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Michael Otsuka
London School of Economics
  1. Libertarianism Without Inequality.Michael Otsuka - 2003 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Michael Otsuka sets out to vindicate left-libertarianism, a political philosophy which combines stringent rights of control over one's own mind, body, and life with egalitarian rights of ownership of the world. Otsuka reclaims the ideas of John Locke from the libertarian Right, and shows how his Second Treatise of Government provides the theoretical foundations for a left-libertarianism which is both more libertarian and more egalitarian than the Kantian liberal theories of John Rawls and Thomas Nagel. Otsuka's libertarianism is founded on (...)
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  2. Killing the Innocent in Self-Defense.Michael Otsuka - 1994 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 23 (1):74-94.
    I presented an earlier version of this paper to the Law and Philosophy Discussion Group in Los Angeles, whose members I would like to thank for their comments. In addition, I would also like to thank the following people for reading and providing written or verbal commentary on earlier drafts: Robert Mams, Rogers Albritton, G. A. Cohen, David Copp, Matthew Hanser, Craig Ihara, Brian Lee, Marc Lange, Derk Pereboom, Carol Voeller, and the Editors of Philosophy & Public Affairs. I owe (...)
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  3. Why It Matters That Some Are Worse Off Than Others: An Argument Against the Priority View.Michael Otsuka & Alex Voorhoeve - 2009 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (2):171-199.
    We argue that there is a marked shift in the moral weight of an increment in a person's well-being when one moves from a case involving only intra-personal trade-offs to a case involving only inter-personal trads-offs. This shift, we propose, is required by the separateness of persons. We also argue that the Priority View put forward by Parfit cannot account for such a shift. We also outline two alternative views, an egalitarian view and a claims-based view, that can account for (...)
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  4. Equality Versus Priority.Michael Otsuka & Alex Voorhoeve - 2018 - In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 65-85.
    We discuss two leading theories of distributive justice: egalitarianism and prioritarianism. We argue that while each has particular merits and shortcomings, egalitarian views more fully satisfy a key requirement of distributive justice: respect for both the unity of the individual and the separateness of persons.
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  5. Why Left-Libertarianism Is Not Incoherent, Indeterminate, or Irrelevant: A Reply to Fried.Peter Vallentyne, Hillel Steiner & Michael Otsuka - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2):201-215.
    In a recent review essay of a two volume anthology on left-libertarianism (edited by two of us), Barbara Fried has insightfully laid out most of the core issues that confront left-libertarianism. We are each left-libertarians, and we would like to take this opportunity to address some of the general issues that she raises. We shall focus, as Fried does much of the time, on the question of whether left-libertarianism is a well-defined and distinct alternative to existing forms of liberal egalitarianism. (...)
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  6. Incompatibilism and the Avoidability of Blame.Michael Otsuka - 1998 - Ethics 108 (4):685-701.
    I defend an incompatibilist 'Principle of Avoidable Blame' according to which one is blameworthy for performing an act of a given type only if one could instead have behaved in a manner for which one would have been blameless. First, I demonstrate that this principle is resistant to Harry Frankfurt-type counterexample. Second, I present a positive argument for this principle that appeals to the relation of blame to the 'reactive attitude' of indignation. Finally, I argue against the possibility of blamelessly (...)
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  7. Scanlon and the Claims of the Many Versus the One.Michael Otsuka - 2000 - Analysis 60 (3):288-293.
    In "What We Owe to Each Other", T. M. Scanlon argues that one should save the greater number when faced with the choice between saving one life and two or more different lives. It is, Scanlon claims, a virtue of this argument that it does not appeal to the claims of groups of individuals but only to the claims of individuals. I demonstrate that this argument for saving the greater number, indeed, depends, contrary to what Scanlon says, upon an appeal (...)
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  8. Double Effect, Triple Effect and the Trolley Problem: Squaring the Circle in Looping Cases: Michael Otsuka.Michael Otsuka - 2008 - Utilitas 20 (1):92-110.
    In the Trolley Case, as devised by Philippa Foot and modified by Judith Jarvis Thomson, a runaway trolley is headed down a main track and will hit and kill five unless you divert it onto a side track, where it will hit and kill one.
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  9. Prioritarianism and the Measure of Utility.Michael Otsuka - 2015 - Journal of Political Philosophy 23 (1):1-22.
    I argue that prioritarianism cannot be assessed in abstraction from an account of the measure of utility. Rather, the soundness of this view crucially depends on what counts as a greater, lesser, or equal increase in a person’s utility. In particular, prioritarianism cannot accommodate a normatively compelling measure of utility that is captured by the axioms of John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern’s expected utility theory. Nor can it accommodate a plausible and elegant generalization of this theory that has been (...)
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  10. Prioritarianism and the Separateness of Persons.Michael Otsuka - 2012 - Utilitas 24 (3):365-380.
    For a prioritarian by contrast to a utilitarian, whether a certain quantity of utility falls within the boundary of one person's life or another's makes the following moral difference: the worse the life of a person who could receive a given benefit, the stronger moral reason we have to confer this benefit on this person. It would seem, therefore, that prioritarianism succeeds, where utilitarianism fails, to ‘take seriously the distinction between persons’. Yet I show that, contrary to these appearances, prioritarianism (...)
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  11. Saving Lives, Moral Theory, and the Claims of Individuals.Michael Otsuka - 2006 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (2):109–135.
    Philosophy & Public Affairs, 34 (2006): 109-35.
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  12. Self‐Ownership and Equality: A Lockean Reconciliation.Michael Otsuka - 1998 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (1):65-92.
    I thank the members of the Law and Philosophy Discussion Group in Los Angeles and those who attended a talk sponsored by the philosophy department at New York University, where I presented earlier versions of this paper. I would also like to thank G. A. Cohen, Stephen Munzer, Seana Shiffrin, Peter Vallentyne, Andrew Williams, and the editors of Philosophy & Public Affairs, who read and provided written commentary on earlier drafts.
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  13. Moral Luck: Optional, Not Brute.Michael Otsuka - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):373-388.
    'Moral luck' refers to the phenomenon whereby one's degree of blameworthiness for what one has done varies on account of factors beyond one's control. Applying concepts of Dworkin's from the domain of distributive justice, I draw a distinction between 'option moral luck,' which is that to which one has exposed oneself as the result of one's voluntary choices, and 'brute moral luck,' which is that which is unchosen and unavoidable. I argue that option moral luck is not ruled out on (...)
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  14.  69
    Skepticism About Saving the Greater Number.Michael Otsuka - 2004 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 32 (4):413-426.
    Suppose that each of the following four conditions obtains: 1. You can save either a greater or a lesser number of innocent people from (equally) serious harm. 2. You can do so at trivial cost to yourself. 3. If you act to save, then the harm you prevent is harm that would not have been prevented if you had done nothing. 4. All other things are equal. A skeptic about saving the greater number rejects the common-sensical claim that you have (...)
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  15.  9
    The Moral Responsibility Account of Liability to Defensive Killing.Michael Otsuka - 2016 - In Christian Coons & Michael Weber (eds.), The Ethics of Self-Defense. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
    Some are blameless for posing a threat to the live of another because they are not morally responsible for being a threat. Others are blameless in spite of their responsibility. On what has come to be known as the "moral responsibility account" of liability to defensive killing, it is such responsibility, rather than blameworthiness, for threatening another that renders one liable to defensive killing. Moreover, one's lack of responsibility for being a threat grounds one's nonliability to defensive killing. In "Killing (...)
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  16.  89
    Luck, Insurance, and Equality.Michael Otsuka - 2002 - Ethics 113 (1):40-54.
    The aim of this article is to refute Ronald Dworkin's claim that the provision of an equal opportunity to insure against risks is sufficient to render differences in people's circumstances that are the result of luck consistent with his theory of equality of resources. Section I addresses bad luck in the circumstances of individuals in the form of mental or physical incapacitation resulting from the vicissitudes of nature. Section II addresses bad luck which is the result of the choices of (...)
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  17.  63
    How It Makes a Moral Difference That One is Worse Off Than One Could Have Been.Michael Otsuka - 2018 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 17 (2):192-215.
    In this article, I argue that it makes a moral difference whether an individual is worse off than she could have been. Here, I part company with consequentialists such as Parfit and side with contractualists such as Scanlon. But, unlike some contractualists, I reject the view that all that matters is whether a principle can be justified to each particular individual, where such a justification is attentive to her interests, complaints and other claims. The anonymous goodness of a distribution also (...)
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  18.  4
    On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy.Michael Otsuka (ed.) - 2011 - Princeton University Press.
    G. A. Cohen was one of the most gifted, influential, and progressive voices in contemporary political philosophy. At the time of his death in 2009, he had plans to bring together a number of his most significant papers. This is the first of three volumes to realize those plans. Drawing on three decades of work, it contains previously uncollected articles that have shaped many of the central debates in political philosophy, as well as papers published here for the first time. (...)
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  19.  66
    Equality, Ambition and Insurance.Michael Otsuka - 2004 - Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 78 (1):151-166.
    Inequality is intrinsically bad when and because it is unfair. It follows that the ideal of equality is not necessarily realised by a distribution of resources which is envy-free prior to the resolution of risks against which people have an equal opportunity to insure. Even if the upshot of such an ex ante envyfree distribution is just, it is not necessarily fair.
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  20. Double Effect, Triple Effect and the Trolley Problem: Squaring the Circle in Looping Cases.Michael Otsuka - 2008
    In the Trolley Case, as devised by Philippa Foot and modified by Judith Jarvis Thomson, a runaway trolley is headed down a main track and will hit and kill five unless you divert it onto a side track, where it will hit and kill one.
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  21.  76
    The Paradox of Group Beneficence.Michael Otsuka - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (2):132-149.
    An argument against Parfit's view (in his chapter of Reasons and Persons on five mistakes in moral mathmatics) that, rather than maximizing the difference one makes as an individual, one should join that group whose members together make the most positive difference.
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  22. Are Deontological Constraints Irrational?Michael Otsuka - 2011 - In Ralf Bader & John Meadowcroft (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press. pp. 38-58.
    Most deontologists find bedrock in the Pauline doctrine that it is morally objectionable to do evil in order that good will come of it. Uncontroversially, this doctrine condemns the killing of an innocent person simply in order to maximize the sum total of happiness. It rules out the conscription of a worker to his or her certain death in order to repair a fault that is interfering with the live broadcast of a World Cup match that a billion spectators have (...)
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  23. Reply to Crisp.Michael Otsuka & Alex Voorhoeve - 2011 - Utilitas 23 (1):109-114.
    In 'Why It Matters that Some Are Worse off than Others,' we offer a new critique of the Priority View. In a recent article, Roger Crisp has argued that our critique is flawed. In this reply, we show that Crisp fails to grapple with, much less defeat, the central claim of our critique. We also show that an example that Crisp offers in support of the Priority View in fact lends support to our critique of that view.
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  24.  61
    Freedom of Occupational Choice.Michael Otsuka - 2008 - Ratio 21 (4):440-453.
    Cohen endorses the coercive taxation of the talented at a progressive rate for the sake of realizing equality. By contrast, he denies that it is legitimate for the state to engage in the 'Stalinist forcing' of people into one or another line of work in order to bring about a more egalitarian society. He rejects such occupational conscription on grounds of the invasiveness of the gathering and acting upon information regarding people's preferences for different types of work that would be (...)
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  25. The Kantian Argument for Consequentialism.Michael Otsuka - 2009 - Ratio 22 (1):41-58.
    A critical examination of Parfit's attempt to reconcile Kantian contractualism with consequentialism, which disputes his contention that the contracting parties would lack decisive reasons to choose principles that ground prohibitions against harming of the sort to which non-consequentialists have been attracted. 1.
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  26. Justice as Fairness: Luck Egalitarian, Not Rawlsian.Michael Otsuka - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (3-4):217-230.
    I assess G. A. Cohen's claim, which is central to his luck egalitarian account of distributive justice, that forcing others to pay for people's expensive indulgence is inegalitarian because it amounts to their exploitation. I argue that the forced subsidy of such indulgence may well be unfair, but any such unfairness fails to ground an egalitarian complaint. I conclude that Cohen's account of distributive justice has a non-egalitarian as well as an egalitarian aspect. Each impulse arises from an underlying commitment (...)
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  27.  22
    Kamm on the Morality of Killing.Michael Otsuka - 1997 - Ethics 108 (1):197-207.
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  28.  67
    Personal Identity, Substantial Change, and the Significance of Becoming.Michael Otsuka - 2017 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1229-1243.
    According to philosophers who ground your anticipation of future experiences in psychological continuity and connectedness, it is rational to anticipate the experiences of someone other than yourself, such as a self that is the product of fission or of replication. In this article, I concur that it is rational to anticipate the experiences of the product of fission while denying the rationality of anticipating the experiences of a replica. In defending my position, I offer the following explanation of why you (...)
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  29.  58
    Kamm on the Morality of Killing:Morality, Mortality, Vol. 2, Rights, Duties, and Status. Frances M. Kamm.Michael Otsuka - 1997 - Ethics 108 (1):197-.
    A review essay of Frances Kamm's 'Morality, Mortality', Vol. 2, 'Rights, Duties, and Status' (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).
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  30.  73
    Prerogatives to Depart From Equality.Michael Otsuka - 2006 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 58:95-112.
    Should egalitarian justice be qualified by an agent-relative prerogative to act on a preference for—and thereby in a manner that gives rise to or preserves a greater than equal share of the goods of life for—oneself, one's family, loved ones, or friends as compared with strangers? Although many would reply that the answer to this question must be ‘yes’, I shall argue here that the case for such a prerogative to depart from equality is much less far-reaching than one might (...)
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  31.  32
    Liberty, Equality, Envy, and Abstraction.Michael Otsuka - 2004 - In Justine Burley (ed.), Dworkin and His Critics: With Replies by Dworkin. Philosophers and their Critics. Malden, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 70-78.
    Dworkin's reconciliation of liberty and equality in chapter 3 of 'Sovereign Virtue' presupposes the compossibility of the satisfaction of the envy test and the realization of the principle of abstraction. It is, however, impossible to realize a distribution that is both envy-free and maximally sensitive to plans and preferences. When this conflict between the envy test and the principle of abstraction is brought to light, it will become apparent that Dworkin falls short of a complete reconciliation of liberty and equality.
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  32.  8
    If One Can’t Lose Such a Right in These Circumstances, One Never Had It in the First Place.Michael Otsuka - forthcoming - Criminal Law and Philosophy:1-7.
    In this article, I press a line of objection to Jonathan Quong's moral status account of liability to defensive harm. The claim on which I rest my critique is captured by the article's title: if one can’t lose such a right in these circumstances, one never had it in the first place.
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  33. Why Left-Libertarianism Is.Michael Otsuka - unknown
    For insightful comments, we thank G. A. Cohen, Barbara Fried, Leif Wenar, Andrew Williams, Jonathan Wolff, and the Editors of Philosophy & Public Affairs. 1. Barbara Fried, “Left-Libertarianism: A Review Essay,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 32 (2004): 66–92. This is a review of The Origins of Left-Libertarianism: An Anthology of His- torical Writings and Left-Libertarianism and Its Critics: The Contemporary Debate, both edited by Peter Vallentyne and Hillel Steiner (New York: Palgrave Publishers Ltd., 2000).
     
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  34.  52
    A Rejoinder to Fischer and Tognazzini.Michael Otsuka - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (1):37-42.
    In Otsuka ( 1998 ), I endorse an incompatibilist Principle of Avoidable Blame. In this rejoinder to Fischer and Tognazzini ( 2009 ), I defend this principle against their charge that it is vulnerable to Frankfurt-type counterexample.
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  35. Left-Libertarianism and Liberty Forthcoming in Debates in Political Philosophy.Peter Vallentyne, Hillel Steiner & Michael Otsuka - 2009 - In Thomas Christiano & John Christman (eds.), Debates in Political Philosophy. Blackwell.
    I shall formulate and motivate a left-libertarian theory of justice. Like the more familiar rightlibertarianism, it holds that agents initially fully own themselves. Unlike right-libertarianism, it holds that natural resources belong to everyone in some egalitarian manner. Left-libertarianism is, I claim, a plausible version of liberal egalitarianism because it is suitably sensitive to considerations of liberty, security, and equality.
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  36. Libertarianism.Michael Otsuka - unknown
    Michael Otsuka sets out to vindicate left-libertarianism, a political Michael Otsuka is Lecturer in Philosophy philosophy which combines stringent rights of control over one’s own at University College London. mind, body, and life with egalitarian rights of ownership of the world. Otsuka reclaims the ideas of John Locke from the libertarian right and shows how his Second Treatise of Government provides the theoretical foundations for a left-libertarianism which is both more libertarian and more egalitarian than the Kantian liberal theories of (...)
     
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  37.  46
    How to Guard Against the Risk of Living Too Long: The Case for Collective Pensions.Michael Otsuka - 2017 - In David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne & Steven Wall (eds.), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, v. 3. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 229-251.
    This chapter provides a defense of a type of occupational pension, known as “collective defined contribution”, which is based on the idea that it is possible to limit the employer’s liability to nothing more than a set contribution while retaining many of the benefits of the collectivization of risks of a traditional defined benefit pension. CDC can be defended against a freedom-based objection from the right via an appeal to the following Hobbesian voluntarist justification: CDC constitutes a “Leviathan of Leviathans” (...)
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  38.  56
    Commentary on Ronald Dworkin's "Objectivity and Truth: You'd Better Believe It".Michael Otsuka - 1996 - Brown Electronic Article Review Service in Moral and Political Philosophy.
    Review of: DWORKIN, R., "Objectivity and Truth: You'd Better Believe It." Philosophy & Public Affairs, 25: 87–139.
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  39.  85
    Quinn on Punishment and Using Persons as Means.Michael Otsuka - 1996 - Law and Philosophy 15 (2):201 - 208.
    In The Right to Threaten and the Right to Punish, Warren Quinn justifies punishment on the ground that it can be derived from the rights of persons to protect themselves against crime. Quinn, however, denies that a right of self-protection justifies the punishment of an aggressor solely on the ground that such punishment deters others from harming the victim of that aggression or others. He believes that punishment so justified would constitute a morally objectionable instance of using the punished individual (...)
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  40.  67
    Licensed to Kill. [REVIEW]Michael Otsuka - 2011 - Analysis 71 (3):523-532.
    Book review of McMahan J. "Killing in War." Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2009. --- Jeff McMahan’s "Killing in War" is, among many other things, a brief against the traditional just war doctrine of the moral equality of combatants – i.e. the doctrine that all combatants ‘have the same moral status, hence the same moral rights, immunities, and liabilities’, including ‘an equal right to kill’, irrespective of whether the war they fight is just or unjust.1 This book is a powerfully argued, (...)
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  41.  33
    Why Even Diminishing Principles of Entitlement Must Be Regulated by Strictly Egalitarian Principles: Discussion of Morality of Freedom.Michael Otsuka - 2016 - Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies 14 (1):158 – 168.
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  42. Skepticism About Saving.Michael Otsuka - unknown
    Section II of this article originated as a commentary on Véronique Munoz-Dardé’s “The Distribution of Numbers and the Comprehensiveness of Reasons.” I have delivered subsequent versions of this article at the University of Reading, UCLA, the University of Bristol, the University of Leeds, and the University of Oxford, and thank all who commented on those occasions. I am also grateful to G. A. Cohen, Iwao Hirose, Véronique Munoz-Dardé, Alex Voorhoeve, and the Editors of Philosophy & Public Affairs for their written (...)
     
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  43.  21
    Owning Persons, Places, and Things.Michael Otsuka - 2009 - In Stephen De Wijze, Matthew H. Kramer & Ian Carter (eds.), Hillel Steiner and the Anatomy of Justice: Themes and Challenges. Routledge. pp. 16--132.
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  44. Phil 0330: Introduction to Political Philosophy.Michael Otsuka - unknown
    • 15% of your grade: a short (1,500 word limit) paper due at 4 pm on September 26, on an assigned topic distributed two weeks in advance of the due date • 15% of your grade: an in-class mid-term exam on either October 23 or 30 (exact date TBC) • 30% of your grade: a longer (2,500 word limit) paper due by 4 pm on November 25, on an assigned topic distributed two weeks in advance of the due date • (...)
     
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  45.  2
    Property Theory : Legal and Political Perspectives.James Penner & Michael Otsuka (eds.) - 2018 - Cambridge University Press.
    Property, or property rights, remains one of the most central elements in moral, legal, and political thought. It figures centrally in the work of figures as various as Grotius, Locke, Hume, Smith, Hegel and Kant. This collection of essays brings fresh perspective on property theory, from both legal and political theoretical perspectives, and is essential reading for anyone interested in the nature of property. Edited by two of the world's leading theorists of property, James Penner and Michael Otsuka, this volume (...)
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  46.  37
    Can an Incompatibilist Outfox a Compatibilist Hedgehog?Michael Otsuka - 2014 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 19 (4):456-469.
    This article raises some incompatibilist challenges for, and queries some of the implications of, Ronald Dworkin’s arguments in his "Justice for Hedgehogs" (2011), that responsibility is compatible with both determinism and epiphenomenalism.
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  47. Too Much Property.Michael Otsuka - unknown
    Mike Otsukaʼs book aspires to do more than its title discloses. Libertarianism without Inequality (Oxford University Press, 2003) does not merely aim to reconcile liberty and equality (that is handled without remainder in the first chapter) but to draw the outlines of a complete, and distinctly Lockean, political theory. Rather than starting from first principles, Otsuka explores several specific issues only loosely connected to each other, hoping that these might add up to a complete political vision. Though the discussion is (...)
     
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  48.  44
    How to Be a Libertarian Without Being Inegalitarian.Michael Otsuka - unknown
    Article (English translation of French article in Raisons Politiques).
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  49. Is the Personal Political? The Boundary Between the Public and the Private in the Realm of Distributive Justice.Michael Otsuka - 2001 - Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica 14 (34):609-634.
    English version of: "Il personale e politico? Il confine fra pubblico e privato nella sfera della giustizia distributiva." --- Italian text published in Carter, Ian, Otsuka, Michael and Trincia, Francesco Saverio Discussione su "If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich?" di G.A. Cohen. Iride, XIV. pp. 609-634. ISSN 1122-7893.
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  50.  21
    Discussione Su "If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich?" di G.A. Cohen.Ian Carter, Michael Otsuka & Francesco Saverio Trincia - 2001 - Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica 14 (3):609-634.
    Discussion held in April at a Political Studies Association Roundtable in Manchester, England, on G. A. Cohen’s book If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich?. --- Michael Otsuka's contribution sub-titled: "Il personale e politico? Il confine tra pubblico e private nella sfera della giustizia distributiva" = "Is the personal political? The boundary between the public and the private in the realm of distributive justice.".
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