What’s wrong with vote buying

Philosophical Studies 177 (2):1-21 (2020)
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Abstract

Almost everyone would agree that vote buying is morally wrong, and that prohibitions on vote buying are morally justified. Yet, recently, several philosophers have argued that vote buying is morally permissible, and that it should be legally permitted. This paper begins by examining and criticising arguments that have been offered in defence of vote buying. I then go on to consider existing attempts to explain the wrongness of vote buying, arguing that none is wholly successful. I then advance a novel account of the wrongness of vote buying. Vote buying is objectionable, I argue, because it involves a failure of respect for one’s fellow citizens as autonomous agents. I also consider the implications of my account for a number of other controversial practices.

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Lachlan Umbers
Australian National University

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References found in this work

Two kinds of respect.Stephen L. Darwall - 1977 - Ethics 88 (1):36-49.
Activist Challenges to Deliberative Democracy.Iris Marion Young - 2001 - Political Theory 29 (5):670-690.
Practical Reason and Norms.C. H. Whiteley - 1976 - Philosophical Quarterly 26 (104):287-288.
Why Citizens Should Vote: A Causal Responsibility Approach.Alvin I. Goldman - 1999 - Social Philosophy and Policy 16 (2):201-217.

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