At what age should children acquire adult rights? To what extent are parents morally permitted to shape the beliefs of their children? How should childbearing rights and resources be distributed? Matthew Clayton provides a controversial set of answers to these and related issues in this pivotal new work.
Some religiously devout individuals believe divine command can override an obligation to obey the law where the two are in conflict. At the extreme, some individuals believe that acts of violence that seek to change or punish a political community, or to prevent others from violating what they take to be God’s law, are morally justified. In the face of this apparent clash between religious and political commitments it might seem that modern versions of political morality—such as John Rawls’s political (...) liberalism—that refuse to take a stance on controversial religious matters, or eschew appeal to perfectionist doctrines, are beset by a particularly acute version of this problem of religious disobedience. Whilst political liberalism follows this path so as to generate wide and stable support, it raises the question of how political liberals should respond to religiously motivated non-compliance with the norms of that liberal conception of justice. This article evaluates what resources are available to political liberalism to respond to this challenge. It examines whether anti-perfectionism can be sustained in the face of those whose religious beliefs are in conflict with the law. We argue that, under certain circumstances, political liberalism requires direct engagement with the religious views of the unreasonable, including offering religious arguments to show that their particular interpretation of their faith is mistaken. This view takes political liberalism away from its usual ambitions, but it is a position that is both anticipated by Rawls and consistent with his view. It does, however, require that political liberals give up the claim that the view is a wholly non-sectarian, purely political view, and accept that, under certain circumstances it is a partially comprehensive version of liberal theory. (shrink)
One of the central debates within contemporary Anglo-American political philosophy concerns how to formulate an egalitarian theory of distributive justice which gives coherent expression to egalitarian convictions and withstands the most powerful anti-egalitarian objections. This book brings together many of the key contributions to that debate by some of the world’s leading political philosophers: Richard Arneson, G.A. Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, Thomas Nagel, Derek Parfit, John Rawls, T.M. Scanlon, and Larry Temkin.
Notwithstanding an ongoing concern about the low representation of certain groups in higher education, there is reluctance on the part of politicians and policy makers to adopt positive discrimination as an appropriate means of widening participation. This article offers an account of the different objections to positive discrimination and, thereafter, clarifies and criticises the view that universities ought to select those applicants who are expected to be most successful as students. It distinguishes arguments from meritocracy, desert, respect, and productivity and (...) shows how these arguments are compatible with the use of positive discrimination in higher education. (shrink)
The author discusses Rawls’s conception of socioeconomic justice, Democratic Equality. He contrasts Rawls’s account, which includes the difference principle constrained by the principle of fair equality of opportunity, with Natural Aristocracy, which constrains the difference principle only by the principle of careers open to talents. According to the author, many of Rawls’s own arguments support NaturalAristocracy over Democratic Equality. In particular, Natural Aristocracy appears well placed to avoid a challenge that naturally arises in consideration of Democratic Equality, with respect to (...) which formal distributive principle should deal with social and natural causes of inequality. The challenge is to cite a morally relevant distinction which supports the appropriateness of dealing with natural causes of inequality differently to those generated by social causes. In support of his proposal, the author also appeals to certain arguments in Rawls’s Political Liberalism. (shrink)
Ronald Dworkin’s Justice for Hedgehogs defends liberal political morality on the basis of a rich account of dignity as constitutive of living well. This article raises the Rawlsian concern that making political morality dependent on ethics threatens citizens’ political autonomy. Thereafter, it addresses whether the abandonment of ethical foundations signals the demise of Dworkin’s liberalism and explores the possibility of laundering his conception so as to facilitate a marriage between the political philosophies of Rawls and Dworkin. The article finishes by (...) rebutting some objections Dworkin raises against Rawls’s account of public reason. (shrink)
The claim that the ideal of equality has a role to play in the critique of discrimination in employment and education has been rejected by a number of philosophers. Certain anti-egalitarians argue that the appeal to equality is redundant; others that egalitarianism misdirects us or fails to explain our special hostility towards discrimination. This article sketches an egalitarian conception of justice in selection and explains what is distinctive about such conceptions. Thereafter, it attempts to rebut the important objections that have (...) been raised against egalitarian accounts of discrimination. (shrink)
In this paper we take issue with two central claims that John Tomasi makes in Free Market Fairness. The first claim is that Rawls’s difference principle can better be realized by free market institutions than it can be by state interventionist regimes such as property-owning democracy or liberal socialism. We argue that Tomasi’s narrow interpretation of the difference principle, which focuses largely on wealth and income, leaves other goods worryingly unsatisfied. The second claim is that a wide set of economic (...) liberties ought to be protected because they realize responsible ‘self-authorship.’ We argue that this claim also fails because, crucially, whether economic liberties serve individuals in pursuing their ambitions will depend on the nature of those ambitions and how the use of those liberties by others would affect their pursuit of them. If an expansion of liberty is good for us in some ways, but bad in others, we need to assess whether, all things considered, we would be better off with or without such expanded economic rights. We argue that the expansion Tomasi proposes is likely to fail this test. (shrink)
The prelims comprise: Introduction Types of Gene Selection Issues Relating to Gene Selection and Personal Autonomy Individual Autonomy in a Liberal Society Parental Choice Procreative Autonomy versus Children's Autonomy Conclusion Acknowledgments Note.
This reader brings together classic and contemporary contributions to debates about social justice. A collection of classic and contemporary contributions to debates about social justice. Includes classic discussions of justice by Locke and Hume. Provides broad coverage of contemporary discussions, including theoretical pieces by John Rawls, Robert Nozick and Ronald Dworkin. Contains papers that apply theories of justice to concrete issues, such as gender and the family, the market, world poverty, cultural rights, and future generations. Philosophically challenging yet accessible to (...) students. (shrink)
John White has recently defended a national curriculum which aims to promote children's well-being and personal autonomy. I argue that there is a sense in which the state can remain neutral between diirferent conceptions of the good life and that White has not established that the state should aim to promote particular conceptions. I contend that the arguments which White offers in defence of his view of well-being are inadequate and that he has failed to justifi the promotion of everyone's (...) personal autonomy. (shrink)
This article responds to certain objections Jeffrey Morgan raises against the theory of liberal education defended in Justice and Legitimacy in Upbringing. First, it replies to his claim that the theory is too individualistic and pays insufficient attention to considerations of ‘care’. Second, it recapitulates and clarifies the argument that the ideal of autonomy supports the conclusion that it is illegitimate for parents to enrol their children into controversial conceptions of the good life, and seeks to rebut Morgan's criticisms of (...) that argument. (shrink)
John White has recently defended a national curriculum which aims to promote children’s well-being and personal autonomy. I argue that there is a sense in which the state can remain neutral between diirferent conceptions of the good life and that White has not established that the state should aim to promote particular conceptions. I contend that the arguments which White offers in defence of his view of well-being are inadequate and that he has failed to justifi the promotion of everyone’s (...) personal autonomy. (shrink)