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101. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
About the Contributors
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symposium: can/should poverty be eradicated?
102. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Thaddeus Metz The Nature of Poverty as Inhuman: Plausible but Illiberal?
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The present symposium, which I have organized on behalf of the International Journal of Applied Philosophy, is devoted to Hennie Lötter’s Poverty, Ethics and Justice. The first three articles in the symposium attempt to show that Lotter’s view on the eradication of poverty is inherently flawed, either in light of what a liberal state conceivably could do, or what respect for democracy requires, or what the environment can sustain. In this opening article, I draw out an interesting implication of Hennie Lötter’s original and compelling conception of the nature of poverty as essentially inhuman. After motivating this view, I argue that it, like the capabilities approach and other views that invoke a conception of good and bad lives, is inconsistent with a standard understanding of a liberal account of the state’s role, one that is independently supported and even readily accepted by liberal egalitarians. I argue that one must choose between a compelling conception of an impoverished life as not good or even bad and a liberal theory of the state’s function, roughly by which conceptions of good and bad must not ground policy, where many redistributivist liberals have not recognized this inconsistency. Although there are activities similar to fighting poverty that a liberal state can undertake, I contend that it cannot, by definition, aim to eradicate poverty as such, in the way that Lötter and others plausibly conceive of it.
103. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Daryl Glaser Democratic Liberty and Poverty Eradication: Priority and Co-Originality in Hennie Lötter’s Philosophical Scheme
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This article engages with H. P. P. Lötter’s account of democracy, liberty, and poverty in this IJAP symposium devoted to his book, Poverty, Ethics, and Justice. For Lötter liberty and democracy are intrinsically part of what is meant by poverty eradication and necessary instrumentally to secure whatever else it means. Lötter insists that liberty rights and socio-economic rights are interdependent and that neither has moral priority. This account is pitched at a level of generality, and contains ambiguities, that evade certain hard but necessary questions, the main one being whether Lötter’s theory of the ‘co-originality’ of liberty and social rights is opposed to all reasonable constructions and entailments of the thesis of the priority of liberties. I suggest that he must accept a ‘weak’ priority thesis in order to insulate his overall argument from an authoritarian reading. Yet it is not clear whether Lötter’s would accept that politics enjoys a necessary centrality in adjudicating uncertainties within economic theory and policy-making, that democracy is irreducibly procedural in ways that licence particular voting and governing actions that are not necessarily pro-poor, and that political liberties plus a range of ‘negative’ civil liberties ought to be protected from trade-offs with prospective welfare and equality gains. Several aspects of Lötter’s account seem to block such moves, but I contend that the struggle against poverty and inequality is necessarily undertaken on a terrain of political and epistemic uncertainty, and that a democratic polity premised on institutionalised respect for uncertainty offers the best bet for realising welfare and social justice at an acceptable cost while respecting autonomy.
104. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Tristen Taylor Eradicating Poverty, Resource Allocation, and the Environment
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Hennie Lötter, in his book Poverty, Ethics, and Justice, contends that we have a moral obligation to eradicate global poverty, but does so under the assumption that eradicating poverty is possible under current political and economic policy. Roughly 1.8 billion people (the consuming class) currently consume the majority of the world’s economic production. About 5.2 billion poor people (the non-consuming class) would like to consume at similar levels. Is it possible for the non-consuming class to approach levels of material welfare similar to that of the consuming class? What would be the impact on the global environment if the billions of the non-consuming class started to consume at a reasonable standard? The answers to these questions are rather bleak for the cause of eradicating poverty: discussions on global poverty like Lötter’s fail to cohere with data on the environment and regarding resources constraints. Without radical transformation of current economic and political philosophy, the assumption that the eradication of poverty is possible is a false assumption.
105. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
H. P. P. Lötter Is Poverty Eradication Impossible? No, Says Dignitarianism
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In this article, I reply to three discussions of Poverty, Ethics and Justice that are published in this symposium of the Journal. In my book I argued for a moral obligation on the part of the state and an array of other agents to eradicate poverty, but critics maintain that doing so would be impossible, either because it would logically contradict the liberal ends of the state (Thaddeus Metz), or because it would undermine a robust commitment to democratic choice (Daryl Glaser), or because it would be inconsistent with the attempt to control climate change (Tristen Taylor). Here I provide a comprehensive reply to all three in light of a political philosophy of the state as fundamentally obligated to respect human dignity, where the latter is not reducible to autonomy, but is instead grounded on a much broader conception of human nature.
106. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Alex Rajczi Duties to the Global Poor and Minimalism about Global Justice
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This paper is about the implications of a common view on global justice. The view can be called the Minimalist View, and it says that we have no positive duties to help the poor in foreign countries, or that if we do, they are very minimal. It might seem as if, by definition, the Minimalist View cannot require that we do very much about global poverty. However, in his book World Poverty and Human Rights, Thomas Pogge pointed out that this conclusion is at least up for debate. Although Minimalism countenances very few positive duties to the global poor, it certainly countenances negative duties not to harm. Perhaps one can argue that these negative duties are somehow being violated, and thus even a Minimalist must make substantial compensation to the global poor. However, in this paper I argue that Pogge’s argument about Minimalism does not succeed. The second half of the paper offers ways to revise and improve the argument in order to make the case for assistance to the global poor.
107. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Amy Reed-Sandoval Oaxacan Transborder Communities and the Political Philosophy of Immigration
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In this paper I argue that members of Oaxacan Indigenous “transborder communities” of Mexico and the United States are entitled to a freedom of movement right between these two countries. First, I explore the vital role that migration across the U.S.-Mexico border plays in maintaining Oaxacan transborder societal culture. Second, I explore the implications of Will Kymlicka’s views on collective rights for this phenomenon. On the one hand, Kymlicka’s argument that just states must protect the societal cultures of minority groups within their territories would seem to support such a right for Oaxacan “transmigrants.” On the other hand, his categorical distinction between “national minorities” and “voluntary migrants” cannot, as it stands, capture the lived experiences of Oaxacan transborder communities and similar transnational groups. However, I argue that there is a reasonable extension of Kymlicka’s view that can, indeed, account for the phenomenon of Oaxacan transborder communities by allowing for this freedom of movement right.
108. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Michael Davis The Price of a Person
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While we’re inclined to think that a person is (as Kant put it) “above all price,” we in fact make a lot of decisions that seem to set a price on persons—or, at least, on their life. For example, I was recently involved with setting standards for buildings in areas susceptible to earthquakes. The consensus seemed to be $3/sq. ft. increase in construction cost was reasonable, more than that was not, even though lives could be saved if the standard were higher, assuring the survival of more buildings. Though the Ford Pinto remains the classic case of unjustifiably putting a price on persons, it is at once not such a clear case and also useful for thinking about when putting a price on life can be justified.
109. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Steven P. Lee The Ethics of Current Drone Policy
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The subject of this paper is the ethics of the use of attack drones by a state. My concern is not the moral acceptability of drones as such, but rather that of current drone policy insofar as it involves the targeted killing of individuals in the “war on terror.” I seek to clarify and extend some of the arguments offered regarding the policy. Though this will involve some appeal to just war theory, my moral argument is broader than this. I conclude that there is a reasonably strong case that current drone policy is morally unacceptable.
110. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Adrian Bunn Life Extension and Future Generations
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Future technology may dramatically extend the human lifespan. Peter Singer (1991) argues that we should reject life extension because developing it would result in a world with lower total and average happiness. Singer’s argument depends on the claim that we should maximise average happiness per moment. I will argue that developing the life-extending drug would not be impermissible because doing so will maximise average happiness per person. I offer an independent argument for why we should adopt a consequentialist principle which says to maximise average happiness per person.
111. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Raymond Hain Justice in the Public Square: Towards an Aristotelian Ethics of the Built Environment
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This paper develops some foundations for an Aristotelian ethics of the built environment by combining the formal elements of Aristotelian justice with the design theory of Christopher Alexander. The resulting ordered set of human actions and their corresponding built environments require social deliberation about the integration of activities. This deliberation is required at all levels of human action, is characterized by local and step-wise decision making, and in important ways makes it possible for us to know if and how we are harming others. On the political level this is embodied in the “public square,” whose essential purpose as integrative and moral-epistemological has deep and provocative implications for our built environment. For example, walkable human communities should be the default ethical choice for our built environment. I conclude by discussing a two-fold challenge to the New Urbanism movement for the light this sheds on the overall argument.
112. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
John Draeger Everyday Sexism: What’s the Harm in Looking?
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Men often allow their eyes to linger over the least bit of exposed cleavage or uncovered knee. This paper considers the harm done by such looks. Taken individually, male looks may not seem that bad. They need not cause direct harm and need not be done with malicious intent. Like environmental degradation, however, the accumulation of individually imperceptible harms pollutes the moral environment, especially given a long history of gender discrimination. Given the complexity of the gendered environment, I appeal to the virtue ethics tradition and suggest that men should seek to do the right thing at the right time in the right way given the setting and relationship with the particular individuals in question (e.g., friends, co-workers, lovers).
113. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Douglas Edward Barre Obesity, Metabolically Healthy or Otherwise—A Word of Caution: A Reply To Robert Scott Stewart, Ph.D., and Sue A. Korol, Ph.D, “De-Signing Fat: Re-Constructing the Global Obesity Epidemic”
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Stewart and Korol (“De-Signing Fat,” International Journal of Applied Philosophy 23.2 [2009]) contend that obesity is benign. In support of their position they have focussed on selected papers that do not take into consideration key realities. Their attempt to minimise the impact of obesity appears to centre on how difficult it can be to lose weight by diet alone (and its risks) and problems with measurements of obesity, while failing to acknowledge the specific and well-documented impact of deleterious biochemical alterations arising from central obesity. Stewart and Korol also do not point out the considerable controversy with the fat but fit (metabolically healthy obesity [MHO]) concept. Whether looping from above or below, nothing changes the biochemical realities of central obesity. Above all, Stewart and Korol never once mention the benefits of obesity prevention, rather focussing on the difficulties of losing weight. Thus, respectfully, a word of caution is put forward on the views of Stewart and Korol regarding obesity.
114. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
About the Contributors
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115. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Todd Burkhardt Justified Drone Strikes are Predicated on R2P Norms
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The US has conducted or routinely conducts personality and signature drone strikes into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and most likely other states as well. The US does this in order to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat terrorist organizations (Al Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani, al-Shabaab, ISIL, and their affiliates). In some of these attacks, states have given their expressed (e.g., Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen) or tacit (e.g., Pakistan) consent to the US to conduct these drone strikes. However, some states do not consent to the US conducting kinetic drone strikes within their territory. In these cases, it seems prima facie reasonable to suggest that these acts or use of force are unjustified because they violate the political sovereignty and territorial integrity of a non-consenting state. Furthermore, the US is not at war with these other states so there is no leeway in suggesting that a state has a right to conduct these operations against another state. As it currently stands, attempting to use jus ad bellum (justice of war) criteria to discern a state’s moral justification for implementing force short of war (drone strikes) is not only unhelpful but fails to provide a reasonable framework. The use of armed drones is a recent phenomena that will continue to evolve, and with this comes a need for establishing a set of moral guidelines on a state’s implementation of them. In an attempt to remedy this shortcoming, we need to look at drone strikes not as an act of war but as an act or force short of war. I want to make the case that drone strikes can be morally justified using the Responsibility to Protect norms. That is, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norms should be the guiding norms with regard to jus ad vim (the just use of force short of war). Incorporating the R2P norms into a jus ad vim account provides a framework of when states can morally resort to the use of force.
116. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Ross W. Bellaby The Ethics of Torture-Lite: A Justifiable Middle-Ground?
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Torture-lite has been advanced as a new form of interrogation that raises the prospect of offering a more ethical way of colleting the intelligence needed to protect the state. However, this paper will argue that there can be no such thing as torture-lite as this misunderstands what interrogational torture is in the first place. Interrogational torture is a form of behavioural modification that relies on breaking the individual and conditioning their responses. Torture-lite would never be able to create the self-betraying effect necessary for cases such as the ticking time bomb scenario without crossing over into the higher harms caused by full torture, and is unable to force the individual to provide the required information to serve as the good in the consequentialist argument.
117. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Jane Duran The Problem of Polygamy: Moral Constraints and Attitudes
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The status of polygamy as a cultural artifact is investigated across a number of societies, and it is concluded that polygamy is extremely violative of the rights of a number of individuals in the societies in which it occurs, and not simply women. Extensive citation is made to the work of Elissa Wall on American polygamous groups in the Southwest.
118. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
William Ferraiolo God or Atoms: Stoic Counsel With or Without Zeus
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In this paper, I make the case that metaphysical doctrines about the nature and existence of God, and a rationally governed cosmos, are rather cleanly separable from Stoic practical counsel, and its conductivity to a well-lived, eudaimonistic life. Stoicism may have developed within a worldview infused with presuppositions of a divinely-ordered universe, and, indeed, there may be a Creator or Designer of some type (I take no position, in this paper, regarding the existence of God), but the efficacy of Stoic counsel is not dependent upon creation, design, or any form of intelligent cosmological guidance. The Stoic practitioner does not require a divine stamp of approval to legitimize his pursuit of equanimity, excellence, and wise self-governance.
119. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Ari Santas Diagonalized Asymmetry: Myofascial Pain and Social Dysfunction
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Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MFPS) is somatic pain due to muscular tension associated with muscular-skeletal imbalance. The pain and discomfort of the patient is not simply due to some isolated tension, but in the dynamic relationships between related structures. As the body adjusts to reestablish balance and symmetry, the tension and pain in one area “diagonalizes,” creating a tense correlate along a diagonal axis. This diagonalization of tension exacerbates and perpetuates the initial condition of pain and dysfunction. The purpose of this paper is to argue that there are moral and social analogues to MFPS with their own forms of diagonalized asymmetry. Following the Aristotelian model of virtue and vice, whereby moral traits and dispositions become vice as a result of a loss of balance in conduct, and George Herbert Mead’s social psychology, which describes the self in terms of dynamic interrelation and co-operation of multiple sub-selves, I maintain that otherwise positive strengths in personal character, when overemphasized or exaggerated, can be juxtaposed to analogous weaknesses in related areas of personal health and conduct. I will argue that the descriptive analogy of MFPS has a corollary set of prescriptions for restoring balance in a moral subject.
120. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
James A. Rice Hong Kong’s Migrant Workers and Their Impact on the Rule of Law Narrative
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Hong Kong’s adherence to the rule of law has been widely understood as one of its “core values.” As such, it has been understood as an institution necessary for good governance and a check against the abuse of governmental power as well as a feature that differentiates Hong Kong’s system of governance from other parts of China. At the same time, intervening issues of immigration and of constitutional interpretation have begun to challenge this perception. This paper argues that a recent landmark decision involving the right to permanent residence has served to weaken the rule of law in Hong Kong. It has further highlighted a lack of commitment by the judiciary to either human rights claims or equal treatment under the law.