About this topic
Summary A exploits B when A takes advantage of B in a certain kind of way. Usually, exploitation is held to involve taking unfair advantage. But this raises numerous questions about how, precisely, unfairness should be understood, and about what sort of moral implications a finding of unfairness generates. What procedures or substantive outcomes render a transaction between A and B unfair? Can an interaction between A and B be exploitative because of the unjust ways in which C has treated B, or are such third-party actions irrelevant? Does exploitation violate rights? Should it be legally prohibited? Are activities like organ sales, sweatshop labor, price gouging, and payday loans exploitative? And if so, what follows?
Key works Prior to the late 1980s, most philosophical work on exploitation focused on Karl Marx's influential theory of the exploitation of workers under capitalism - see, e.g., Cohen 1979, Arneson 1981, Roemer 1985. In the mid-1990s, Alan Wertheimer's important book, Exploitation, helped to bring interest and attention to the concept as a important moral concept not necessarily tied to Marx's particular framework. Rival theoretical accounts have been proposed by Wood 1995, Sample 2003 and Steiner 1984. Much of the literature on exploitation has developed in the context of the analysis of particular moral problems, such as sweatshops, a basic income, and clinical research on vulnerable populations.
Introductions Alan Wertheimer's entry on exploitation at the Stanford Encyclopedia provides a helpful overview of the topic. His 1996 book, and Ruth Sample's later book, also provide good, highly readable introductions.
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  1. Future-Crafting.Alexandra Fall - manuscript
    This thesis is organized into two parts. In the first, I focus on concepts, ones which include a series of critiques on past human behaviors and mindsets. I trace how rationalist ideologies and worldviews developed into conformist schematics, and how these schematics have been implemented via central state authority. I also examine the results of this process, focusing on dehumanization, silencing, and objectification. Informed by Scott, I describe legibility construction. In the process of making people and places legible to central (...)
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  2. Nationalism with Chinese Characteristics: Infliction of Condescension.Yang Immanuel Pachankis - manuscript
    The letter analyzes the country-specific structural stigma in the modern media development of People’s Republic of China. It raises the issues on unconventional cybersecurity risks in mental & psychological health with a lens of justice in gender & marriage, and critical discourses in the media environment with the Chinese revisionist nationalism. It studied media coercion in relation to the breaches of humanitarian law in the constitutionalism context of PRC, and adopted a critical theory approach to religion with the background of (...)
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  3. Self-liquidating wages.Hans Apel - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
  4. Max Wertheimer's contribution to modern psychology.Solomon E. Asch - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  5. Exchange stability and unproductive foreign credits.Johann Baracs - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  6. " On the Parasitic Character of Wage Labor and Post-Fordist Semblance.Paolo Cirno & Max Henninger - forthcoming - Substance.
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  7. Human Dignity and Social Justice.Pablo Gilabert - forthcoming - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Human dignity: social movements invoke it, several national constitutions enshrine it, and it features prominently in international human rights documents. But what is it, why is it important, and what is its relationship to human rights and social justice? Pablo Gilabert offers a systematic defence of the view that human dignity is the moral heart of justice. In Human Dignity and Human Rights (OUP 2019), he advanced an account of human dignity for the context of human rights discourse, which covers (...)
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  8. Poll Workers and Polling Places.Thad E. Hall - forthcoming - Laguna.
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  9. A Spleen for Sale.Angela R. Holder - forthcoming - IRB: Ethics & Human Research.
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  10. Max Wertheimer 1880-1943.Alvin Johnson - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  11. Max Wertheimer, 1880-1943.Horace M. Kallen - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  12. Du concept d'exploitation.Pierre Kende - forthcoming - Les Etudes Philosophiques.
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  13. Wage and Wage Policy in Korea.Yu-Sun Kim - forthcoming - Humanitas.
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  14. Which Side are You On? The Class Consciousness of Punk.Tiffany Elise Montoya - forthcoming - Chicago: Carus Publishing.
  15. Exploitation, Trade Justice, and Corporate Obligations.Brian Berkey - 2022 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 9 (1):11-29.
    In On Trade Justice, Risse and Wollner defend an account of trade justice on which the central requirement, applying to both states and firms, is a requirement of non-exploitation. On their view, trade exploitation consists in ‘power-induced failure of reciprocity’, which generates an unfair distribution of the benefits and burdens associated with trade relationships. In this paper, I argue that while there are many appealing features of Risse and Wollner’s account, their discussion does not articulate and develop the unified picture (...)
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  16. Should Republicans be Interested in Exploitation?Alexander Bryan & Ioannis Kouris - 2022 - Res Publica 28 (3):513-530.
    Recent work in republican political theory has identified various forms of domination in the structures and relations of capitalist societies. A notable absence in much of this work is the concept of exploitation, which is generally treated as a predictable outcome of certain kinds of domination. This paper argues that the concept of exploitation can instead be conceived as a form of structural domination, understood in republican terms, and that adopting this conception has important implications for republican attempts to theorize (...)
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  17. Online Misinformation and “Phantom Patterns”: Epistemic Exploitation in the Era of Big Data.Megan Fritts & Frank Cabrera - 2022 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (1):57-87.
    In this paper, we examine how the availability of massive quantities of data i.e., the “Big Data” phenomenon, contributes to the creation, spread, and harms of online misinformation. Specifically, we argue that a factor in the problem of online misinformation is the evolved human instinct to recognize patterns. While the pattern-recognition instinct is a crucial evolutionary adaptation, we argue that in the age of Big Data, these capacities have, unfortunately, rendered us vulnerable. Given the ways in which online media outlets (...)
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  18. Bentham’s Mugging.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2022 - Utilitas 34 (4):386-391.
  19. The Cultural Revisionist Element behind P. R. China’s Neo-Nazism: A Cross-cultural and Cross-religion Research.Yang Immanuel Pachankis - 2022 - International Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Research and Studies 2 (4):435-451.
    Modern and contemporary politics of P. R. China contain many elements similar to neo-Nazism if not anti-communist. The derivation from Communist doctrines was a less-known debate inside the CPC party leadership soon after the declaration on the founding of People’s Republic of China - notably between Mao, Zedong and the state leadership which resulted in the criminalization of the first president Liu, Shaoqi. The researcher, as a self-identified cisgender homosexual male and Christian, observed the cultural revisionist developments of the P. (...)
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  20. Exploitation.Matt Zwolinski, Benjamin Ferguson & Alan Wertheimer - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  21. Sweatshops, Structural Injustice, and the Wrong of Exploitation: Why Multinational Corporations Have Positive Duties to the Global Poor.Brian Berkey - 2021 - Journal of Business Ethics 169 (1):43-56.
    It is widely thought that firms that employ workers in “sweatshop” conditions wrongfully exploit those workers. This claim has been challenged by those who argue that because companies are not obligated to hire their workers in the first place, employing them cannot be wrong so long as they voluntarily accept their jobs and genuinely benefit from them. In this article, I argue that we can maintain that at least many sweatshop employees are wrongfully exploited, while accepting the plausible claim at (...)
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  22. The Crisis of the Humanities and the Viability of Direct Action.Nathan Eckstrand - 2021 - Radical Philosophy Review 24 (2):135-167.
    Humanities advocates focus on demonstrating the humanities’ value to encourage participation. This advocacy is largely done through institutional means, and rarely taken directly to the public. This article argues that by reframing the theory of Direct Action, humanities advocates can effectively engage the public. The article begins by exploring three different understandings of the humanities: that they develop good citizenship, that they develop understanding, and that they develop critical thought. The article then discusses what Direct Action is and how it (...)
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  23. Republicanism and domination by capital.Mark Losoncz & Szilárd János Tóth - 2021 - In Vesna Stanković Pejnović (ed.), Beyond Neoliberalism and Capitalism. Belgrád, Szerbia: pp. 141-156..
    This article is a review of the contemporary ‘leftist’ republican project. The project stands on two legs, and we examine them both in turn. The first leg is a novel reading of history. This reading suggests, on the one hand that, contrary to some popular assumptions, republicanism does have a leftist, even a radical stream. But on the other hand, it also suggests that several authors and movements that did not self-identify as republicans actually did, in fact, employ a characteristically (...)
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  24. Why online personalized pricing is unfair.Jeffrey Moriarty - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):495-503.
    Online retailers are using advances in data collection and computing technologies to “personalize” prices, i.e., offer goods for sale to shoppers at their reservation prices, or the highest price they are willing to pay. In this paper, I offer a criticism of this practice. I begin by putting online personalized pricing in context. It is not something entirely new, but rather a kind of price discrimination, a familiar pricing practice. I then offer a fairness-based argument against it. When an online (...)
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  25. Exploitation and Effective Altruism.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (4):409-423.
    How could it be wrong to exploit—say, by paying sweatshop wages—if the exploited party benefits? How could it be wrong to do something gratuitously bad—like giving to a wasteful charity—if that is better than permissibly doing nothing? Joe Horton argues that these puzzles, known as the Exploitation Problem and All or Nothing Problem, have no unified answer. I propose one and pose a challenge for Horton’s take on the Exploitation Problem.
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  26. Ethical considerations of offering benefits to COVID-19 vaccine recipients.Govind Persad & Ezekiel J. Emanuel - 2021 - JAMA 326 (3):221-222.
    We argue that the ethical case for instituting vaccine benefit programs is justified by 2 widely recognized values: (1) reducing overall harm from COVID-19 and (2) protecting disadvantaged individuals. We then explain why they do not coerce, exploit, wrongfully distort decision-making, corrupt vaccination's moral significance, wrong those who have already been vaccinated, or destroy willingness to become vaccinated. However, their cost impacts and their effects on public perception of vaccines should be evaluated.
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  27. The Memory-Modifying Potential of Optogenetics and the Need for Neuroethics.Agnieszka K. Adamczyk & Przemysław Zawadzki - 2020 - NanoEthics 14 (3):207-225.
    Optogenetics is an invasive neuromodulation technology involving the use of light to control the activity of individual neurons. Even though optogenetics is a relatively new neuromodulation tool whose various implications have not yet been scrutinized, it has already been approved for its first clinical trials in humans. As optogenetics is being intensively investigated in animal models with the aim of developing novel brain stimulation treatments for various neurological and psychiatric disorders, it appears crucial to consider both the opportunities and dangers (...)
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  28. The Value of Fairness and the Wrong of Wage Exploitation.Brian Berkey - 2020 - Business Ethics Quarterly 30 (3):414-429.
    In a recent article in this journal, David Faraci argues that the value of fairness can plausibly be appealed to in order to vindicate the view that consensual, mutually beneficial employment relationships can be wrongfully exploitative, even if employers have no obligation to hire or otherwise benefit those who are badly off enough to be vulnerable to wage exploitation. In this commentary, I argue that several values provide potentially strong grounds for thinking that it is at least sometimes better, morally (...)
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  29. Global Justice, Markets and Domination: A Cosmopolitan Theory.Fausto Corvino - 2020 - Cheltenham, UK – Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.
    This thought-provoking book analyses the process of labour commodification, through which the individual’s ability to earn a basic living becomes dependent on the conditions of the market relationship. Building on the premise that the separation of a group of individuals from the means of production is an intrinsic element of capitalism, Fausto Corvino theorises that this implies a form of domination in a neo-republican sense. -/- Proposing an original theory of global justice denoted as a minimum de-commodification of labour power, (...)
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  30. Sweatshops, Harm and Exploitation: A Proposal to Operationalise the Model of Structural Injustice.Fausto Corvino - 2020 - Conatus 5 (2):9-23.
    In this article, I firstly discuss the person-affecting view of harm, distinguishing between the liability and the structural models of responsibility, and also explaining why it is unsatisfactory, from a moral point of view, to interpret a given harm as a loss with respect to a diachronic baseline. Then, I take sweatshops as an example and I entertain two further issues that are related to the assessment of harm and that are necessary for operationalising a comprehensive model of responsibility, that (...)
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  31. A Ghost Workers' Bill of Rights: How to Establish a Fair and Safe Gig Work Platform.Julian Friedland, David Balkin & Ramiro Montealegre - 2020 - California Management Review 62 (2).
    Many of us assume that all the free editing and sorting of online content we ordinarily rely on is carried out by AI algorithms — not human persons. Yet in fact, that is often not the case. This is because human workers remain cheaper, quicker, and more reliable than AI for performing myriad tasks where the right answer turns on ineffable contextual criteria too subtle for algorithms to yet decode. The output of this work is then used for machine learning (...)
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  32. Markets, Morals, and Virtues: Evidential and Conceptual Issues.Roberto Fumagalli - 2020 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 13 (1).
  33. The market, competition, and structural exploitation.Hannes Kuch - 2020 - Constellations 27 (1):95-110.
  34. Cultural Gaslighting.Elena Ruíz - 2020 - Hypatia 35 (4):687-713.
    This essay frames systemic patterns of mental abuse against women of color and Indigenous women on Turtle Island (North America) in terms of larger design-of-distribution strategies in settler colonial societies, as these societies use various forms of social power to distribute, reproduce, and automate social inequalities (including public health precarities and mortality disadvantages) that skew socio-economic gain continuously toward white settler populations and their descendants. It departs from traditional studies in gender-based violence research that frame mental abuses such as gaslighting--commonly (...)
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  35. Resource Rights: Expanding the Scope of Liberal Theories.Kim Angell - 2019 - Journal of Social Philosophy 50 (3):322-340.
  36. Exploitation, Solidarity, and Dignity.Pablo Gilabert - 2019 - Journal of Social Philosophy 50 (4):465-494.
    This paper offers a normative exploration of what exploitation is and of what is wrong with it. The focus is on the critical assessment of the exploitation of workers in capitalist societies. Such exploitation is wrongful when it involves a contra-solidaristic use of power to benefit oneself at the expense of others. Wrongful exploitation consists in using your greater power, and sometimes even in making other less powerful than you, in order to get them to benefit you more than they (...)
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  37. Exploitation and Joint Action.Erik Malmqvist & András Szigeti - 2019 - Journal of Social Philosophy 50 (3):280-300.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  38. Cultural appropriation and oppression.Erich Matthes - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1003-1013.
    In this paper, I present an outline of the oppression account of cultural appropriation and argue that it offers the best explanation for the wrongfulness of the varied and complex cases of appropriation to which people often object. I then compare the oppression account with the intimacy account defended by C. Thi Nguyen and Matt Strohl. Though I believe that Nguyen and Strohl’s account offers important insight into an essential dimension of the cultural appropriation debate, I argue that justified objections (...)
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  39. Emotional labour: a case of gender-specific exploitation.Mirjam Müller - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 22 (7):841-862.
  40. The Ideological Matrix of Science: Natural Selection and Immunity as Case Studies.Agustin Ostachuk - 2019 - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 15 (1):182-213.
    The modern concept of ideology was established by the liberal politician and philosopher Destutt de Tracy, with the objective of creating an all-embracing and general science of ideas, which followed the sensualist and empiricist trend initiated by Locke that culminated in the positivism of Comte. Natural selection and immunity are two key concepts in the history of biology that were strongly based on the Malthusian concept of struggle for existence. This concept wrongly assumed that population grew faster than the means (...)
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  41. Suicide by Democracy: An Obituary for America and the World 2nd Edition.Michael Starks - 2019 - Las Vegas, USA: Reality Press.
    Among the millions of pages of print and web pages and incessant chat and chatter on TV and blogs and speeches, there is a notable absence of a short clear honest, accurate, sane, intelligent summary of the catastrophe that is destroying America and the world. This is partly due to a lack of understanding and partly to the suppression of free speech by the leftist/liberal/progressive/democratic/socialist/multicultural/diverse/social democratic/communist/third world supremacist coalition. I attempt to fill that gap here. -/- An integral part of (...)
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  42. خودکشی توسط دموکراسی یک موانع برای آمریکا و جهان.Michael Richard Starks - 2019 - Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press.
    امریکا و جهان در روند فروپاشی از رشد جمعیت بیش از حد هستند, بیشتر از آن برای قرن گذشته, و در حال حاضر همه از آن, با توجه به مردم جهان 3. مصرف منابع و علاوه بر این از 3 میلیارد بیشتر ca. ۲۱۰۰ تمدن صنعتی را سقوط خواهد کرد و در مورد گرسنگی ، بیماری ، خشونت و جنگ در مقیاس سرسام آور را به ارمغان بیاورد. زمین از دست می دهد حداقل 1 درصد از خاک خود را در (...)
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  43. "How America Disguises its Violence: Colonialism, Mass Incarceration, and the Need for Resistant Imagination".Shari Stone-Mediatore - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 2019 (5):1-20.
    This paper examines how a delusive social imaginary of criminal-justice has underpinned contemporary U.S. mass incarceration and encouraged widespread indifference to its violence. I trace the complicity of this criminal-justice imaginary with state-organized violence by comparing it to an imaginary that supported colonial violence. I conclude by discussing how those of us outside of prison can begin to resist the entrenched images and institutions of mass incarceration by engaging the work and imagining the perspective of incarcerated people.
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  44. How Propaganda Became Public Relations: Foucault and the Corporate Government of the Public.Cory Wimberly - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    How Propaganda Became Public Relations pulls back the curtain on propaganda: how it was born, how it works, and how it has masked the bulk of its operations by rebranding itself as public relations. Cory Wimberly uses archival materials and wide variety of sources — Foucault’s work on governmentality, political economy, liberalism, mass psychology, and history — to mount a genealogical challenge to two commonplaces about propaganda. First, modern propaganda did not originate in the state and was never primarily located (...)
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  45. Dignity at Work.Pablo Gilabert - 2018 - In Hugh Collins, Gillian Lester & Virginia Mantouvalou (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 68-86.
    This paper offers a justification of labor rights based on an interpretation of the idea of human dignity. According to the dignitarian approach, we have reason to organize social life in such a way that we respond appropriately to the valuable capacities of human beings that give rise to their dignity. That dignity is a deontic status in virtue of which people are owed certain forms of respect and concern. Dignity at work involves the treatment of people in accordance to (...)
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  46. Vocations, Exploitation, and Professions in a Market Economy.Daniel Koltonski - 2018 - Social Theory and Practice 44 (3):323-347.
    In a market economy, members of professions—or at least those for whom their profession is a vocation—are vulnerable to a distinctive kind of objectionable exploitation, namely the exploitation of their vocational commitment. That they are vulnerable in this way arises out of central features both of professions and of a market economy. And, for certain professions—the care professions—this exploitation is particularly objectionable, since, for these professions, the exploitation at issue is not only exploitation of the professional’s vocational commitment but also (...)
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  47. Life: the Center of our Existence.Agustin Ostachuk - 2018 - Ludus Vitalis 26 (50):257-260.
    Life is the center of our existence. One would be tempted to say that first of all we live. However, our existence does not seem to pass in that modality. The exacerbated materialism in which our existence takes place, displaces life from the center of the scene. Our society is organized around production, consumerism, exploitation, efficiency, trade and propaganda. That is to say, our existence seems to have economy as the center of organization of our activities. The struggle of this (...)
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  48. Marcuse e a ambivalência da técnica.Assucena Sousa - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Minho
    Herbert Marcuse was one of the most influential political philosophers in the 20th century. After his death, his popularity started decreasing and the philosopher somewhat sank into oblivion. This dissertation intends to investigate the Marcusean contribution to the subject of technics, so imbricated on his political philosophy, and demonstrate that it deserves reappraisal. We shall analyse the theoretical context of Marcuse’s work and put opposing stances, both technophobe and technophile, up for debate. The intent is to not only present the (...)
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  49. Let’s change: a critical study of the aims and practices of a local exchange trading scheme.Arianna Bove - 2017 - International Journal of Community Currency Research 21 (2):65-83.
    The paper presents the findings of ethnographic research and a survey of a Local Exchange Trading Scheme in North-East London and asks the question of whether the scheme delivers on the aims and objectives of its members. The research found that whilst its members express a strong politically motivated desire for an alternative to the prevailing economic system, the LETS scheme falls short of delivering on those ambitions. The findings raise the question of whether there is anything intrinsic to this (...)
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  50. Kantian Dignity and Marxian Socialism.Pablo Gilabert - 2017 - Kantian Review 22 (4):553-577.
    This paper offers an account of human dignity based on a discussion of Kant's moral and political philosophy and then shows its relevance for articulating and developing in a fresh way some normative dimensions of Marx’s critique of capitalism as involving exploitation, domination, and alienation, and the view of socialism as involving a combination of freedom and solidarity. What is advanced here is not Kant’s own conception of dignity, but an account that partly builds on that conception and partly criticizes (...)
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