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1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Bruce Baum On the Political Sociology of Intersectional Equality and Difference: Insights from Axel Honneth’s Recognition Theory
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This article contends that Axel Honneth’s critical social theory provides a compelling general framework with which to map out the political sociology of social equality in a way that takes due account of class-based inequalities, social identity differences, and ecological challenges of contemporary globalized societies. Honneth joins an emphasis on equal respect for all—a core aspect of equality in modern democratic societies—with an account of social esteem recognition—which establishes evaluative distinctions among people—in a way that illuminates the interplay of equality and difference. This is so, I argue, even though Honneth himself has focused on struggles for recognition and social freedom rather than equality, and despite some notable limitations of his political sociology.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Samuel Director Sober Thoughts on Drunken Consent: Intoxication and Consent to Sexual Relations
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Drunken sex is common. Despite how common drunken sex is, we think very uncritically about it. In this paper, I want to examine whether drunk individuals can consent to sex. Specifically, I answer this question: suppose that an individual, D, who is drunk but can still engage in reasoning and communication, agrees to have sex with a sober individual, S; is D’s consent to sex with S morally valid? I will argue that, within a certain range of intoxication, an individual who is drunk can give valid consent to have sex with an individual who is sober.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Daniel Koltonski But I’ve Got My Own Life to Live: Personal Pursuits and the Demands of Morality
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The dominant response to Peter Singer’s defense of an extremely demanding duty of aid argues that an affluent person’s duty of aid is limited by her moral entitlement to live her own life. This paper argues that this entitlement provides a basis not for limiting an affluent person’s duty of aid but rather for the claim that she too is wronged by a world marked by widespread desperate need; and the wrong she suffers is a distinctive one: the activation of a duty of aid so demanding that it dominates her life, crowding out her own valuable projects and involvements.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Lars J. K. Moen Making Sense of Full Compliance
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The full compliance assumption has been the focus of much recent criticism of ideal theory. Making this assumption, critics argue, is to ignore the important issue of how to actually make individuals compliant. In this article, I show why this criticism is misguided by identifying the key role full compliance plays in modelling fairness. But I then redirect the criticism by showing how it becomes appropriate when Rawls and other ideal theorists expect their model of fairness to guide real-world political practice. Attempts to establish institutions conforming to this ideal could have undesirable consequences and might even undermine fairness itself.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Jake Monaghan Broken Windows, Naloxone, and Experiments in Policing
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The practice of equipping police officers with naloxone has generated controversy within the profession. I adjudicate the disagreement in this article. I diagnose the dispute as rooted in a philosophical account of professional, role-based obligations. Parties to the debate appear to agree that what the police are permitted to do is determined in part by the (disputed) essential goal of the police profession. Instead, I argue that we should make room for “experiments in working.” Finally, I argue that naloxone use by police is an experiment in working that falls squarely within the tradition of order maintenance policing.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Shin Osawa Social Promotion of Meaningful Work as a Project of Democratising Society: A Liberal Perfectionist View
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In this article, I argue that the state should promote meaningful work, defending a liberal perfectionist politics for this purpose. To construct my argument, I critically engage with Andrea Veltman’s view that the state should not promote meaningful work because it infringes on autonomy in people’s choice of work. I argue that authentically meaningful work achieved in the context of this autonomy requires flourishing liberal democracy, but such democracy calls for the state’s promotion of meaningful work. Carole Pateman’s insight that workplace democracy nurtures people’s political agency informs my argument. I also address objections concerning state neutrality and empirical validity.
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Tom Parr Automation, Unemployment, and Taxation
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Automation can bring the risk of technological unemployment, as employees are replaced by machines that can carry out the same or similar work at a fraction of the cost. Some believe that the appropriate response is to tax automation. In this paper, I explore the justifiability of view, maintaining that we can embrace automation so long as we compensate those employees whose livelihoods are destroyed by this process by creating new opportunities for employment. My contribution in this paper is important not only because I develop a theoretical framework that we can use to resolve this urgent policy dispute—a dispute that has been discussed extensively by labour economists, tax lawyers, and policymakers, but largely neglected by political philosophers—but also because my analysis sheds lights on a wider range of controversies relating to the moral and political importance of unemployment.
8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Sergei Sazonov Private Duty Creation in Theories of Distributive Justice
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Historical entitlement theories of property rights, which claim that individuals can acquire moral property rights over natural resources by appropriating them, traditionally face a strong objection: it is widely implausible that a single individual can unilaterally impose duties on everyone around him and yet, apparently, this is exactly what such theories allow. In this essay, I argue that the same problem appears in all other theories of distributive justice and if this problem was a reason to reject historical entitlement theories, it would also be a reason to reject all rival theories. Which means that as long, as one is committed to any theory of distributive justice at all, she, at the risk of inconsistency, cannot rely on the aforementioned objection to criticize historical entitlement theories.
9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
Janosch Prinz Introduction to the Special Issue on Realist and Pragmatist Approaches to Democratic Legitimacy
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10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
Ugur Aytac Political Realism and Epistemic Constraints
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This article argues that Bernard Williams’ Critical Theory Principle (CTP) is in tension with his realist commitments, i.e., deriving political norms from practices that are inherent to political life. The Williamsian theory of legitimate state power is based on the central importance of the distinction between political rule and domination. Further, Williams supplements the normative force of his theory with the CTP, i.e., the principle that acceptance of a justification regarding power relations ought not to be created by the very same coercive power. I contend that the CTP is an epistemic criterion of reflective (un)acceptability which is not strictly connected to the question of whether people are dominated or not. I show that there are cases of non-domination that fail the epistemic requirements of the CTP.
11. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
Samuel Bagg Realism against Legitimacy: For a Radical, Action-Oriented Political Realism
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This article challenges the association between realist methodology and ideals of legitimacy. Many who seek a more “realistic” or “political” approach to political theory replace the familiar orientation towards a state of (perfect) justice with a structurally similar orientation towards a state of (sufficient) legitimacy. As a result, they fail to provide more reliable practical guidance, and wrongly displace radical demands. Rather than orienting action towards any state of affairs, I suggest that a more practically useful approach to political theory would directly address judgments, by comparing the concrete possibilities for action faced by real political actors.
12. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
Ilaria Cozzaglio Legitimacy between Acceptance and Acceptability: A Subjects-First View
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Political realists argue that the concept of political legitimacy should be linked to subjects’ beliefs, while still offering normative guidance. In this article, I suggest doing so by referring to the concepts of acceptance and acceptability. I argue that a regime is legitimate if its power is accepted by subjects, provided that such acceptance meets the requirements of acceptability: subjects’ beliefs about the regime’s legitimacy need to successfully satisfy three requirements—coherence, fact-sensitivity, and politics-sensitivity—via entering public debate. I rely on pragmatism to investigate the link between subjects’ beliefs and their experience of facing political authority.
13. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
Thomas Fossen Political Legitimacy as a Problem of Judgment: What Distinguishes Moralist, Realist, and Pragmatist Approaches?
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This paper examines the differences between moralist, realist, and pragmatist approaches to political legitimacy by articulating their largely implicit views of judgment. Three claims are advanced. First, the salient opposition among approaches to legitimacy is not between “moralism” and “realism.” Recent realist proposals for rethinking legitimacy share with moralist views a distinctive form, called “normativism”: a quest for knowledge of principles that solve the question of legitimacy. This assumes that judging legitimacy is a matter of applying such principles to a case at hand. Second, neither Rawls nor Habermas is a normativist about political legitimacy. The principles of legitimacy they proffer claim to express rather than adjudicate the legitimacy of a liberal-democratic regime, and thus cannot solve the question of legitimacy at a fundamental level. But perhaps we should question the normativist aspiration to theoretically resolving the problem to begin with. My third claim is that a “pragmatist” approach enables us to rethink political legitimacy more deeply by shifting focus from the articulation of principles to the activity of judging. Implicit in Rawls’s and Habermas’s theories I then find clues towards an alternative account of judgment, in which the question of legitimacy calls not for theoretical resolution but for ongoing practical engagement.
14. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
Janosch Prinz, Enzo Rossi Financial Power and Democratic Legitimacy: How to Think Realistically about Public Debt
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To what extent are questions of sovereign debt a matter for political rather than scientific or moral adjudication? We answer that question by defending three claims. We argue that (i) moral and technocratic takes on sovereign debt tend to be ideological in a pejorative sense of the term, and that therefore (ii) sovereign debt should be politicised all the way down. We then show that this sort of politicisation need not boil down to the crude Realpolitik of debtor-creditor power relations—a conclusion that would leave no room for normative theory, among other problems. Rather, we argue that (iii) in a democratic context, a realist approach to politics centred on what Bernard Williams calls ‘The Basic Legitimation Demand’ affords a deliberative approach to the normative evaluation of public debt policy options.
15. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
Peter J. Verovšek A Realistic European Story of Peoplehood: The Future of the European Union beyond Williams's Basic Legitimation Demand
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The divisions emanating from the Eurozone crisis have led political realists to argue that European identity should be conceived of via “basic legitimation demand” (Williams) that prioritizes the creation of order in backward-looking, non-utopian terms. In contrast, I suggest that Europe would do better by building an ethically-constitutive “story of peoplehood” (Smith) that looks both backward and forward. I argue that the EU should build on the ideals drawn from the continent’s shared past as well as its desire to retake control from the global economic forces that threaten democratic political sovereignty in the twenty-first century.
16. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
Manon Westphal For an Agonistic Element in Realist Legitimacy
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The article shows that an uncritical view of domination is a weakness of current accounts of realist legitimacy and it argues that an agonistic supplement can help overcome that weakness. Two accounts of realist legitimacy are discussed: the moral minimum account and the acceptance account. In each case, certain modifications of the argument are needed to establish a distance from moralism, but these modifications create an indifference to domination. The incorporation of an agonistic principle into realist legitimacy can solve this problem. The agonistic case for effective possibilities for contestation endows realist legitimacy with a critical stance towards arrangements that are unresponsive to criticism on the part of those who are subject to them without, however, introducing a moralist argument.
17. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1
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18. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 4
Lillian Cicerchia Why Does Class Matter?
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This article explores an under-examined theme, which is who or what is the working class and what is wrong with the situation that members of this class share. It argues that class divisions impose a unique harm for a diverse and interdependent group within capitalist societies both in spite and because of differences among group members. Class matters not just because it creates economic groups in which some are rich and others are poor, but because competition creates conditions that militate against solidarity, toward cleavage and conflict. Class is a constraint on collective self-determination and, therefore, a source of domination.
19. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 4
Christopher W. Love The Epistemic Value of Civil Disagreement
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In this article, I argue that the practice of civil disagreement has robust epistemic benefits and that these benefits enable meaningful forms of reconciliation—across worldview lines and amid the challenging information environment of our age. I then engage two broad groups of objections: either that civil disagreement opposes, rather than promotes, clarity, or else that it does little to help it. If successful, my account gives us reason to include civil disagreement among what Mill calls “the real morality of public discussion,” a fact that should stir us to take more seriously the decline of civility in contemporary life.
20. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 47 > Issue: 4
Josh Milburn, Sara Van Goozen Counting Animals in War: First Steps towards an Inclusive Just-War Theory
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War is harmful to animals, but few have considered how such harm should affect assessments of the justice of military actions. In this article, we propose a way in which concern for animals can be included within the just-war framework, with a focus on necessity and proportionality. We argue that counting animals in war will not make just-war theory excessively demanding, but it will make just-war theory more humane. By showing how animals can be included in our proportionality and necessity assessments, we provide a crucial first step towards developing an animal-inclusive account of just-war theory.