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Ben Saunders [63]Benjamin Saunders [1]
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Ben Saunders
University of Southampton
  1. Opt-out organ donation without presumptions.Ben Saunders - 2012 - Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (2):69-72.
    This paper defends an ‘opt-out’ scheme for organ procurement, by distinguishing this system from ‘presumed consent’ (which the author regards as an erroneous justification of it). It, first, stresses the moral importance of increasing the supply of organs and argues that making donation easier need not conflict with altruism. It then goes on to explore one way that donation can be increased, namely by adopting an opt-out system, in which cadaveric organs are used unless the deceased (or their family) registered (...)
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  2. Democracy, political equality, and majority rule.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Ethics 121 (1):148-177.
    Democracy is commonly associated with political equality and/or majority rule. This essay shows that these three ideas are conceptually separate, so the transition from any one to another stands in need of further substantive argument, which is not always adequately given. It does this by offering an alternative decision-making mechanism, called lottery voting, in which all individuals cast votes for their preferred options but, instead of these being counted, one is randomly selected and that vote determines the outcome. This procedure (...)
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  3. Altruism or solidarity? The motives for organ donation and two proposals.Ben Saunders - 2012 - Bioethics 26 (7):376-381.
    Proposals for increasing organ donation are often rejected as incompatible with altruistic motivation on the part of donors. This paper questions, on conceptual grounds, whether most organ donors really are altruistic. If we distinguish between altruism and solidarity – a more restricted form of other-concern, limited to members of a particular group – then most organ donors exhibit solidarity, rather than altruism. If organ donation really must be altruistic, then we have reasons to worry about the motives of existing donors. (...)
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  4.  83
    Defining the demos.Ben Saunders - 2012 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (3):280-301.
    Until relatively recently, few democrats had much to say about the constitution of the ‘demos' that ought to rule. A number of recent writers have, however, argued that all those whose interests are affected must be enfranchised if decision-making is to be fully democratic. This article criticizes this approach, arguing that it misunderstands democracy. Democratic procedures are about the agency of the people so only agents can be enfranchised, yet not all bearers of interests are also agents. If we focus (...)
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  5. Reformulating Mill’s Harm Principle.Ben Saunders - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1005-1032.
    Mill’s harm principle is commonly supposed to rest on a distinction between self-regarding conduct, which is not liable to interference, and other-regarding conduct, which is. As critics have noted, this distinction is difficult to draw. Furthermore, some of Mill’s own applications of the principle, such as his forbidding of slavery contracts, do not appear to fit with it. This article proposes that the self-regarding/other-regarding distinction is not in fact fundamental to Mill’s harm principle. The sphere of protected liberty includes not (...)
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  6. A Defence of Weighted Lotteries in Life Saving Cases.Ben Saunders - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (3):279-290.
    The three most common responses to Taurek’s ‘numbers problem’ are saving the greater number, equal chance lotteries and weighted lotteries. Weighted lotteries have perhaps received the least support, having been criticized by Scanlon What We Owe to Each Other ( 1998 ) and Hirose ‘Fairness in Life and Death Cases’ ( 2007 ). This article considers these objections in turn, and argues that they do not succeed in refuting the fairness of a weighted lottery, which remains a potential solution to (...)
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  7. Fairness between competing claims.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Res Publica 16 (1):41-55.
    Fairness is a central, but under-theorized, notion in moral and political philosophy. This paper makes two contributions. Firstly, it criticizes Broome’s seminal account of fairness in Proc Aristotelian Soc 91:87–101, showing that there are problems with restricting fairness to a matter of relative satisfaction and holding that it does not itself require the satisfaction of the claims in question. Secondly, it considers the justification of lotteries to resolve cases of ties between competing claims, which Broome claims as support for his (...)
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  8.  90
    The equality of lotteries.Ben Saunders - 2008 - Philosophy 83 (3):359-372.
    Lotteries have long been used to resolve competing claims, yet their recent implementation to allocate school places in Brighton and Hove, England led to considerable public outcry. This article argues that, given appropriate selection is impossible when parties have equal claims, a lottery is preferable to an auction because it excludes unjust influences. Three forms of contractualism are discussed and the fairness of lotteries is traced to the fact that they give each person an equal chance, as a surrogate for (...)
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  9.  43
    How altruistic organ donation may be (intrinsically) bad.Ben Saunders - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (10):681-684.
    It has traditionally been assumed that organ donation must be altruistic, though the necessity of altruistic motivations has recently been questioned. Few, however, have questioned whether altruism is always a good motive. This paper considers the possibility that excessive altruism, or self-abnegation, may be intrinsically bad. How this may be so is illustrated with reference to Tom Hurka’s account of the value of attitudes, which suggests that disproportionate love of one’s own good—either excessive or deficient—is intrinsically bad. Whether or not (...)
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  10.  27
    A Millian Case for Censoring Vaccine Misinformation.Ben Saunders - 2023 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 20 (1):115-124.
    The spread of vaccine misinformation may contribute to vaccine refusal/hesitancy and consequent harms. Nonetheless, censorship is often rejected on the grounds of free expression. This article examines John Stuart Mill’s influential defence of free expression but finds that his arguments for freedom apply only to normal, reasonably favourable circumstances. In other cases, it may be permissible to restrict freedom, including freedom of speech. Thus, while Mill would ordinarily defend the right to express false views, such as that vaccines cause autism, (...)
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  11.  10
    Paternalism, with and without identity.Ben Saunders - 2023 - Journal of Medical Ethics 49 (6):409-410.
    Interference is paternalistic when it restricts an individual’s freedom for their own good. Anti-paternalists, such as John Stuart Mill, object to this for various reasons, including that the individual is usually a better judge of her own interests than the would-be paternalist. However, Wilkinson argues that a Parfitian reductivist approach to personal identity opens the door to what he calls ‘identity-relative paternalism’ where someone’s present action is restricted for the sake of a different future self.1 This is an interesting argument, (...)
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  12.  67
    First, do no harm: Generalized procreative non‐maleficence.Ben Saunders - 2017 - Bioethics 31 (7):552-558.
    New reproductive technologies allow parents some choice over their children. Various moral principles have been suggested to regulate such choices. This article starts from a discussion of Julian Savulescu's Principle of Procreative Beneficence, according to which parents ought to choose the child expected to have the best quality of life, before combining two previously separate lines of attack against this principle. First, it is suggested that the appropriate moral principles of guiding reproductive choices ought to focus on general wellbeing rather (...)
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  13.  56
    Immigration, Rights and Democracy.Ben Saunders - 2011 - Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 58 (129):58-77.
    Arash Abizadeh has recently argued that political communities have no right to close their borders unilaterally, since by doing so they subject outsiders to coercion which lacks democratic justification. His conclusion is that any legitimate regime of border controls must be justified to outsiders. David Miller has sought to defend closed borders by distinguishing between coercion and prevention and arguing that the latter does not require democratic justification. This paper explores a different route, arguing firstly that the requirements of democracy (...)
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  14.  24
    A sufficiency threshold is not a harm principle: A better alternative to best interests for overriding parental decisions.Ben Saunders - 2020 - Bioethics 35 (1):90-97.
    Douglas Diekema influentially argues that interference with parental decisions is not in fact guided by the child’s best interests, but rather by a more permissive standard, which he calls the harm principle. This article first seeks to clarify this alternative position and defend it against certain existing criticisms, before offering a new criticism and alternative. This ‘harm principle’ has been criticized for (i) lack of adequate moral grounding, and (ii) being as indeterminate as the best interest standard that it seeks (...)
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  15. J. S. mill's conception of utility.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (1):52-69.
    Mill's most famous departure from Bentham is his distinction between higher and lower pleasures. This article argues that quality and quantity are independent and irreducible properties of pleasures that may be traded off against each other higher pleasures’ lexically dominate lower ones, and that the distinction is compatible with hedonism. I show how this interpretation not only makes sense of Mill but allows him to respond to famous problems, such as Crisp's Haydn and the oyster and Nozick's experience machine.
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  16.  47
    J. S. Mill's Conception of Utility.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (1):52-69.
    Mill's most famous departure from Bentham is his distinction between higher and lower pleasures. This article argues that quality and quantity are independent and irreducible properties of pleasures that may be traded off against each other – as in the case of quality and quantity of wine. I argue that Mill is not committed to thinking that there are two distinct kinds of pleasure, or that ‘higher pleasures’ lexically dominate lower ones, and that the distinction is compatible with hedonism. I (...)
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  17.  82
    Fairness and Aggregation.A. C. Paseau & Ben Saunders - 2015 - Utilitas 27 (4):460-469.
    Sometimes, two unfair distributions cancel out in aggregate. Paradoxically, two distributions each of which is fair in isolation may give rise to aggregate unfairness. When assessing the fairness of distributions, it therefore matters whether we assess transactions piecemeal or focus only on the overall result. This piece illustrates these difficulties for two leading theories of fairness before offering a formal proof that no non-trivial theory guarantees aggregativity. This is not intended as a criticism of any particular theory, but as a (...)
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  18.  72
    Combining lotteries and voting.Ben Saunders - 2012 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (4):347-351.
  19.  73
    Reinterpreting the Qualitative Hedonism Advanced by J.S. Mill.Ben Saunders - 2011 - Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (2):187-201.
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  20.  89
    Why majority rule cannot be based only on procedural equality.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Ratio Juris 23 (1):113-122.
  21.  16
    Fetuses are not adult humans: a response to Miller on abortion.Ben Saunders - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics.
    Miller has recently argued that fetuses have the same inherent value as non-disabled adults. However, we do not need to postulate some property possessed equally by all humans, including fetuses, in order to explain the equality of non-disabled adults. It would suffice if there were some property possessed by all non-disabled adults, but not by fetuses.
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  22.  17
    Immigration, Rights and Democracy.Ben Saunders - 2011 - Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 58:58-77.
    Arash Abizadeh has recently argued that political communities have no right to close their borders unilaterally, since by doing so they subject outsiders to coercion which lacks democratic justification. His conclusion is that any legitimate regime of border controls must be justified to outsiders. David Miller has sought to defend closed borders by distinguishing between coercion and prevention and arguing that the latter does not require democratic justification. This paper explores a different route, arguing firstly that the requirements of democracy (...)
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  23.  61
    Why Procreative Preferences May be Moral – And Why it May not Matter if They Aren't.Ben Saunders - 2015 - Bioethics 29 (7):499-506.
    There has been much argument over whether procreative selection is obligatory or wrong. Rebecca Bennett has recently challenged the assumption that procreative choices are properly moral choices, arguing that these views express mere preferences. This article challenges Bennett's view on two fronts. First, I argue that the Non-Identity Problem does not show that there cannot be harmless wrongs – though this would require us to abandon the intuitively attractive ‘person-affecting principle’, that may be a lesser cost than abandoning some more (...)
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  24.  84
    Sex discrimination, gender balance, justice and publicity in admissions.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (1):59-71.
    This paper examines the problem of selecting a number of candidates to receive a good (admission) from a pool in which there are more qualified applicants than places. I observe that it is rarely possible to order all candidates according to some relevant criterion, such as academic merit, since these standards are inevitably somewhat vague. This means that we are often faced with the task of making selections between near-enough equal candidates. I survey one particular line of response, which says (...)
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  25.  16
    Sex Discrimination, Gender Balance, Justice and Publicity in Admissions.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (1):59-71.
    abstract This paper examines the problem of selecting a number of candidates to receive a good (admission) from a pool in which there are more qualified applicants than places. I observe that it is rarely possible to order all candidates according to some relevant criterion, such as academic merit, since these standards are inevitably somewhat vague. This means that we are often faced with the task of making selections between near‐enough equal candidates. I survey one particular line of response, which (...)
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  26.  27
    Democracy-as-fairness: justice, equal chances and lotteries.Ben Saunders - 2009 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 2 (1):154.
  27.  73
    A Further Defence of the Right Not to Vote.Ben Saunders - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (1):93-108.
    Opponents of compulsory voting often allege that it violates a ‘right not to vote’. This paper seeks to clarify and defend such a right against its critics. First, I propose that this right must be understood as a Hohfeldian claim against being compelled to vote, rather than as a mere privilege to abstain. So construed, the right not to vote is compatible with a duty to vote, so arguments for a duty to vote do not refute the existence of such (...)
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  28.  48
    Paper: Normative consent and organ donation: a vindication.Ben Saunders - 2011 - Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (6):362-363.
    In an earlier article, I argued that David Estlund's notion of ‘normative consent’ could provide justification for an opt-out system of organ donation that does not involve presumptions about the deceased donor's consent. Where it would be wrong of someone to refuse their consent, then the fact that they have not actually given it is irrelevant, though an explicit denial of consent may still be binding. My argument has recently been criticised by Potts et al, who argue that such a (...)
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  29.  81
    The Constitution of Equality: Democratic Authority and its Limits – Thomas Christiano.Ben Saunders - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (236):566-568.
  30.  25
    J.S. Mill and market harms: a response to Endörfer.Ben Saunders - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy:1-6.
    Endörfer has recently argued that proponents of the harm principle are wrong to exempt market harms as potential justifications for state interference. I argue that – contrary to suggestions in Endörfer’s article – John Stuart Mill did not exempt market harms from his harm principle. On Mill’s view, the state can (as a matter of principle) legitimately interfere with free markets to prevent market harms where they occur but, on the whole, it is better policy not to interfere. Mill’s general (...)
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  31. A defense of the right not to vote.Ben Saunders - 2016 - In Emily Crookston, David Killoren & Jonathan Trerise (eds.), Ethics in Politics: The Rights and Obligations of Individual Political Agents. Routledge.
     
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  32.  91
    Is procreative beneficence obligatory?Ben Saunders - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (2):175-178.
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  33.  63
    Procreative Beneficence, Intelligence, and the Optimization Problem.Ben Saunders - 2015 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 40 (6):653-668.
    According to the Principle of Procreative Beneficence, reproducers should choose the child, of those available to them, expected to have the best life. Savulescu argues reproducers are therefore morally obligated to select for nondisease traits, such as intelligence. Carter and Gordon recently challenged this implication, arguing that Savulescu fails to establish that intelligence promotes well-being. This paper develops two responses. First, I argue that higher intelligence is likely to contribute to well-being on most plausible accounts. Second, I argue that, even (...)
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  34.  31
    How Mandatory Can We Make Vaccination?Ben Saunders - 2022 - Public Health Ethics 15 (3):220-232.
    The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has refocused attention on the issue of mandatory vaccination. Some have suggested that vaccines ought to be mandatory, while others propose more moderate alternatives, such as incentives. This piece surveys a range of possible interventions, ranging from mandates through to education. All may have their place, depending on circumstances. However, it is worth clarifying the options available to policymakers, since there is sometimes confusion over whether a particular policy constitutes a mandate or not. Further, I (...)
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  35.  6
    Opt‐out, mandated choice and informed consent.Ben Saunders - 2023 - Bioethics 37 (9):862-868.
    A number of authors criticise opt-out (or ‘deemed consent’) systems for failing to secure valid consent to organ donation. Further, several suggest that mandated choice offers a more ethical alternative. This article responds to criticisms that opt-out does not secure informed consent. If we assume current (low) levels of public awareness, then the explicit consent secured under mandated choice will not be informed either. Conversely, a mandated choice policy might be justifiable if accompanied by a significant public education campaign. However, (...)
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  36.  4
    Healthcare strikes and the ethics of voting in ballots.Ben Saunders - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics.
    There has been much discussion of the justifiability of strikes by healthcare workers, but comparatively little discussion of the political processes through which strikes occur. This article focuses on the Trade Union Act 2016, which currently governs strike ballots in the UK. This legislation has important implications for healthcare workers being balloted on strikes (or other forms of industrial action). The article first explains the legal requirements for a strike mandate and illustrates how votes in strike ballots can be counterproductive, (...)
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  37.  54
    Opt-out donation and tacit consent: a reply to Wilkinson and De Wispelaere.Ben Saunders - 2012 - Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (2):75-76.
    In this reply to Wilkinson and De Wispelaere, I argue that an opt-out donation system can be regarded as tacit consent. I first separate the opt-in/opt-out issue from that of the role that the family ought to play. I then argue that what De Wispelaere calls minimal approval-tracking is not obviously necessary and that, even if it were, opt-out schemes can satisfy this requirement.
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  38.  44
    The Ethics of Political Participation: Engagement and Democracy in the 21st Century.Phil Parvin & Ben Saunders - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (1):3-8.
    Changing patterns of political participation observed by political scientists over the past half-century undermine traditional democratic theory and practice. The vast majority of democratic theory, and deliberative democratic theory in particular, either implicitly or explicitly assumes the need for widespread citizen participation. It requires that all citizens possess the opportunity to participate and also that they take up this opportunity. But empirical evidence gathered over the past half-century strongly suggests that many citizens do not have a meaningful opportunity to participate (...)
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  39.  26
    Accountability for Reasonableness or Equality of Resources?Ben Saunders - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (3):49-50.
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  40.  75
    Barbara Goodwin, justice by lottery.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Journal of Value Inquiry 44 (4):553-556.
  41. Consent and organ donation.Ben Saunders - 2018 - In Peter Schaber & Andreas Müller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Ethics of Consent. Routledge.
     
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  42. Circumcising Donne: The 1633 Poems and Readerly Desire.Ben Saunders - 2000 - Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 30:375-399.
    This essay reconsiders the haphazard arrangement of Donne's first printed collection of poems in relation to an elegy written for Donne by one Thomas Browne, published for the first and only time in that same volume. The earliest recorded response we have to Donne's verse considered as a complete body of work, Browne's elegy thematizes the readerly tendency to interpret this textual body in the light of "subjective" notions of "proper" desire. Through a close reading of Browne's poem, in which (...)
     
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  43.  10
    C. L. Ten, ed. , Mill's On Liberty: A Critical Guide . Reviewed by.Benjamin Saunders - 2010 - Philosophy in Review 30 (6):457-459.
  44.  51
    Democracy after deliberation.Ben Saunders - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (3):315-319.
  45.  29
    Democracy and Future Generations.Ben Saunders - 2014 - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche.
  46.  55
    Democratic Legitimacy.Ben Saunders - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (3):472-475.
  47.  25
    Equality in the allocation of scarce vaccines.Ben Saunders - 2018 - Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 13 (3):65-84.
    In the event of a pandemic, demand for vaccines may exceed supply. One proposal for allocating vaccines is to use a lottery, to give all citizens an equal chance, either of getting the vaccine or of surviving. However, insistence on strict equality can result in seriously suboptimal outcomes. I argue that the requirement to treat all citizens impartially need not be interpreted to require equal chances, particularly where citizens are differently situated. Assuming that we want to save lives, we should (...)
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  48. Mill: A Revised Version of Utilitarianism.Ben Saunders - 2011 - Philosophical Forum 42 (3):323-323.
     
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  49.  5
    Mill's Conception of Happiness.Ben Saunders - 2016 - In Christopher Macleod & Dale E. Miller (eds.), A Companion to Mill. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. pp. 313–327.
    Mill appears to subscribe to the hedonist view that happiness consists in pleasure and the absence of pain, yet he departs from the Benthamite tradition by suggesting that some pleasures are more valuable than others. I suggest that the value of a pleasure depends on its contribution to happiness. Other things equal, more pleasure is more conducive to happiness than less, but some pleasures are also more valuable than others, quantity being equal. These more valuable pleasures are those that Mill (...)
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  50.  16
    No wall without representation: Trump, taxes, and democratic inclusion.Ben Saunders - 2019 - Think 18 (52):35-46.
    Donald Trump promised to build a wall along the US–Mexico border and to make Mexico pay for it, but this seems to violate the principle of ‘no taxation without representation’ on which the United States was founded. Some democratic theorists propose even more radical principles of inclusion, such as that all those affected by or subject to a decision should have a say in it. But even a more moderate principle, requiring that those who pay must be represented, is sufficient (...)
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