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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 42, Issue 4, October 2016

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Displaying: 1-10 of 15 documents


1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Sofia Jeppsson, Accountability, Answerability, and Freedom
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It has been argued that we cannot be morally responsible in the sense required to deserve blame or punishment if the world is deterministic, but still morally responsible in the sense of being apt targets for moral criticism. Desert-entailing moral responsibility is supposed to be more freedom-demanding than other kinds of responsibility, since it justifies subjecting people to blame and punishments, is nonconsequentialist, and has been shown by thought experiments to be incompatible with determinism. In this paper, I will show that all these arguments can be resisted.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Brian Berkey, Against Rawlsian Institutionalism about Justice
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One of the most influential claims made by John Rawls in A Theory of Justice is that the principles of justice apply only to the institutions of the “basic structure of society,” and do not apply directly to the conduct of individuals. In this paper, I aim to cast doubt on this view, which I call “Institutionalism about Justice,” by considering whether several of the prominent motivations for it offered by Rawls and others succeed in providing the support for the view that they claim. I argue that all of the motivations are problematic as grounds for accepting Institutionalism, at least in part because they, and the Institutionalist view that they are thought to support, seem to misconceive what our concern about justice is fundamentally a concern about.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Amir Saemi, The Form of Practical Knowledge and Implicit Cognition: A Critique of Kantian Constitutivism
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Moral realism faces two worries: How can we have knowledge of moral norms if they are independent of us, and why should we care about them if they are independent of rational activities they govern? Kantian constitutivism tackles both worries simultaneously by claiming that practical norms are constitutive principles of practical reason. In particular, on Stephen Engstrom’s account, willing involves making a practical judgment. To will well, and thus to have practical knowledge (i.e., knowledge of what is good), the content of one’s will needs to conform to the formal presuppositions of practical knowledge. Practical norms are thus constitutive of practical knowledge. However, I will argue that the universality principles from which Engstrom derives the formal presuppositions of practical knowledge are reflectively and psychologically unavailable. As a result, they cannot help Kantian constitutivism provide an answer to moral realism's worries.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Brian Carey, Justice for Jerks: Human Nature, Selfishness, and Noncompliance
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Recent debates about the relationship between ideal and nonideal theory have begun to focus on exploring the concept of political feasibility and the role that feasibility considerations should play in a theory of justice. In this article I argue that if there are facts that constrain what is feasible for human beings to motivate themselves to do, these facts ought to be understood as constraints on what justice can demand of us. I begin by explaining why our feasibility considerations must be sensitive to facts about motivational capacities. I then argue that taking motivational constraints seriously need not commit us to an overly concessive theory of justice.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Mark Piper, Achieving Autonomy
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I argue that acting autonomously is often a far more difficult achievement than much of the recent literature on this topic would suggest. Several of the most influential autonomy achievement theories have low achievement thresholds, and there are conceptual and empirical reasons to hold that autonomy achievement ought to be viewed as having much higher thresholds in general. I consider and rebut a variety of reasons for keeping the autonomy achievement threshold low, and conclude with a brief word on the normative implications of my thesis.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Michael Fuerstein, Democratic Experiments: An Affect-Based Interpretation and Defense
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I offer an interpretation and defense of John Dewey’s notion of “democratic experiments,” which involve testing moral beliefs through the experience of acting on them on a social scale. Such testing is crucial, I argue, because our social norms and institutions fundamentally shape the relationships through which we develop emotional responses that represent the morally significant concerns of others. Improving those responses therefore depends on deliberate alterations of our social environment. I consider deliberative and activist alternatives and argue that an experimentalist approach better models some prominent cases of social progress, such as the extension of marital rights to same-sex couples.
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Caleb Yong, Justice in Labor Immigration Policy
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I provide an alternative to the two prevailing accounts of justice in immigration policy, the free migration view and the state discretion view. Against the background of an internationalist conception of domestic and global justice that grounds special duties of justice between co-citizens in their shared participation in a distinctive scheme of social cooperation, I defend three principles of justice to guide labor immigration policy: the Difference Principle, the Duty of Beneficence, and the Duty of Assistance. I suggest how these principles are to be applied in both ideal and nonideal circumstances. Finally, I argue that the potential conflict between these principles has often been overstated, and propose priority rules for genuine cases of conflict.
8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Colin Hickey, Travis N. Rieder, Jake Earl, Population Engineering and the Fight against Climate Change
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Contrary to political and philosophical consensus, we argue that the threats posed by climate change justify population engineering, the intentional manipulation of the size and structure of human populations. Specifically, we defend three types of policies aimed at reducing fertility rates: (1) choice enhancement, (2) preference adjustment, and (3) incentivization. While few object to the first type of policy, the latter two are generally rejected because of their potential for coercion or morally objectionable manipulation. We argue that forms of each policy type are pragmatically and morally justified (perhaps even required) tools for preventing the harms of global climate change.
9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Rebecca Kukla, Whose Job Is It to Fight Climate Change?: A Response to Hickey, Rieder, and Earl
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book reviews
10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Jason Raibley, George Sher, Equality for Inegalitarians
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