This article examines how a just society must address the needs of its imprudent members. I defend compulsory insurance as an answer to this question. It has been assumed that compulsory insurance can only be justified on paternalistic grounds. I argue that this assumption is incorrect, and defend non-paternalistic compulsory insurance. To display the merits of NPCI, I identify a trilemma that arises for views about how to address the needs of the imprudent, including libertarian and so-called ‘ luck -egalitarian’ (...) views. I then suggest that NPCI enables us to escape the trilemma. (shrink)
This paper examines the moral case for a right to religious accommodation, which requires that religious conduct be free of any serious burdens placed on it by the state. Two different types of normative argument for this right are outlined and rejected. The first appeals to religion as a ‘basic good’, and the second to religion as an ‘intense preference’. In place of these, I suggest that a third type of argument has greater prospects of success. Religious accommodation is justified (...) on the grounds that religious conduct is a ‘derivative good’— that is, it derives its value from its being necessary for something else, namely, the integrity of the religious person. (shrink)
This article develops the argument that the state must provide parental subsidies if, and to the extent that, individuals would, under certain specified hypothetical conditions, purchase ‘insurance cover’ that would provide the funds they need for adequate childrearing. I argue that most citizens would sign up to an insurance scheme, in which they receive a guarantee of a means-tested parental subsidy in return for an obligation to pay a progressive income tax to fund the scheme. This argument from insurance bolsters (...) the weaker case that proponents of parental subsidies might offer were they to rely exclusively on arguments from fair play and efficiency. (shrink)
Policies that shift the costs of higher education from the taxpayer to the university student or graduate are increasingly popular, yet they have not been subjected to a thorough normative analysis. This paper provides a critical survey of the standard arguments that have been used in the public debate on higher education funding. These arguments are found to be wanting. In their place, the paper offers a more systematic approach for dealing with the normative issues raised by the funding of (...) higher education. This approach is drawn from the political theory of John Rawls, whose view seeks to reconcile the values of equality, efficiency, and liberty. I show that, contrary to what we may think at first, an egalitarian approach like Rawls’ does not in principle rule out policies that shift the funding burden from taxpayers to students or graduates. Which funding policy that approach selects as most fair will instead depend on the likely impact on the lifetime income prospects of the worst-off group in society, and this is a question which will need to be settled by empirical evidence. (shrink)
This paper provides a critical examination of the strongest defenses of the pure lifetime view, according to which justice requires taking only people's whole lives as relevant when assessing and establishing their distributive entitlements and obligations. The paper proposes that we reject a pure lifetime view and replace it with an alternative view, on which some time-specific considerations--that is to say, considerations about how people fare at specific points in time--have nonderivative weight in determining what our obligations are to them.
Racial profiling appears to be morally more troubling when the racial group that is the object of the profile suffers from background injustice. This article examines two accounts of this intuition. The responsibility-based account maintains that racial profiling is morally more problematic if the higher offender rate within the profiled group is the result of social injustices for which other groups in society are responsible. The expressive harm based account maintains that racial profiling is more problematic if it makes background (...) injustice vivid and thereby causes the profiled to feel resentment. I raise problems with both accounts and suggest a third account. On the humiliation-based account, individuals who are subjected to racial profiling in a context of background injustice are placed in a situation in which they cannot prevent appearing to onlookers in a demeaning way. (shrink)
In this paper we ask whether liberal egalitarians can endorse workfare policies that require that welfare recipients should work in return for their welfare benefits. In particular, we focus on the fairness-based case for workfare, which holds that people should be responsible for their own welfare since they would otherwise impose unfair costs on others. Two versions of the fairness-based case are considered: The first defends workfare on the grounds that it would form part of an unemployment insurance scheme that (...) individuals would endorse under certain hypothetical conditions that are salient for the purposes of determining just public policy. The second appeals to the notion of reciprocity in order to justify the requirement that people work for their benefits. We cast doubt on both of these arguments for workfare. Neither argument shows that the unconditional provision of welfare benefits is unjust; hence, the fairness case for workfare is inconclusive. (shrink)
This article reconstructs the main arguments in John Locke’s first political writings, the highly rhetorical, and often obscure, Two Tracts on Government . The Tracts support the government’s right to impose religious ceremonies on its people, an astonishing fact given Locke’s famous defense of toleration in his later works. The reconstruction of the Tracts developed here allows us to see that rather than a pessimistic view of the prospects for peace under religious diversity, what mainly animates the young Locke is (...) a desire to defend the rule of law against an anarchical conception of religious freedom. The article also argues that the evolution of Locke’s thinking on religious freedom was in large part governed by Locke’s attempt to interpret religious freedom in a way that avoids its having anarchical implications. (shrink)
How, exactly, must we strike the balance between security and equality? Must we insist, out of respect for the equality of persons, that the police refrain from using ethnic profiling and opt for some other strategy in their pursuit of terrorists, or must we allow the police to continue with this policy, which seems to sacrifice equality for the sake of security? This paper assesses the ethical status of ethnic profiling from the perspective of the ideal of equality. The paper (...) shows how the ethical status of ethnic profiling changes depending on how exactly we specify the egalitarian ideal. Furthermore, it argues that on a plausible interpretation of the ideal of equality, ethnic profiling is not in principle objectionable. (shrink)
According to the most influential contemporary reading of John Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration, his main argument against religious persecution is unsuccessful. That argument holds that coercion is ineffective as a means of instilling religious beliefs in its victims. I propose a different reading of the Letter. Locke's main consideration against persecution is not the unsuccessful belief-based argument just outlined, but what I call the sincerity argument. He believes that religious coercion is irrational because it is ineffective as a means of (...) inculcating the right intentions in people. Once this alternative argument is placed at its centre, the Letter is seen to be a more fertile source of political argument than is suggested by alternative readings. In particular, the sincerity argument gives us a powerful reason for rejecting state moral paternalism, the doctrine that the state may use coercion to make people morally virtuous. If moral virtue depends upon people having the right intentions, and if coercion is ineffective as a means of instilling the right intentions in people, then state moral paternalism is ineffective and hence irrational. (shrink)
One of the most distinctive features of Ronald Dworkin’s egalitarian theory is its commitment to holding individuals responsible for the costs to others of their ambitions. This commitment has received much criticism. Drawing on Dworkin’s latest statement of his position in Justice for Hedgehogs, we suggest that it seems to be in tension with another crucial element of Dworkin’s own theory, namely, its endorsement of the importance of people leading authentic lives – lives that reflect their own values. We examine (...) this tension between responsibility and authenticity, and some strategies Dworkin does and could deploy to defuse it, which we think are unsuccessful. We then propose a solution for reconciling the demands of responsibility and authenticity, which is, so we claim, friendly to Dworkin’s fundamental commitments but which leads to a revisionist interpretation of the demands of equality of resources. (shrink)
When skilled individuals emigrate from developing states to developed states, they leave a burdened state behind and bring their valuable human capital to a state that enjoys vast advantages by comparison. Most of the normative debate to date on this so-called ‘brain drain’ has focused on the duties that skilled emigrants owe to their home state after they emigrate. This article shifts the focus to the question of whether their host state acquires special duties toward their home state and argues (...) for an affirmative answer to that question. After identifying the conditions under which ‘exploitative free-riding’ can occur, the article shows that the brain drain is a case of exploitation that gives rise to special duties of compensation for developed host states. (shrink)
In this comment, I reply to two objections John Tate raises against my discussion of the trajectory of Locke's ideas on toleration Tate maintains that I misunderstand the role of natural law and civil peace in Locke's thought. I defend my interpretation of the role of natural law and show that Tate is mistaken in his claim that Locke's concern to preserve civil peace conflicted with his separate concern to protect individual rights.
According to Cécile Laborde, persons with religious commitments that are incidentally burdened by generally applicable laws should, under certain circumstances, be provided with an exemption from those laws. Labore’s justification for this view is that religious commitments are a type of commitment with which a person must comply if she is to maintain her integrity. I argue that Laborde´s account is insufficiently demanding in terms of the other-regarding attitudes it expects people to have before they can make claims to exemptions (...) based on their integrity. The reason for this is that Laborde’s account rests on what I call a ‘non-moralised’ view of integrity. I raise some criticisms of this view and defend an alternative, ‘moralised’ view of integrity, according to which a religious person’s integrity depends on whether the practice she wishes to perform complies with certain moral constraints. (shrink)
Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Volume 21, Issue 3, Page 249-268, August 2022. When skilled individuals emigrate from developing states to developed states, they leave a burdened state behind and bring their valuable human capital to a state that enjoys vast advantages by comparison. Most of the normative debate to date on this so-called ‘brain drain’ has focused on the duties that skilled emigrants owe to their home state after they emigrate. This article shifts the focus to the question of whether (...) their host state acquires special duties toward their home state and argues for an affirmative answer to that question. After identifying the conditions under which ‘exploitative free-riding’ can occur, the article shows that the brain drain is a case of exploitation that gives rise to special duties of compensation for developed host states. (shrink)
Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Ahead of Print. When skilled individuals emigrate from developing states to developed states, they leave a burdened state behind and bring their valuable human capital to a state that enjoys vast advantages by comparison. Most of the normative debate to date on this so-called ‘brain drain’ has focused on the duties that skilled emigrants owe to their home state after they emigrate. This article shifts the focus to the question of whether their host state acquires special (...) duties toward their home state and argues for an affirmative answer to that question. After identifying the conditions under which ‘exploitative free-riding’ can occur, the article shows that the brain drain is a case of exploitation that gives rise to special duties of compensation for developed host states. (shrink)