Political theory is contextualist when factual claims about context are part of the justification of normative political judgments. There are different kinds of contextualism depending on whether context is relevant for the formulation and justification of political principles, whether principles themselves are contextually specific, or whether context is only relevant for the application of principles. An important challenge to contextualism is the problem of critical distance: how can theories ensure a critical perspective if facts about the context to be evaluated (...) are also part of the justification for the normative judgments? Tariq Modood and Simon Thompson have defended what they call iterative contextualism, which combines elements of all three kinds of contextualism in an attempt to avoid the problem of critical distance. The present paper discusses Modood and Thompson’s iterative contextualism and whether it manages to avoid the problem of critical distance. (shrink)
It is normally taken for granted that states have a right to control immigration into their territory. When immigration is raised as a normative issue two questions become salient, one about what the right to exclude is, and one about whether and how it might be justified. This paper considers the first question. The paper starts by noting that standard debates about immigration have not addressed what the right to exclude is. Standard debates about immigration furthermore tend to result either (...) in fairly strong cases for open borders or in denials that considerations of justice apply to immigration at all, which results in state discretion positions. This state of debate is both theoretically unsatisfactory and normatively implausible. The paper therefore explores an alternative approach to the right to exclude immigrants from the perspective of recent debates about the territorial rights of states. The right to exclude claimed by states is analysed and it is shown to differ both conceptually and normatively from rights to impose political authority within a territory. The paper finally indicates how this analysis might broaden the focus of debates about immigration and suggest alternative regimes of migration regulation the possibility of which is obscured by traditional justice approaches. (shrink)
Many political theorists of multiculturalism describe their theories as “contextualist.” But it is unclear what “contextualism” means and what difference it makes for political theory. I use a specific prominent example of a multiculturalist discussion, namely Tariq Modood’s argument about “moderate secularism,” as a test case and distinguish between different senses of contextualism. I discuss whether the claim that political theory is contextual in each sense is novel and interesting, and whether contextualism is a distinct feature of political theory of (...) multiculturalism. I argue that the forms of contextualism which concern the scope and methodology of political theory are sensible, but not novel or distinctive of multiculturalism. I then discuss the more controversial forms of contextualism, which I call political and theoretical contextualism. Finally, I apply the distinctions to Modood’s argument. I argue that it is not a form of theoretical contextualism and that theoretical contextualism would in fact undermine arguments for multiculturalist policies of accommodation. (shrink)
Anna Elisabetta Galeotti?s theory of ?toleration as recognition? has been criticised by Peter Jones for being conceptually incoherent, since liberal toleration presupposes a negative attitude to differences, whereas multicultural recognition requires positive affirmation hereof. The paper spells out Galeotti?s justification for recognition as a requirement of liberal justice in detail and asks in what sense the policies supported by Galeotti are policies of recognition. It is argued that Jones misrepresents Galeotti?s theory, insofar as this sense of recognition actually is compatible (...) with liberal toleration. This does not prove Jones?s criticism to be wrong, since the justification may have implications unacknowledged by Galeotti, which might be liberally problematic. The paper considers this problem and possible ways of responding to it, but concludes that Galeotti?s theory is incomplete in respects that need to be filled out in order to secure compatibility with liberalism, and that this may prove problematic. (shrink)
Many contributions to the philosophical debate about conceptual and normative issues raised by the refugee crisis fail to take properly account of the difference between ideal and nonideal theory. This makes several otherwise interesting and apparently plausible contributions to the philosophy of the refugee crisis problematic. They are problematic in the sense that they mix up ideal and nonideal aspirations and assumptions in an incoherent way undermining the proposed views. Two examples of this problem are discussed. The first example is (...) David Miller’s contribution to the conceptual debate about how we should understand refugeehood. The second example is a common argument from the normative debate about how states should discharge their duties to help refugees, namely the claim that states should help in neighboring countries rather than by taking in more asylum seekers. Both are examples of arguments about how we should understand or respond to the refugee crisis, which appear to offer coherent principles for the moral guidance of political actors but which are actually incoherent as principles of practical reasoning for the context they aim to address. (shrink)
Toleration and respect are types of relations between different agents. The standard analyses of toleration and respect are attitudinal; toleration and respect require subjects to have appropriate types of attitudes towards the objects of toleration or respect. The paper investigates whether states can sensibly be described as tolerant or respectful in ways theoretically relevantly similar to the standard analyses. This is a descriptive question about the applicability of concepts rather than a normative question about whether, when and why states should (...) be tolerant or respectful. The problem of institutional application is that institutions in general and the state in particular arguably cannot have attitudes of the required kind. This problem is distinct from, and broader than, well-known problems about whether political toleration is normatively legitimate. To make sense of political toleration or respect, the paper proposes that the analysis of institutional toleration and respect should not be solely agent-centred or patient-centred. The analysis should also include features about the relation itself. We can describe institutions as tolerant or respectful in a sense relevantly similar to the standard analyses if we focus on the public features of the relation between institutions and citizens or groups, without ascribing attitudes in the problematic sense. (shrink)
Multiculturalist theories of recognition consist of explanatory-descriptive social theoretical accounts of the position of the minorities whose predicaments the theories seek to address, together with normative principles generating political implications. Although theories of recognition are often based on illiberal principles or couched in illiberal-sounding language, it is possible to combine proper liberal principles with the kind of social theoretical accounts of minority groups highlighted in multiculturalism. The importance of ‘the social bases of self-respect’ in Rawls’s political liberalism is used to (...) illustrate how a liberal theory of recognition might be constructed, and it is argued that such a theory can capture some, though not all, of the concerns of multiculturalism, even though the resulting ‘politics of recognition’ is neither a ‘politics of difference’ nor a kind of ‘identity politics’. (shrink)
Arguments from stability for liberal nationalism rely on considerations about conditions for the feasibility or stability of liberal political ideals and factual claims about the circumstances under which these conditions are fulfilled in order to argue for nationalist conclusions. Such reliance on factual claims has been criticised by among others G. A. Cohen in other contexts as ideological reifications of social reality. In order to assess whether arguments from stability within liberal nationalism, especially as formulated by David Miller, are vulnerable (...) to a comparable critique, the rationale for their reliance on factual claims is discussed on the basis of a number of concerns in John Rawls’s political liberalism. The concern with stability in liberal nationalism differs from stability in Rawls’s work, mainly because of the stronger non-ideal or ‘realist’ focus of the former. In so far as the ‘realism’ of arguments from stability for liberal nationalism is recognized, they are not vulnerable to the reification charge. But if the arguments are construed as realist, this at the same time makes for other tensions within liberal nationalism. (shrink)
The paper concerns the specific transnational aspects of the ‘cartoons controversy’ over the publication of 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Transnationalism denotes the relationships that are not international or domestic. The paper considers whether the specifically transnational aspects of the controversy are normatively significant, that is, whether transnationalism makes a difference for the applicability or strength of normative considerations concerning publications such as the Danish cartoons. It is argued that, although some of the usual (...) arguments about free speech only or mainly apply domestically, many also apply transnationally; that standard arguments for multicultural recognition are difficult to apply transnationally; and that requirements of respect may have problematic implications if applied to transnational relationships. Keywords: civility; Muhammad cartoons; freedom of speech; global civil society; multicultural recognition; respect; transnational relations Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2010, pp. 101-121. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v3i2.1977. (shrink)
Recognition and toleration are ways of relating to the diversity characteristic of multicultural societies. The article concerns the possible meanings of toleration and recognition, and the conflict that is often claimed to exist between these two approaches to diversity. Different forms or interpretations of recognition and toleration are considered, confusing and problematic uses of the terms are noted, and the compatibility of toleration and recognition is discussed. The article argues that there is a range of legitimate and importantly different conceptions (...) of both toleration and recognition that are often not clearly distinguished, and that compatibility varies across this range and depending on what one considers the conceptions in relation to. (shrink)
Toleration classically denotes a relation between two agents that is characterised by three components: objection, power, and acceptance overriding the objection. Against recent claims that classical toleration is not applicable in liberal democracies and that toleration must therefore either be understood purely attitudinally or purely politically, we argue that the components of classical toleration are crucial elements of contemporary cases of minority accommodation. The concept of toleration is applicable to, and is an important element of descriptions of such cases, provided (...) that one views them as wholes, rather than as sets of isolated relations. We explain this by showing how certain cases of toleration are multi-dimensional and how the descriptive concept of toleration might be understood intersectionally. We exemplify this by drawing on case studies of mosque controversies in Germany and Denmark. Finally, we propose that intersectionality is not only relevant to the descriptive concept of toleration but also captures an important aspect of normative theories of toleration. We illustrate this by discussing ideals of respect-based toleration, which we also apply to the case studies. (shrink)
During the Danish cartoons controversy in 2005–2006, a group of ambassadors to Denmark representing eleven predominantly Muslim countries requested a meeting with the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to protest against the cartoons. Rasmussen interpreted their viewpoint as one of demanding limits to freedom of speech and he ignored their request for a meeting. Drawing on this case study, the article argues that it is an appropriate, and potentially effective, moral criticism of anyone who is in a position of (...) political power—taking into account reasonable constraints of feasibility and practicality—that they have refused to receive information, ideas, or opinions from individuals, or their representatives, with dissenting viewpoints. The article also articulates one possible theoretical ground for such a moral criticism: that they could be violating a fundamental moral right of people to submit information, ideas, or opinions to those who wield power over them and to be meaningfully heard—a right which can span state borders. (shrink)
In the summer of 2014, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the French 2010 law banning face-covering clothing in public spaces, the so-called burqa ban, did not violate the right to freedom of religion. Due to the ‘wide margin of appreciation’, the Court deemed the ban proportionate to the French state’s legitimate aim with the ban of preserving the conditions of ‘living together’. The paper analyses and provides an internal criticism of the Court’s justification for this judgement focusing (...) on the aim of living together and the right to freedom of religion. The Court’s justification presupposes that there is a justification for the ban in terms of the aim of living together, this is a legitimate aim and the ban is a proportional means of pursuing this aim. The paper analyses the Court’s justification and argues that it fails to substantiate all three conditions. (shrink)
This paper sketches some developments in the discussion of liberal nationalism since the early 1990s and proposes a generic understanding of nationalism according to which its main feature is the act of sorting people into members and non-members of the nation with a view to regulating access to political goods linked to the state. One discussion of liberal nationalism that has recently received renewed attention is the relation between nationalism and multiculturalism. Liberal nationalism sees nationalism as a response to increased (...) diversity and involves normative demands on nationalism for accommodating this diversity. In light of the proposed generic understanding of nationalism, the question arises whether such a liberal nationalism is coherent. This question requires us to distinguish between a substantive and a performative perspective on nationalism, raising the possibility that liberal nationalism can be substantively coherent but performatively incoherent. (shrink)
Introductory text for the CRISPP-special issue and Routledge-book on "Compromising on Justice". Also includes a summary of the articles by Steven Wall, Robert B. Talisse, Sune Lægaard, Daniel Weinstock, Enzo Rossi and Fabian Wendt.
This paper provides a theoretical discussion with point of departure in the case of Denmark of some of the theoretical issues concerning the relation liberal states may have to religion in general and religious minorities in particular. Liberal political philosophy has long taken for granted that liberal states have to be religiously neutral. The paper asks what a liberal state is with respect to religion and religious minorities if it is not a strictly religiously neutral state with full separation of (...) church and state and of religion and politics. To illuminate this question, the paper investigates a particular case of an arguably reasonably liberal state, namely the Danish state, which is used as a particular illustration of the more general phenomenon of “moderately secular” states, and considers how one might understand its relations to religion. The paper then considers the applicability to this case of three theoretical concepts drawn from liberal political philosophy, namely neutrality, toleration and recognition, while simultaneously using the case to suggest ways in which standard understandings of these concepts may be problematic and have to be refined. (shrink)
As public awareness of environmental issues and animal welfare has risen, catering to public concerns and views on these issues has become a potentially profitable strategy for marketing a number of product types, of which animal products such as dairy and meat are obvious examples. Our analysis suggests that specific marketing instruments are used to sell animal products by blurring the difference between the paradigms of animal welfare used by producers, and the paradigms of animal welfare as perceived by the (...) public. These instruments rely on ethical, political and sustainable consumption discourses in order to sell one image of animal welfare in intensive animal production while the actual production at the same time presupposes a quite different paradigm of animal welfare. Specifically, product advertising utilizes representations tied to concepts of naturalness in depictions of both animal lives and product processes as “natural”. Product marketing suggests a coherence between nature, production process, and end product, thereby creating associations that the lives of production animals are lived in nature and that their products bring a wholesome and sustainable naturalness to the consumer—thus attempting to display a green, eco-, climate-, and animal friendly production. By analyzing a number of cases from the Scandinavian food market, this paper thus illustrates the tensions between paradigms of animal welfare and concepts of naturalness as these are used in animal product marketing, discusses the ethical implications of this type of marketing communication, and stresses the need for transparency in the area of animal welfare. (shrink)
While scientific inquiry crucially relies on the extraction of patterns from data, we still have a far from perfect understanding of the metaphysics of patterns—and, in particular, of what makes a pattern real. In this paper we derive a criterion of real-patternhood from the notion of conditional Kolmogorov complexity. The resulting account belongs to the philosophical tradition, initiated by Dennett :27–51, 1991), that links real-patternhood to data compressibility, but is simpler and formally more perspicuous than other proposals previously defended in (...) the literature. It also successfully enforces a non-redundancy principle, suggested by Ladyman and Ross, that aims to exclude from real-patternhood those patterns that can be ignored without loss of information about the target dataset, and which their own account fails to enforce. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the connection between accounts of biological teleology and the biocentrist claim that all living beings have a good of their own. I first present the background for biocentrists’ appeal to biological teleology. Then I raise a problem of scope for teleology-based biocentrism and, drawing in part on recent work by Basl and Sandler, I discuss Taylor and Varner’s responses to this problem. I then challenge Basl and Sandler’s own response to the scope problem for its (...) reliance on a selectionist account of organismic teleology. Finally I examine the prospects for a biocentrist response to the problem of scope based on an alternative organisational account of internal teleology. I conclude by assessing the prospects for teleology-based biocentrism. (shrink)
Several authors have argued that contractualism faces a dilemma when it comes to justifying risks generated by socially valuable activities. At the heart of the matter is the question of whether contractualists should adopt an ex post or an ex ante perspective when assessing whether an action or policy is justifiable to each person. In this paper I argue for the modest conclusion that ex post contractualism is a live option notwithstanding recent criticisms raised by proponents of the ex ante (...) perspective. I then consider how an ex post contractualist can best respond to the problem that it seems to prohibit a range of intuitively permissible and socially valuable activities. (shrink)
I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
In this paper I examine the prospects for a rights-based approach to the morality of pure risk-imposition. In particular, I discuss a practical challenge to proponents of the thesis that we have a right against being imposed a risk of harm. According to an influential criticism, a right against risk-imposition will rule out all ordinary activities. The paper examines two strategies that rights theorists may follow in response to this “Paralysis Problem”. The first strategy introduces a threshold for when a (...) risk-imposition is a rights violation. The second strategy drops the claim that rights are absolute and maintains that all rights infringements generate compensation duties. It is argued that both strategies face significant practical problems of their own and that the Paralysis Problem seems fatal for a right against risk-imposition in the absence of an adequate account of the morally relevant threshold risk. (shrink)
Although many ecofeminists acknowledge heterosexism as a problem, a systematic exploration of the potential intersections of ecofeminist and queer theories has yet to be made. By interrogating social constructions of the "natural," the various uses of Christianity as a logic of domination, and the rhetoric of colonialism, this essay finds those theoretical intersections and argues for the importance of developing a queer ecofeminism.
May discovered Diderot's copiously annotated copy of this anti-materialist tract by Hemsterhuis, known to many contemporaries as "the Dutch Plato"; this edition contains May's interesting introduction, a facsimile of the original text, and a transcription of all of Diderot's comments. The comments bear on infelicities of style as well as of thought, though the latter preponderate: the Lettre is not, alas, the product of a first-rate philosophical intellect. Diderot's strong objections to Hemsterhuis' crude theory of a moral organ can be (...) taken as complementing his Refutation of Helvetius, which dates from the same period.—W. L. M. (shrink)
Admitting to some departure from the Aristotelian classification, Jolivet divides human activities into three sorts: labor, play, and contemplation. He warns against the naturalizing effect of the Marxist notion of labor, defends play as the essentially superfluous, and argues for including art in his third category. A proper conception of human wisdom involves all three activities, although the speculative remains the highest, and the love of God is wisdom's fullest perfection. Based on a lecture series, the book is a clear, (...) rather non-technical, and contemporary re-working of some venerable ideas.--W. L. M. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss the aetiological account of biological interests, developed by Varner, in the context of artefactual organisms envisioned by current research in synthetic biology. In “Sections 2–5”, I present Varner's theory and criticise it for being incapable of ascribing non-derivative interests to artefactual organisms due to their lack of a history of natural selection. In “Sections 6–7”, I develop a new alternative to Varner's account, building on the organisational theory of biological teleology and function. I argue that (...) the organisational account of biological interest is superior to Varner's aetiological account because it can accommodate both artefactual and naturally evolved organisms, provides a non-arbitrary and practical way of determining biological interests, supports the claim that organisms have interests in a sense in which artefacts do not, and avoids the possibility of there being a conflict between what an organismic part is supposed to do and what is in the interest of the organism. (shrink)
Pucelle tries to show how the idea of personal liberty is central to Green's ethics. Green's criticisms of other philosophers and the historical context of his philosophy are especially well handled. --W. L. M.
This paper discusses a recent solution to the problem of artifact phantom functions by Beth Preston. A phantom function is a function associated with a kind of artifact that it is structurally incapable of performing. Preston proposes a criterion of artifact proper function according to which phantom functions can be proper functions. This paper argues that Preston’s criterion cannot ground the teleological and normative aspects definitive of proper functions and that the proposed criterion is not consistent with Preston’s account of (...) how copies of novel prototypes acquire proper functions. The paper defends an understanding of phantom functions suggested in earlier work by Preston. (shrink)
The naive theory of properties states that for every condition there is a property instantiated by exactly the things which satisfy that condition. The naive theory of properties is inconsistent in classical logic, but there are many ways to obtain consistent naive theories of properties in nonclassical logics. The naive theory of classes adds to the naive theory of properties an extensionality rule or axiom, which states roughly that if two classes have exactly the same members, they are identical. In (...) this paper we examine the prospects for obtaining a satisfactory naive theory of classes. We start from a result by Ross Brady, which demonstrates the consistency of something resembling a naive theory of classes. We generalize Brady’s result somewhat and extend it to a recent system developed by Andrew Bacon. All of the theories we prove consistent contain an extensionality rule or axiom. But we argue that given the background logics, the relevant extensionality principles are too weak. For example, in some of these theories, there are universal classes which are not declared coextensive. We elucidate some very modest demands on extensionality, designed to rule out this kind of pathology. But we close by proving that even these modest demands cannot be jointly satisfied. In light of this new impossibility result, the prospects for a naive theory of classes are bleak. (shrink)
This paper presents a range of new triviality proofs pertaining to naïve truth theory formulated in paraconsistent relevant logics. It is shown that excluded middle together with various permutation principles such as A → (B → C)⊩B → (A → C) trivialize naïve truth theory. The paper also provides some new triviality proofs which utilize the axioms ((A → B)∧ (B → C)) → (A → C) and (A → ¬A) → ¬A, the fusion connective and the Ackermann constant. An (...) overview over various ways to formulate Leibniz’s law in non-classical logics and two new triviality proofs for naïve set theory are also provided. (shrink)
Relevant logics have traditionally been viewed as paraconsistent. This paper shows that this view of relevant logics is wrong. It does so by showing forth a logic which extends classical logic, yet satisfies the Entailment Theorem as well as the variable sharing property. In addition it has the same S4-type modal feature as the original relevant logic E as well as the same enthymematical deduction theorem. The variable sharing property was only ever regarded as a necessary property for a logic (...) to have in order for it to not validate the so-called paradoxes of implication. The Entailment Theorem on the other hand was regarded as both necessary and sufficient. This paper shows that the latter theorem also holds for classical logic, and so cannot be regarded as a sufficient property for blocking the paradoxes. The concept of suppression is taken up, but shown to be properly weaker than that of variable sharing. (shrink)
Theorists analyzing the concept of disease on the basis of the notion of dysfunction consider disease to be dysfunction requiring. More specifically, dysfunction-requiring theories of disease claim that for an individual to be diseased certain biological facts about it must be the case. Disease is not wholly a matter of evaluative attitudes. In this paper, I consider the dysfunction-requiring component of Wakefield’s hybrid account of disease in light of the artifactual organisms envisioned by current research in synthetic biology. In particular, (...) I argue that the possibility of artifactual organisms and the case of oncomice and other bred or genetically modified strains of organism constitute a significant objection to Wakefield’s etiological account of the dysfunction requirement. I then develop a new alternative understanding of the dysfunction requirement that builds on the organizational theory of function. I conclude that my suggestion is superior to Wakefield’s theory because it (a) can accommodate both artifactual and naturally evolved organisms, (b) avoids the possibility of there being a conflict between what an organismic part is supposed to do and the health of the organism, and (c) provides a nonarbitrary and practical way of determining whether dysfunction occurs. (shrink)