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Displaying: 1-10 of 1363 documents


1. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Ben Cross Intolerance and Argument Expression
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Most philosophers seem to think that argument expression is not normally a form of intolerance. Call this the ‘argument-friendly view’ of intolerance. In this article, I argue that the case for the argument-friendly view is much weaker than commonly thought. I consider three possible arguments for the argument-friendly view and conclude that all three fail. This leaves us with a choice: either reject the argument-friendly view, or accept it as a feature of the concept of tolerance which has no rational basis apart from our everyday usage of the term.
2. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Joshua Cutts Herbert Marcuse and "False Needs"
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Herbert Marcuse’s claim that people may have superimposed “false needs” (vs. authentic “true needs”) has been criticized by a number of commentators. These critics argue that if all human needs are sociohistorically conditioned, as Marcuse believes, this effectively means that all needs are superimposed on us, and are thus, “false.” I defend Marcuse’s distinction by drawing attention to his expressed definition of false needs as those which perpetuate harm upon satisfaction. Marcuse’s distinction between true and false needs is not a reiteration of the distinction between needs and wants, as his critics claim, but is rather a recognition that in our society, we are forced to need things that ultimately do not lead to our individual (or collective) benefit.
3. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Andrew Franklin-Hall What Parents May Teach Their Children
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Many liberals assume that, while children should not be rigidly indoctrinated, parents may raise them according to their own comprehensive values. Matthew Clayton, however, argues that the reasons for embracing antiperfectionism in politics also apply to parental authority. In this paper, I defend the perfectionist conception of childrearing. I claim that we cannot realistically foster a child’s sense of justice without embedding it in a comprehensive doctrine. Furthermore, I argue that since parents cannot avoid bearing some responsibility for their children’s intial orientation to comprehensive doctrines, they are justified in parenting according to their own views of the valuable and true.
4. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Johannes Kniess Justice in the Social Distribution of Health
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How should we think, from the point of view of distributive justice, about inequalities in health and longevity? Norman Daniels’s influential account derives a social duty to reduce health inequalities from Rawls’s principle of fair equality of opportunity. This paper criticises Daniels’s approach and offers an alternative. To the extent that the basic structure of society shapes people’s opportunities to be healthy, we ought to think of ‘the social bases of health’ directly as a Rawlsian primary social good. The paper attempts to clarify the correct principle for its distribution, and its relationship to other goods that give rise to considerations of justice.
5. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
C. M. Melenovsky The Value of a Non-Ideal
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In The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus gives an extended argument on behalf of the “Open Society.” Instead of claiming that it is uniquely best from some privileged moral perspective, he argues for the Open Society by showing why it is acceptable to many perspectives. In this way, Gaus argues for a liberal market-based society in a way that treats deep diversity as a fundamental feature of social life. However, the argument falters at four important points. When taken together, these four problems significantly limit the significance of Gaus’s conclusions.
6. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Joseph Metz FOMO and Regret for Non-Doings
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An important but underexplored aspect of our negative agency is that it is fitting to regret only a limited subset of our non-doings even though there are many things that we fail to do. This paper examines why it is ill-fitting to regret certain non-doings, arguing that abilities form the primary constraint on the fittingness of this regret. There are many types of abilities, so a central aim of this paper is to clarify which abilities are relevant to such regret. Finally, virtues and further applications of the proposed ability-based account are explored.
7. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Ross Mittiga What’s the Problem with Geo-engineering?
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Many feel a sense of aversion and tragedy about proposals for engineering the climate. Precautionary concerns only partly explain these feelings. For a fuller understanding, we need a thicker conception of the values and ends of political society than “neutralitarian” political theories offer. To this end, I examine how Buddhist and Greek notions of temperance, justice, and freedom bear on the question of geo-engineering. My intention is not to pronounce on whether geo-engineering is morally “right” or “wrong,” but to highlight reasons for thinking it unattractive in a broader sense, thereby strengthening the case for exhausting conventional emissions-reductions options.
8. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
David Atenasio Blameless Participation in Structural Injustice
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According to Iris Marion Young, a structural injustice occurs when members participating in one or more scheme(s) of social coordination act blamelessly, but the schemes, in combination with norms and background conditions, systematically prevent some from developing their capacities and fulfilling their rights. Because participants are mostly blameless, Young argues that traditional individualist theories of responsibility inadequately address structural injustices. Young instead proposes a social connection theory of responsibility, whereby participants in a structural injustice acquire forward-looking responsibilities to remediate the injustice by organizing, voting, protesting and pressuring institutions. In this paper, I argue that Young’s theory of structural injustice conflates several different moral failings, and that when we correctly disambiguate structural injustices, we can successfully address them with traditional individualist theories of responsibility, both forward-looking and backward-looking.
9. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Elizabeth Brake Rebuilding after Disaster: Inequality and the Political Importance of Place
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Liberal egalitarians face unappreciated challenges in explaining why the state should assist citizens in disaster recovery and why the state should ever assist in rebuilding in high-risk areas. Addressing these challenges and justifying state-funded disaster recovery assistance requires invoking the most politically salient aspect of disasters: their tendency to increase social inequality. A liberal egalitarian principle of equal opportunity justifies assistance in recovery, at least for disadvantaged citizens. But further argument is required to show why the state should ever subsidize rebuilding as opposed to relocation, if citizens can have access to equally good opportunities in a low-risk area. I argue that displacement has costs which matter under equal opportunity – but this rationale for disaster recovery extends to other causes of displacement, such as gentrification.
10. Social Theory and Practice: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey Church Liberalism and Meaningfulness: Common Ground in the Perfectionism Debate
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The contemporary debate between perfectionists and anti-perfectionists is at an impasse. This paper does not take sides in this long-standing debate, but finds common ground between both groups in the notion of “meaningfulness,” as developed recently by philosopher Susan Wolf and psychologist Roy Baumeister. This notion is distinct from the good life in that meaningfulness describes formal qualities of a good life, but not its basis and substance. Accordingly, I argue, we can expect far less fundamental disagreement about meaningfulness than about the good life, giving perfectionists a good reason to focus on meaningfulness. In addition, I contend that meaningfulness is a necessary condition for the exercise of our liberty, giving political liberals a good reason to embrace it as well. Finding this common ground, both sides would hold that a legitimate function of government is to foster meaningful options for individual self-determination.