?
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The paper explores whether the method of reflective equilibrium (RE) in ethics and political philosophy should be individual or public in character. I defend a modestly public conception of RE, in which public opinion is used specifically as a source of considered judgments about cases. Public opinion is superior to philosophical opinion in delivering judgments that are untainted by principled commitments. A case-based approach also mitigates the methodological problems that commonly confront efforts to integrate philosophy with the investigation of popular attitudes. This conception of RE is situated in relation to alternative accounts, including those of Daniels, Rawls, and Wolff and de-Shalit.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Paul Hurley, Why Consequentialism’s "Compelling Idea" Is Not
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Many consequentialists take their theory to be anchored by a deeply intuitive idea, the “Compelling Idea” that it is always permissible to promote the best outcome. I demonstrate that this Idea is not, in fact, intuitive at all, either in its agent-neutral or its evaluator-relative form. There are deeply intuitive ideas concerning the relationship of deontic to telic evaluation, but the Compelling Idea is at best a controversial interpretation of such ideas, not itself one of them. Because there is no Compelling Idea at the heart of consequentialism, there is no initial burden of proof to be discharged nor any air of paradox to be cleared away by its opponents.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Barry Hoffmaster, Cliff Hooker, The Nature of Moral Compromise: Principles, Values, and Reason
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Compromise is a pervasive fact of life. It occurs when obligations conflict and repudiating one obligation entirely to satisfy another entirely is unacceptable—for example, when a single parent cannot both raise a child satisfactorily and earn the income that living together demands. Compromise is unsettling, but properly negotiating difficult circumstances develops moral and emotional maturity. Yet compromise has no place in moral philosophy, where it is logically anathematized and deemed to violate integrity. This paper defends compromise with more expansive accounts of reason and integrity that comport with our finite moral agency and infuse our moral lives.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Paul Billingham, Liberal Perfectionism and Quong’s Internal Conception of Political Liberalism
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Debates between political liberals and liberal perfectionists have been reinvigorated by Jonathan Quong’s Liberalism Without Perfection. In this paper, I argue that certain forms of perfectionism can rebut or evade Quong’s three central objections—that perfectionism is manipulative, paternalistic, and illegitimate. I then argue that perfectionists can defend an “internal conception” of perfectionism, parallel in structure to Quong’s “internal conception” of political liberalism, but with a different conception of the justificatory constituency. None of Quong’s arguments show that his view should be preferred to this perfectionist internal conception. It can thus equally claim to achieve “justification to all reasonable citizens.”
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
James Stacey Taylor, Vote Buying and Voter Preferences
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A common criticism of plurality voting is that it fails to reflect the degree of intensity with which voters prefer the candidate or policy that they vote for. To rectify this, many critics of plurality voting have argued that vote buying should be allowed. Persons with more intense preferences for a candidate could buy votes from persons with less intense preferences for the opposing candidate and then cast them for the candidate that they intensely support. This paper argues that instead of better reflecting voters’ weighted preferences, vote buying will lead to electoral outcomes that reflect them less accurately.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Eric Cavallero, Value Individualism and the Popular-Choice Theory of Secession
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According to the popular-choice theory of secession, the inhabitants of any territory, as a group, should have an internationally recognized right to secede from a sovereign state if their majority chooses by referendum to do so, and if they are capable of sustaining legitimate state institutions. Prior efforts to defend this group right on individualistic grounds—such as the individual right to associate freely or to participate as an equal in democratic decision-making—have failed. As a result, some recent defenders of the choice theory have suggested that the group right the theory implies is “irreducibly collective.” I argue, to the contrary, that this group right can be grounded fully in the fundamental right of each individual to be treated as an equal by the political institutions to which he is subject. The territorial implications of the choice theory are, moreover, consistent with a plausible account of the territorial rights of states.
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Jessica Begon, Capabilities for All?: From Capabilities to Function, to Capabilities to Control
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The capability approach aims to ensure that all individuals are able to form and pursue their own conception of the good, whilst the state remains neutral between them, and has done much to include oppressed and marginalized groups. Liberal neutrality and social inclusivity are worthy goals, yet I argue that Martha Nussbaum’s influential formulation of the capability approach, at least, cannot meet them. Conceptualizing capabilities as opportunities to perform specific, valuable functionings fails to accommodate those who do not value, or cannot perform, these functionings. I therefore propose that the capability approach be modified, such that capabilities are conceptualized instead as opportunities to exercise control in certain central domains of our life.
8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Alexander Zambrano, Patient Autonomy and the Family Veto Problem in Organ Procurement
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A number of bioethicists have been critical of the power of the family to “veto” a patient’s decision to posthumously donate her organs within opt-in systems of organ procurement. One major objection directed at the family veto is that when families veto the decision of their deceased family member, they do something wrong by violating or failing to respect the autonomy of that deceased family member. The goal of this paper is to make progress on answering this objection. I do this in two stages. First, I argue that the most plausible interpretation of what happens when a person registers as an organ donor in an opt-in system is that she gives her consent to the state to posthumously remove her organs for transplantation purposes. Call this the Authorization Account. Second, given the Authorization Account, I argue by analogy that when families veto an individual’s decision to donate and the individual’s organs are not in the end removed, neither the doctors nor the family violate the individual’s autonomy in any morally objectionable sense. Call this the Nonremoval Thesis. I argue that since the Nonremoval Thesis is true, we do not violate or fail to respect the autonomy of registered donors when we fail to remove their organs because their family has objected.
book reviews
9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Marco Verschoor, Margaret Moore, A Political Theory of Territory
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10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Jason M. Wirth, Kelly Oliver, Earth & World: Philosophy after the Apollo Missions
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