Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Compromising on Justice" - Four Papers

"Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy" volume 16, issue 4 (September 2013), is a special issue on "Compromising on Justice".

Here are the introduction and four of the articles:

* "Introduction: Compromising on Justice" [pdf]
by Fabian Wendt

* "Sustaining Democracy: Folk Epistemology and Social Conflict" [pdf] by Robert B. Talisse

"When political philosophers ask whether there is a philosophical justification for democracy, they are most frequently concerned with one of two queries. The first has to do with the relative merits of democracy as compared with other regimes. The second query has to do with the moral bindingness of democratic outcomes. But there is a third query we may be engaging when we are looking for a philosophical justification of democracy: what reason can be given to democratic citizens to pursue democratic means of social change when they are confronted with a democratic result that seems to them seriously objectionable or morally intolerable? In this paper I develop an epistemological response to the third query. The thesis is that we have sufficient epistemological reasons to be democrats. The epistemological norms that we take ourselves to be governed by can be satisfied only under certain social conditions, and these social conditions are best secured under democracy."

* "Toleration Out of Respect?"
by Sune Lægaard

"Under conditions of pluralism different cultures, interests or values can come into conflict, which raises the problem of how to secure peaceful co-existence. The idea of toleration historically emerged as an answer to this problem. Recently Rainer Forst has argued that toleration should not just be based on a modus vivendi designed to secure peaceful co-existence, but should be based on moral reasons. Forst therefore advances what he calls the ‘respect conception’ of toleration as an in itself morally desirable type of relationship, which is furthermore the only conception of toleration that avoids various so-called ‘paradoxes of toleration’. The paper first examines whether Forst’s respect conception can be applied descriptively to distinguish between actual patterns of behaviour and classify different acts of toleration. Then the focus is shifted to toleration out of respect as a normative prescription, which Forst presents as a requirement of justice. At both levels, it is argued that Forst’s respect conception is problematic since it presupposes that answers to very substantial normative questions, which are precisely what people tend to disagree on under conditions of pluralism, are already at hand. The respect conception therefore seems to be at best a theoretical idea belonging in ideal-theory, not a useful practical solution to actual conflicts under conditions of pluralism."

* "Consensus, Compromise, Justice and Legitimacy"
by Enzo Rossi

"Could the notion of compromise help us overcoming – or at least negotiating – the frequent tension, in normative political theory, between the realistic desideratum of peaceful coexistence and the idealistic desideratum of justice? That is to say, an analysis of compromise may help us move beyond the contrast between two widespread contrasting attitudes in contemporary political philosophy: ‘fiat iustitia, pereat mundus’, on the one side, and ‘salus populi suprema lex’, on the other side. More specifically, compromise may provide the backbone of a conception of legitimacy that mediates between idealistic (or moralistic) and realistic (or pragmatic) desiderata of political theory, i.e. between the aspiration to peace and the aspiration to justice. In other words, this paper considers whether an account of compromise could feature in a viable realistic conception of political legitimacy, in much the same way in which consensus features in more idealistic conceptions of legitimacy (a move that may be attributed to some realist theorists, especially Bernard Williams). My conclusions, however, are largely sceptical: I argue that grounding legitimacy in any kind of normatively salient agreement does require the trappings of idealistic political philosophy, for better or – in my view – worse."

* "Peace Beyond Compromise"
by Fabian Wendt

"Our societies are marked not only by disagreements on the good life, but also by disagreements on justice. This motivates philosophers as divergent as John Gray and Chandran Kukathas to focus their normative political theories on peace instead of justice. In this article, I discuss how peace should be conceived if peace is to be a more realistic goal than justice, not presupposing a moral consensus. I distinguish two conceptions of peace to be found in the literature. One, ordinary peace, conceives of peace as non-violent coexistence based on modus vivendi arrangements. Modus vivendi arrangements, in turn, are explained as a special kind of compromise. Ordinary peace does not presuppose a moral consensus and is therefore realistic, but at the same time it is too minimalist and undemanding to be satisfying. The other conception of peace, ambitious peace, can be found in Kukathas’s work. It is a conception of peace ‘beyond compromise’, not minimalist and undemanding, but, I will argue, not realistic because presupposing at least a second-order moral consensus. In the end, I advocate a division of labour between both conceptions of peace under the umbrella of an overarching ideal of peace".

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