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1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Michael Cholbi The Moral Conversion of Rational Egoists
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One principal challenge to the rationalist thesis that the demands of morality are requirements of rationality has been that posed by the "rational egoist." In attempting to answer's the egoist's challenge, some rationalists have supposed that an adequate reply must take the form of a deductive argument that "converts" the egoist by showing that her position is contradictory, arbitrary, or violates some precept that defines practical rationality as such. Here I argue (a) that such rationalist replies will fail to persuade the egoist to adopt a recognizably moral way of life; (b) that this failure can be traced to epistemic assumptions that underlie typical rationalist replies; (c) that egoist conversion can better be understood by rejecting these assumptions and seeing egoist conversion as akin to a paradigm shift in the sciences; and (d) that conceptualizing egoist conversion as a paradigm shift accords with empirical psychological evidence regarding the acquisition and modification of individuals' moral attitudes and beliefs.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Whitley Kaufman Understanding Honor: Beyond the Shame/Guilt Dichotomy
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The concept of honor continues to be among the most widely misunderstood of human ideals. It has long been claimed that honor is an essentially external ideal, motivated by shame at one's appearance before others rather than an inward sense of guilt, the implication being that honor is a superficial moral ideal and one superseded by the higher ideal of the moral conscience. This account does not, however, stand up to scrutiny; honor is a genuinely "internal" value as much as virtue, and when properly understood cannot be understood as somehow more superficial or less morally advanced than the modern ideal of virtue.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Linda Radzik On Minding Your Own Business: Differentiating Accountability Relations within the Moral Community
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When is one person entitled to sanction another for moral wrongdoing? When, instead, must one mind one's own business? Stephen Darwall argues that the legitimacy of social sanctioning is essential to the very concept of moral obligation. But, I will argue, Darwall's "second person" theory of accountability unfortunately implies that every person is entitled to sanction every wrongdoer for every misdeed. In this essay, I defend a set of principles for differentiating those who have the standing to sanction from those who do not.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Theresa Weynand Tobin The Relevance of Trust for Moral Justification
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In this paper, I argue that relationships of trust are often necessary for moral justification. Even if a moral claim is likely to be true, it may not be adequately justified, and thus may not have normative force, unless those who are to accept the claim have good reason to believe that the one entering the claim is a trustworthy moral interlocutor. The complexity of moral knowledge coupled with differences among people in moral experience, capacities for moral perception, and reasoning abilities creates relations of epistemic dependence that make trust necessary in order to achieve adequate moral justification.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Shmuel Nili Our Problem of Global Justice
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Global justice seems to be all about "us" treating "them," especially "their" problem of extreme poverty. This article argues that there is such a thing as our problem of global justice, and that it must be both temporally and logically prior to the problem of global justice. In order to establish this thesis, I seek to corroborate three main claims: that our elected governments are actively complicit in dictators' de facto armed robbery of their population's resources; that each democracy as a unitary agent has a duty, which holds independently of poverty questions, to stop profiting from this robbery by boycotting severely oppressive regimes; and that such "democratic disengagement" requires postponing an ideal theory of global justice to a later stage, since the implications of disengagement will be so unprecedented that philosophizing past them means jumping ahead of our time.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
William R. Lund Reconsidering “Supreme Emergencies”: Michael Walzer and His Critics
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Michael Walzer has argued that nations fighting a just war may be permitted indiscriminate attacks on enemy noncombatants if they are genuinely necessary to avoid an imminent and morally disastrous defeat. Critics often challenge this "supreme emergency" exemption from just war principles by arguing that it is inconsistent with his critiques of utilitarianism, realism, and sub-state terrorism. While morally troubling, I argue that Walzer's doctrine is both tightly cabined and consistent with his meta-ethical pluralism, his emphasis on the value of political community, and his doubts about abstract philosophy's ability to answer pressing political questions.
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Rekha Nath Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: A Critique of Virginia Held’s Deontological Justification of Terrorism
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Virginia Held argues that terrorism can be justified in some instances. But unlike standard, consequentialist justifications, hers is deontological. This paper critically examines her argument. It explores how the values of fairness, responsibility, and desert can serve to justify acts of terrorism. In doing so, two interpretations of her account are considered: a responsibility-insensitive and a responsibility-sensitive interpretation. On the first, her argument collapses into a consequentialist justification. On the second, it relies on an implausible conception of responsibility. Either way, her argument fails as a distinctly deontological defense of terrorism.
book reviews
8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Marguerite La Caze Dancing with Iris: The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young
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9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Susan Dieleman Feminist Interpretations of Richard Rorty
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10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Eric M. Cave Untying the Knot: Marriage, the State, and the Case for Their Divorce
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11. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Books Received
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12. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 4
Index to Volume 37
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13. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 3
Christian F. Rostbøll Kantian Autonomy and Political Liberalism
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Political liberals argue that the classical conception of autonomy must be discarded because it is sectarian and metaphysical. This article rejects that a commitment to autonomy necessarily leads to sectarianism and questions the notion that respect for persons is separable from the commitment to autonomy. It defends a Kantian approach to autonomy, as belonging to the standpoint of practical reason, and argues that in this approach autonomy is a norm regulating how we should treat each other as opposed to a good to be promoted. This approach also avoids the metaphysical idea of autonomy as self-origination of binding principles.
14. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 3
Christian Schemmel Why Relational Egalitarians Should Care About Distributions
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Relational views of equality put forward a social and political ideal of equality that aims at being a better interpretation of what social justice requires than the prevailing distributive conceptions of equality, especially luck egalitarian views. Yet it is unclear what social justice as relational equality demands in distributive terms; Elizabeth Anderson's view seems to vacate a large part of the terrain of distributive justice in favor of a minimalist, sufficiency view. Against that, this paper argues that relational equality, properly understood, requires setting stringent limits to distributive inequality, for both intrinsic and instrumental reasons. First, the relational egalitarian conception of society as a cooperative enterprise among equals gives rise to a presumption of equality in socially produced goods (and bads); inequalities in these goods have to be justified by justice-relevant reasons. Second, relational egalitarianism also delivers instrumental reasons to limit inequalities in income, wealth, and opportunities, because such inequalities may generate both opportunities for domination and inegalitarian status norms that threaten the social bases of self-respect of the worse off.
15. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 3
Sarah Clark Miller A Feminist Account of Global Responsibility
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Contemporary philosophical discourse on global responsibility has sustained a nearly unwavering focus on justice. In response, I investigate an underrepresented element in global justice discussions: insights from feminist philosophy, and more specifically, from the ethics of care. I assess current theories of cosmopolitanism, criticizing the shortcomings of cosmopolitan justice from the perspective of cosmopolitan care. Through the concepts of dependence, vulnerability, and need, I develop a feminist global obligation--the global duty to care--and explore the distinctive vision it offers as the ground and content of a feminist theory of global responsibility.
16. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 3
Michael Neu Why There is No Such Thing as Just War Pacifism and Why Just War Theorists and Pacifists Can Talk Nonetheless
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Can just war theory and pacifism be substantially reconciled in theory and practice? In this paper I argue that James Sterba is mistaken in thinking that they can. There is no such thing as just war pacifism. However, this does not mean that just war theorists and pacifists cannot have a reasonable conversation about the justifiability of war. They can have such a conversation if they overcome their exclusive concern with the question of action-guidingness, that is, the binary question of whether or not war can be morally justified. Justified wars are tragic.
17. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 3
Jason Hanna Paternalism and Impairment
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Most opponents of paternalism agree that autonomy does not protect substantially impaired choices. Yet this common anti-paternalist view faces serious problems. First, I argue that it threatens to justify nearly all beneficial intervention, since all imprudent choices are impaired. Attempts to avoid this problem yield other implications that anti-paternalists would reject. Second, I argue that anti-paternalists have no convincing way of showing that impaired choices, such as those produced by emotional distress, are not protected by autonomy. In light of these problems, we should likely accept a hard paternalist view--one that permits intervention simply in virtue of the consequences.
18. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 3
Joshua D. Goldstein New Natural Law Theory and the Grounds of Marriage: Friendship and Self-Constitution
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New natural lawyers--notably Grisez, Finnis, and George--have written much on civil marriage's moral boundaries and grounds, but with slight influence. The peripheral place of the new natural law theory (NNLT) results from the marital grounds they suggest and the exclusionary moral conclusions they draw from them. However, I argue a more authentic and attractive NNLT account of marriage is recoverable through overlooked resources within the theory itself: friendship and moral self-constitution. This reconstructed account allows us to identify the relation between marriage and human flourishing and the morality of same-sex marriage without making marriage infinitely plastic.
19. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 3
Anca Gheaus Arguments for Nonparental Care for Children
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I review three existing arguments in favor of having some childcare done by nonparents and then I advance five arguments, most of them original, to the same conclusion. My arguments rely on the assumption that, no matter who provides it, childcare will inevitably go wrong at times. I discuss the importance of mitigating bad care, of teaching children how to enter caring relationships with people who are initially strangers to them, of addressing children's structural vulnerability to their caregivers, of helping children and parents contain the ambivalent feelings of the child-parent relationship, and of distributing the responsibility of care and the ensuing blame for bad care more widely. I conclude that nonparental childcare should be universal.
book reviews
20. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 37 > Issue: 3
Mark Tunick Privacy Rights: Moral and Legal Foundations
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