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Displaying: 1-10 of 1322 documents

1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Lee-Ann Chae, Pacific Resistance: A Moral Alternative to Defensive War
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It is widely believed that some wars are just, and that the paradigm case of a just war is a defensive war. A familiar strategy used to justify defensive war is to infer its permissibility from the case of self-defensive killing. I show, however, that the permission to defend oneself does not justify killing, but instead calls for nonviolent resistance. I conclude that on the account of self-defense I develop, the appropriate way to respond to a war of aggression is not by prosecuting a defensive war, but by engaging in a form of nonviolence I call pacific resistance.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Alex Davies, A Liberal Anti-Porn Feminism?
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In the 1980s and 1990s, attempts were made to create U.S. legislation that would make it possible to sue the makers and distributors of pornography for doing so. One defence of such legislation was and is the free speech argument against pornography. Philosophers Rae Langton, Jennifer Hornsby, and Caroline West have supposed that this argument can function as a liberal defence of the legislation: in particular, a defence based on the value of women’s liberty. I argue that the free speech argument cannot be so used. The legislation is, to some extent, self-defeating insofar as it is understood in terms acceptable to a fairly standard kind of liberal. This becomes apparent when we consider the value pornography can have for women, which we can see if we consider what female makers, distributors, and consumers of pornography have to say about why they make, distribute, and consume it.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Dan Demetriou, Bob Fischer, Dignitarian Hunting: A Rights-based Defense
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Faced with the choice between supporting industrial plant agriculture and hunting, Tom Regan’s rights view can be plausibly developed in a way that permits a form of hunting we call “dignitarian.” To motivate this claim, we begin by showing how the empirical literature on animal deaths in plant agriculture suggests that a non-trivial amount of hunting would not add to animal harm. We discuss how Tom Regan’s miniride principle appears to morally permit hunting in that case, and we address recent objections by Jason Hanna to environmentally-based culling that may be seen to speak against this conclusion. We then turn to dignity, which is especially salient in scenarios where harm is necessary or justifiable. We situate “dignitarian” hunting within a larger framework of adversarial ethics, and argue that dignitarian hunting gives animals a more dignified death than the alternatives endemic to large-scale plant agriculture, and so is permissible based on the kinds of principles that Regan endorses. Indeed, dignitarian hunting may actually fit better with Regan’s widely endorsed animal rights framework than the practice of many vegans, and should only be rejected if we’re just as willing to condemn supporting conventional plant agriculture.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Rainer Ebert, Mental-Threshold Egalitarianism: How Not to Ground Full Moral Status
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Mental-threshold egalitarianism, well-known examples of which include Jeff McMahan’s two-tiered account of the wrongness of killing and Tom Regan’s theory of animal rights, divides morally considerable beings into equals and unequals on the basis of their individual mental capacities. In this paper, I argue that the line that separates equals from unequals is unavoidably arbitrary and implausibly associates an insignificant difference in empirical reality with a momentous difference in moral status. In response to these objections, McMahan has proposed the introduction of an intermediate moral status. I argue that this move ultimately fails to address the problem. I conclude that, if we are not prepared to give up moral equality, our full and equal moral status must be grounded in a binary property that is not a threshold property. I tentatively suggest that the capacity for phenomenal consciousness is such a property, and a plausible candidate.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Rachel Fredericks, When Wanting the Best Is Bad
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Here I call attention to a class of desires that I call exclusionary desires. To have an exclusionary desire is to desire something under a description such that, were the desire satisfied, it would be logically impossible for people other than the desiring subject to possess the desired object. Assuming that we are morally responsible for our desires insofar as and because they reflect our evaluative judgments and are in principle subject to rational revision, I argue that we should, morally speaking, alter both social structures and our individual psychologies to minimize, or at least substantially reduce, exclusionary desires.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Vida Panitch, L. Chad Horne, Commodification, Inequality, and Kidney Markets
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People tend to be repulsed by the idea of cash markets in kidneys, but support the trading of kidneys through paired exchanges or chains. We reject anti-commodification accounts of this reaction and offer an egalitarian one. We argue that the morally significant difference between cash markets and kidney chains is that the former allow the wealthy greater access to kidneys, while the latter do not. The only problem with kidney chains is that they do not go far enough in addressing equality concerns, and we show how the introduction of cash payments by the state could remedy this.
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Index to Volume 43
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8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Michael Davis, Locke, Simmons, and Consent: A Lawyerly Approach
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This paper is primarily a response to John Simmons’s critique of Locke’s consent theory of political obligation (Two Treatises). It seeks to apply ordinary legal reasoning to what Locke actually says about “express consent” and “tacit consent.” The result is a theory both different from the theory commonly attributed to Locke and more plausible. Among the differences is that express consent (“entering political society”) is understood to arise chiefly from seeking to vote (rather than by oath or voting) and tacit consent is understood as a reasonable (but rebuttable) presumption of actual consent. In the course of presenting Simmons’s critique, the paper identifies four commonly accepted criteria of adequacy for theories of moral obligation to obey law or government, noting that Locke’s theory, under its lawyerly interpretation, fails to satisfy any of the four criteria but seems reasonably plausible (for example, in its ability to deal with Simmons’s critique). This is taken to be reason to weaken all four criteria.
9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Seth Mayer, Resolving the Dilemma of Democratic Informal Politics
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The way citizens regard and treat one another in everyday life, even when they are not engaged in straightforwardly “political” activities, matters for achieving democratic ideals. This claim provokes an underexamined unease in many. Here I articulate these concerns, which I argue are prompted by the approaches most often associated with these issues. Such theories, like democratic communitarianism, require problematic sorts of unity in everyday social life. To avoid these difficulties, I offer an alternative, called procedural democratic informal politics, which allows democrats to evaluate everyday life without demanding questionable forms of unity within it.
10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Isaac Taylor, Just War Theory and the Military Response to Terrorism
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This paper considers whether just war theory needs to be modified to assess the use of military force against terrorist groups. It rejects two existing arguments for doing this (“the contractualist justification” and “the policing model”), and outlines and defends a third (“the consequentialist justification”). Just war theory, it is claimed, is partially designed to bring about certain desirable consequences, and when empirical circumstances change in ways that mean following its principles is less likely to result in those consequences—as when terrorist groups are involved in conflicts—they need to be adjusted.