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1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Erik Malmqvist Taking Advantage of Injustice
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What, if anything, is wrong with taking advantage of people’s unjust circumstances when they both benefit from and consent to the exchange? The answer, some believe, is that such exchanges are wrongfully exploitative. I argue that this answer is incomplete at best, and I elaborate a different one: to take advantage of injustice is to become complicit in its reproduction. I also argue that the case for third-party interference with mutually beneficial and consensual exchanges, while normally considered weak, is strengthened once these exchanges are understood as implicated in broader unjust structures.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Carl Knight Benefiting from Injustice and Brute Luck
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Many political philosophers maintain that beneficiaries of injustice are under special obligations to assist victims of injustice. However, the examples favored by those who endorse this view equally support an alternative luck egalitarian view, which holds that special obligations should be assigned to those with good brute luck. From this perspective the distinguishing features of the benefiting view are (1) its silence on the question of whether to allocate special obligations to assist the brute luck worse off to those who are well off as a matter of brute luck but not as a result of injustice, and (2) its silence on the question of whether to allocate assistance to those who are badly off as a matter of brute luck but not as a result of injustice. In this new light, the benefiting view is harder to justify.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
C. M. Melenovsky The Basic Structure as a System of Social Practices
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In his own writings, Rawls purposively used only a loose characterization of the basic structure, but two prominent misinterpretations highlight the current need for a more detailed account. First, G.A. Cohen argues that the Rawlsian focus on the basic structure is arbitrary due to the Rawlsian appeal to profound effects. Second, some theorists conflate the justification of coercion with the assessment of a basic structure by defining the basic structure as the coercive structure. Both misinterpretations can be corrected by carefully specifying what social institutions are and explaining which social institutions come together to form the basic structure of society.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Steven Weimer Autonomy-Based Accounts of the Right to Secede
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Voluntarist accounts of secession are those that attempt to ground a moral right to secede in autonomy. This paper argues that no such account is likely to succeed. After describing the serious problems that plague the most straightforward Voluntarist approach, I examine two recent accounts that employ novel approaches designed to avoid those difficulties. I argue that both accounts fail, shedding considerable doubt on the possibility of a plausible autonomy-based account of the moral right to secede. I go on to discuss what this pessimistic conclusion implies for the theory and practice of secession.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Mark Tunick Privacy and Punishment
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Philosophers have focused on why privacy is of value to innocent people with nothing to hide. I argue that for people who do have something to hide, such as a past crime or bad behavior in a public place, informational privacy can be important for avoiding undeserved or disproportionate nonlegal punishment. Against the objection that one cannot expect privacy in public facts, I argue that I might have a legitimate privacy interest in public facts that are not readily accessible, or in details of a public fact that implicate my dignity, or in not having a public fact memorialized and spread to more people than I willingly exposed myself to.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Matthew Oliver Freedom on the People’s Terms: The Problem of Democratic Domination
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In On The People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy, Philip Pettit offers a conception of freedom as non-domination that is, he claims, compromised by any regime other than democracy, yet is fully compatible with coercion by a suitably democratic state. However, as I argue, Pettit has difficulty trying to deliver the latter half of this promise. This essay offers an analysis of Pettit’s definition of freedom as non-domination, specifically, his approach to invasion and controlled interference, demonstrating that it is incapable of doing the work he wants it to do. I argue that he ought to surrender not his definition, but rather the claim that a democratic government can avoid compromising the freedom of its citizens.
book reviews
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Chad Kleist Serene J. Khader, Adaptive Preferences and Women’s Empowerment
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8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Chris Armstrong Kok-Chor Tan, Justice, Institutions, and Luck: The Site, Ground, and Scope of Equality
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9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Paul Warren Jeffrey Reiman, As Free and as Just as Possible: The Theory of Marxian Liberalism
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10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
L. W. Sumner Ishani Maitra and Mary Kate McGowan (eds.), Speech and Harm: Controversies over Free Speech
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11. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
David Kaspar Richard Kraut, Against Absolute Goodness
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12. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Books Received
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13. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 4
Index to Volume 39
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14. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
C. D. Meyers Defending Moral Realism from Empirical Evidence of Disagreement
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Recently, empirically minded philosophers have employed evidence of widespread, fundamental moral disagreement to argue against moral realism. I argue that the empirical evidence does not refute realism because the disagreement is consistent with certain pluralistic versions of moral realism that posit a set of pro tanto normative principles. Others have appealed to pluralism in defense of moral realism but have used pluralism to attack the empirically based approach to ethical theory. Although I argue that the empirical argument against moral realism fails, I defend the approach and suggest better ways that (pluralist) moral realism could be tested empirically.
15. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Adam Kadlac Empiricism and Moral Status
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Many inquiries into the scope of moral value try to adopt an impersonal perspective on the world—that is, a perspective that abstracts away from the particularities of our personal experience and attempts to view the world from no place within it. In contrast to this approach, I argue that our investigation into the nature and scope of moral value should proceed from a more thoroughly personal standpoint by taking seriously our moral experience and the relational possibilities that obtain among various entities.
16. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Helena de Bres Disaggregating Global Justice
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If global distributive justice or injustice is to exist, there must be something that is just or unjust: something to which the moral assessments at issue attach. I argue in this paper against one popular candidate for that role: the “global basic structure.” I argue that principles of distributive justice that target the global basic structure fail to satisfy a crucial “action guidance” desideratum and that this problem points to an alternative target that philosophers of global justice have yet to widely acknowledge. We ought to exclusively direct our principles at subspheres of global politics: disaggregating global justice for a disaggregated world.
17. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Jeremy Neill Deliberative Institutions and Conversational Participation in Liberal Democracies
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Deliberative democracy is an account of legitimacy and participation whose purposes are to produce justifiable political outcomes and to involve the citizens in productive conversations with each other. This article argues for a greater reliance on the efforts of local conversational participants in the institutional construction process. Because of their epistemic advantages, local participants are usually the agents who are most optimally positioned to construct the deliberative institutions. As such, institutionalized deliberation ought not to be seen as an orderly event that is capable of being planned out beforehand by philosophers, but rather as a complex process that flourishes when the conversation is developing—as much as is practicable—on its own.
18. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Dwight Furrow, Mark Wheeler Blunting the Blind Impress: Autonomy, Self-Reflection, and Tracking the Truth
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Contrary to hierarchical/procedural (HP) models of autonomous action, according to which reflective self-appraisal is essential to autonomous action, we argue that autonomous action essentially involves the way agents take up and respond to the normative demands of objects of care. To be autonomous, an action must track the genuine needs of some object the agent cares about. Thus, autonomous action is essentially teleological, governed by both an agent’s concerns and the object of care. It is not dependent only on the will, understood as an internal efficient causal force, and is robustly relational in a constitutive sense.
19. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Katie Stockdale Collective Resentment
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Resentment, as it is currently understood in the philosophical literature, is individual. That is, it is anger about a moral injury done to oneself. But in some cases, resentment responds to systemic harms and injustices rather than direct moral injuries. The purpose of this paper is to move beyond individualistic conceptions of resentment to develop an account of collective resentment that better captures the character and effects of the emotion in these cases. I use the example of indigenous and settler Canadians’ reciprocal resentments in response to the Indian Residential Schools and continuing political disagreements as an example of a context in which understanding collective resentment is important.
review essay
20. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Steven Wall Self-Government, Market Democracy, and Economic Liberty
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