In Andrea Sangiovanni’s words, practice-dependent theorists hold that “[t]he content, scope, and justification of a conception of [a given value] depends on the structure and form of the practices that the conception is intended to govern”. They have tended to present this as methodologically innovative, but here I point to the similarities between the methodological commitments of contemporary practice-dependent theorists and others, particularly P. F. Strawson in his Freedom and Resentment and Bernard Williams in general. I suggest that by looking (...) at what Strawson and Williams did, we can add to the reasons for adopting one form or another of practice-dependence. The internal complexity of the practices we hope our principles will govern may require it. However, this defence of practice-dependence also puts pressure on self-identified practice-dependence theorists, suggesting that they need to do more work to justify the interpretations of the practices their theories rely on. (shrink)
In this rejoinder to Erman and Möller’s reply to our “Political Norms and Moral Values” we clarify the sense in which there can be specifically political values, and expound the practice-dependent notion of legitimacy adopted by our preferred version of political realism.
This paper has three aims. First, it argues that the present use of ‘ideal theory’ is unhelpful, and that an earlier and apparently more natural use focusing on perfection would be preferable. Second, it has tried to show that revision of the use of the term would better expose two distinctive normative issues, and illustrated that claim by showing how some contributors to debates about ideal theory have gone wrong partly through not distinguishing them. Third, in exposing those two distinct (...) normative issues, it has revealed a particular way in which ideal theory even under the more specific, revisionary definition will often be central to working out what to do in non-ideal circumstances. By clarifying the terms on which debates over ideal and non-ideal theory should take place, and highlighting the particular problems each deals with, it tries to clear the ground for turning to the actual problem, which is what to do in our non-ideal and often tragic circumstances. (shrink)
In this paper, I seek to undermine G.A. Cohen ’s polemical use of a metaethical claim he makes in his article, ‘ Facts and Principles’, by arguing that that use requires an unsustainable equivocation between epistemic and logical grounding. I begin by distinguishing three theses that Cohen has offered during the course of his critique of Rawls and contractualism more generally, the foundationalism about grounding thesis, the justice as non-regulative thesis, and the justice as all-encompassing thesis, and briefly argue that (...) they are analytically independent of each other. I then offer an outline of the foundationalism about grounding thesis, characterising it, as Cohen does, as a demand of logic. That thesis claims that whenever a normative principle is dependent on a fact, it is so dependent in virtue of some other principle. I then argue that although this is true as a matter of logic, it, as Cohen admits, cannot be true of actual justifications, since logic cannot tell us anything about the truth as opposed to the validity of arguments. Facts about a justification cannot then be decisive for whether or not a given argument violates the foundationalism about grounding thesis. As long as, independently of actual justifications, theorists can point to plausible logically grounding principles, as I argue contractualists can, Cohen ’s thesis lacks critical bite. (shrink)
This paper discusses the criteria for acceptably holding citizens partly responsible for wrongs their state or its agents commit. Some proposed criteria are not, it argues, appropriately sensitive to the particular coercive relation between state and citizen. Others, which are, conceive of it wrongly and fail to match our judgments about a range of cases. Alternative criteria of breadth and joint authorship, built around Christopher Kutz's account of participation, better match these considered judgments as well as linking them to a (...) more powerful theoretical framework. Understanding citizens' responsibility will mean understanding these criteria more fully. (shrink)
In this paper I try to illuminate the Rawlsian architectonic through an interpretation of what Rawls’ Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy say about Rousseau. I argue that Rawls’ emphasis there when discussing Rousseau on interpreting amour-propre so as to make it compatible with a life in at least some societies draws attention to, and helps explicate, an analogous feature of his own work, the strains of commitment broadly conceived. Both are centrally connected with protecting a sense of self (...) which is vital for one’s own agency. This allows us to appreciate better than much of the literature presently does the requirement for Rawls that justice and the good are congruent, that a society of justice does not disfigure citizens’ ability to live out lives relatively unmarked by relations of domination. Some comments on G. A. Cohen’s critiques of Rawls are made. (shrink)
Tom Dougherty has recently defended the claim that all deception that is consequential for sex is seriously wrong. This discussion piece argues that deception does not have to seriously undermine consent and that when sexual deception is seriously wrong, that may not only be to do with its relation to consent. In doing so, it defends distinguishing between the seriousness of deceptions, whether these are sexual or in other areas of life, and so defends what Dougherty calls the lenient view.
Contemporary egalitarian political philosophy has become increasingly interested in the ways the international order may protect or undermine states’ capacities to deliver domestic egalitarianism. This paper draws on Miriam Ronzoni’s helpful discussion of the various different ways in which both philosophical and practical commitments can move beyond a contrast between a world of closed societies and a cosmopolis to explore how successful the theorizing prompted by that interest has been. Problems scholars like Peter Mair and Wolfgang Streeck have suggested the (...) EU faces also suggest that there are difficulties views like Ronzoni’s have to overcome to usefully orient us towards the threats posed by the interactions between domestic and international politics. These problems can be usefully framed by what the intellectual historian István Hont called jealousy of trade and used to understand debates between members of what is commonly understood as the republican tradition, especially in the eighteenth century. Jealousy of trade revolves around the way that international economic competition intensifies international political competition, requiring the restructuring of domestic politics to ensure the survival of the state, which then further intensifies international economic competition. The ways of navigating and controlling the increasing costs of an increasingly belligerent international order eighteenth century political theorists found help illustrate the challenges contemporary internationalising egalitarians face. Isaac Nakhimovsky’s work on Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s closed commercial state is, I argue, specially useful given the similarity of some of Fichte’s commitments to those of contemporary internationalising egalitarians. (shrink)
This review essay discusses two recent attempts to reform the framework in which issues of international and global justice are discussed: Iris Marion Young's ?social connection' model and the practice-dependent approach, here exemplified by Ayelet Banai, Miriam Ronzoni and Christian Schemmel's edited collection. I argue that while Young's model may fit some issues of international or global justice, it misconceives the problems that many of them pose. Indeed, its difficulties point precisely in the direction of practice dependence as it is (...) presented by Banai et al. I go on to discuss what seem to be the strengths of that method, and particularly Banai et al.'s defence of it against the common claim that it is biased towards the status quo. I also discuss Andrea Sangiovanni and Kate MacDonald's contributions to the collection. (shrink)
There are limits on the duty to tell the truth. Sometimes, because of the undesirable consequences of honesty, we are morally required not to reveal certain truths and can even be required to lie. In this article, we explore the implications of this uncontroversial claim for the practice of political philosophers. We argue that, given the consequences of misunderstandings and misrepresentations that might occur, political philosophers will sometimes be under a moral duty not to disseminate their research and, in highly (...) exceptional cases, have a moral duty to lie outright. (shrink)