Monday, December 31, 2018

A Feminist Political Liberalism

Equal Citizenship and Public Reason
A Feminist Political Liberalism

by Christie Hartley & Lori Watson

(Oxford University Press, 2018)


This book is a defense of political liberalism as a feminist liberalism. The first half of the book develops and defends a novel interpretation of political liberalism. It is argued that political liberals should accept a restrictive account of public reason and that political liberals' account of public justification is superior to the leading alternative, the convergence account of public justification. The view is defended from the charge that such a restrictive account of public reason will unduly threaten or undermine the integrity of some religiously oriented citizens and an account of when political liberals can recognize exemptions, including religious exemptions, from generally applicable laws is offered. In the second half of the book, it is argued that political liberalism's core commitments restrict all reasonable conceptions of justice to those that secure genuine, substantive equality for women and other marginalized groups. Here it is demonstrated how public reason arguments can be used to support law and policy needed to address historical sites of women's subordination in order to advance equality; prostitution, the gendered division of labor and marriage, in particular, are considered.

Contents [preview]


Part One: Equal Citizenship and Public Reason

1. The Role of Ideal Theory
2. The Moral Foundation of Public Justification and Public Reason
3. Exclusive Public Reason
4. Integrity and the Case for Restraint [paper]
5. Religious Exemptions

Part Two: Feminist Political Liberalism

6. Is a Feminist Political Liberalism Possible? [paper, 2010]
7. Prostitution and Public Reason [paper, 2007]
8. Social Norms, Choice and Work
9. Marriage [lecture, 2016]


Christie Hartley is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University.

Lori Watson is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of San Diego.

Three related papers by the authors:

* Christie Hartley & Lori Watson - "Is a Feminist Political Liberalism Possible?" (2010).

* Lori Watson - "Toward a Feminist Theory of Justice: Political liberalism and Feminist Method" (2010).

* Christie Hartley & Lori Watson - "Integrity and the Case for Restraint" (2015). 

A video of Christie Hartley's lecture on "Feminism, Political Liberalism, and Marriage", March 10, 2016 at the Loyola University.

See also:

*Ruth Abbey (ed.) - Feminist Interpretations of John Rawls (Penn State University Press, 2013). Preview here. Abbey's introduction here. A review here and here.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Perspectives on Distributive Justice

New Perspectives on Distributive Justice
Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus

Ed. by Manuel Knoll, Stephen Snyder & Nurdane Şimsek

(De Gruyter, 2018), 564 pages


Introduction: Two Opposing Conceptions of Distributive Justice - Manuel Knoll, Stephen Snyder & Nurdane Şimşek

Part I. Deep Disagreements

1. Deep Disagreements on Social and Political Justice: Their Meta-Ethical Relevance and the Need for a New Research Perspective - Manuel Knoll
2. Are There Irreconcilable Conceptions of Justice? Critical Remarks on Isaiah Berlin - Ulrich Steinvorth
3. Equality beyond Liberal Egalitarianism: Walzer’s Contribution to the Theory of Justice - Michael Haus
4. Stuart Hampshire and the Case for Procedural Justice - Giovanni Giorgini
5. Public Reason in Circumstances of Pluralism - Bertjan Wolthuis 
6. Does Rawls’s First Principle of Justice Allow for Consensus? A Note - Manuel Knoll & Nurdane Şimşek

Part II. Ancient Perspectives and Critiques of the Centrality of Justice

7. Aristotle on Natural Right - Francisco L. Lisi 
8. What Is “Just in Distribution” in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics – Too Much Justice,  Too Little Right - Eckart Schütrumpf 
9. Justice in Ethics and Political Philosophy: A Fundamental Critique - Christoph Horn 
10. Justicitis - Chandran Kukathas 

Part III. The Problem of Consensus

11. Rawls on Overlapping Disagreement and the Problem of Reconciliation [abstract] - Alberto L. Siani 
12. Public Reason, Compromise within Consensus, and Legitimacy [abstract] - Chong-Ming Lim 
13. From Consensus to Modus Vivendi? Pluralistic Approaches to the Challenge of Moral Diversity and Conflict [abstract] - Ulrike Spohn
14. What Bonds Citizens in a Pluralistic Democracy? Probing Mouffe’s Notion of a Conflictual Consensus - Manon Westphal
15. Citizenship, Community, and the Rule of Law: With or Without Consensus? [draft] - Michał Rupniewski 
16. Political Liberalism: The Burdens of Judgement and Moral Psychology - Peter Caven

Part IV. Expanding the Perspective on Obligations

17. John Rawls and Claims of Climate Justice: Tensions and Prospects [abstract] - Angela Kallhoff 
18. Assistance, Emergency Relief and the Duty Not to Harm: Rawls’ and Cosmopolitan Approaches to Distributive Justice Combined [abstract] - Annette Förster 
19. Global Collective Obligations, Just International Institutions and Pluralism - Bill Wringe
20. Intergenerational Justice in the Age of Genetic Manipulation - Stephen Snyder 

Part V. Diversifying the Perspective

21. The Contours of Toleration: A Relational Account [draft] - Kok-Chor Tan 
22. Constructing Public Distributive Justice: On the Method of Functionalist Moral Theory - Chad van Schoelandt & Gerald Gaus
23. Respect as an Object of Equal Distribution? Opacity, Individual Recognition and Second-Personal Authority [draft] - Elena Irrera
24. Responsibility and Justice: Beyond Moral Egalitarianism and Rational Consensus - Maria Dimitrova
25. Habermas’s and Rawls’s Postsecular Modesty [abstract] - Tom Bailey

Part VI. The Difference Principle

26. A Defense of the Difference Principle beyond Rawls [abstract] - Peter Koller
27. Marxist Critiques of the Difference Principle - Aysel Demir

Part VII. The Economic Perspective: Adam Smith

28. Justice, Equity, and Distribution: Adam Smith’s Answer to John Rawls’s Difference Principle - Jeffrey Young
29. Statism and Distributive Injustice in Adam Smith - Barry Stocker

The book is based on papers presented at a conference on "Pluralism and Conflict: Distributive Justice Beyond Rawls and Consensus" in Istanbul June 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Review of Samuel Freeman's "Liberalism and Distributive Justice"

A review of Samuel Freeman's "Liberalism and Distributive Justice" (Oxford University Press, 2018):

"Liberalism and Distributive Justice"

by Lisa Herzog, Technical University of Munich


"This is a collection of essays most of which have been published before, between 2001 and 2018. They all deal with John Rawls' political philosophy, defending it against various criticisms and what Freeman takes to be misinterpretations. The essays are of admirable clarity, arguing for their positions in meticulous detail. For those interested in a comprehensive overview of Freeman's understanding of Rawlsian justice, the collection is likely to be an extremely valuable resource, not least for teaching." (.....)

"Reading these essays alongside each other offers an opportunity to reflect on their coherence, i.e. on the relation between the various dimensions of Rawls' oeuvre that Freeman covers. The different parts, e.g. the rejection of classical liberalism with its connection to utilitarianism (chap. 1) and the rejection of welfare state capitalism (e.g. 146-7), or the idea of democratic and economic reciprocity (chaps. 4 and 7) and the ideal of a society of free and equal persons (e.g. 47-50) support each other; together they form an impressive edifice of ideas."

Friday, December 28, 2018

New interview with Habermas - by Aubert and Kervégan

The French journal "Le Philosophoire" (no. 50, 2018/2) contains an interview with Jürgen Habermas, conducted by Isabelle Aubert and Jean-François Kervégan - the editors of "Dialogues avec Jürgen Habermas" (CNRS Editions, 2018):

Entretien avec Jürgen Habermas” (pp. 33-52)

The topics are: The history of philosophy, the critical theory of the Frankfurt School (Marcuse, Neumann, and Kirchheimer), law and democracy, feminist theorists, ethnocentrism, religion, migration, and the European Union.


On fundamentalism as ideology

Aubert & Kervégan: Dans les années 1980, vous avez soutenu que le terme d’idéologie est un macro-concept qui a perdu sa pertinence théorique et qui ne correspond plus à une réalité sociologique dans le cadre de sociétés pluralistes et fonctionnellement complexes. Pour des raisons sociologiques, et aussi sans doute parce que l’usage de ce vocabulaire a été discrédité par le recours massif que les versions les plus trivialisées du marxisme ont eu à lui, vous justifiez l’emploi de la notion de «communication systématiquement déformée» plutôt que celle d’idéologie. (.....). Le renouveau des fondamentalismes religieux, et le renforcement de courants intégristes dans les religions monothéistes (catholicisme, protestantisme, judaïsme, Islam), ne peuvent-ils pas s’interpréter en termes d’idéologie?

Habermas: C’est une suggestion intéressante. Marx lui-même, en procédant à une critique de l’idéologie, pouvait encore déduire directement les idées de la gauche, des libéraux et des conservateurs, correspondant aux différents camps que reflétait depuis 1789 la distribution des sièges au Parlement, des positions sociales des classes et de leurs intérêts. Ces rapports de classes transparents n’existent plus dans nos sociétés complexes. Mais si, comme vous le suggérez, on comprend les mouvements fondamentalistes actuels comme des phénomènes modernes et si on les ramène en dernière instance au déracinement des positions sociales sous la contrainte de la modernisation capitaliste, alors, en de tels cas, l’existence d’un lien clair entre visions du monde et positions sociales suggère de conserver le concept d’idéologie. La même chose vaut pour bien des arguments néo-libéraux qui adoptent la vêture d’un langage scientifique.

On migration and asylum policy

Aubert & Kervégan: (.....) En 2015, la crise des réfugiés en Europe a interpellé l’opinion publique. Depuis cette date, la question migratoire est l’une des questions sociales et politiques les plus cruciales au niveau européen. D’un côté, cette situation renforce les tensions sociales en alimentant des mouvements d’extrême droite nationaliste (comme l’illustrent les manifestations à Chemnitz très récemment). D’un autre côté, on a l’impression que la tendance à fermer les frontières de l’UE met celle-ci, et les pays membres, en porte-en-faux avec les principes universels et humanistes de la Charte européenne des droits fondamentaux (dignité, liberté, égalité, solidarité).

Habermas: Oui, je trouve honteux le caractère glacial des récentes décisions en matière de politique du droit d’asile, eu égard au fait historique que les flux de réfugiés en provenance du Sud et du Proche-Orient sont aussi la conséquence de nos propres fautes, celles d’une décolonisation ratée. Pouvons-nous encore nous regarder dans le miroir sans rougir au vu des tragédies qui se déroulent en Méditerranée et que nous laissons plus ou moins se produire aujourd’hui du fait de l’absence de volonté de coopérer dont fait preuve le noyau dur des États européens? Bien entendu, il ne nous est pas possible d’ouvrir tout simplement les portes à tous les réfugiés. Mais, à défaut d’une politique d’asile commune à tous les États européens, laquelle a jusqu’à présent échoué à cause de la mauvaise volonté des États à s’entendre sur une clé de répartition, il faudrait que nous modifiions radicalement, et en commun, notre politique à l’endroit des pays d’où proviennent les réfugiés, avant toute chose en ce qui regarde notre propre politique économique vis-à-vis de ces pays. Et, eu égard à la corruption et au délabrement des structures étatiques de ces pays, nous ne devrions pas simplement laisser ces pays se débrouiller.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Philosophy of Kant and Rawls

The latest issue of "Kantian Review" (December 2018) features articles on the philosophy of Kant and Rawls:

1) Universal Principle of Right: Metaphysics, Politics, and Conflict Resolutions
by Sorin Baiasu

Abstract: In spite of its dominance, there are well-known problems with Rawls’s method of reflective equilibrium (MRE), as a method of justification in meta-ethics. One issue in particular has preoccupied commentators, namely, the capacity of this method to provide a convincing account of the objectivity of our moral beliefs. Call this the Lack-of-Objectivity Charge. One aim of this article is to examine the charge within the context of Rawls’s later philosophy, and I claim that the lack-of-objectivity charge remains unanswered. A second aim of this article is to examine the extent to which, despite Rawls’s express intention to avoid reliance on Kant’s moral philosophy, supplementing Rawls’s political constructivism with some Kantian elements, in particular Kant’s idea of a universal principle of right, not only addresses some of the issues raised by the lack-of-objectivity charge, but also does so without compromising the ability of the Rawlsian account to accommodate the pluralism of conceptions of the good, which he takes to be a fact of modern democracies. I argue for a revised justificatory methodology, which combines Rawls’s MRE and Kant’s Critical Method.

2) Kant’s Contextualism [pdf]
by Katrin Flikschuh

Abstract: This article builds on David Velleman’s recent work on moral relativism to argue that Kant’s account of moral judgement is best read in a contextualist manner. More specifically, I argue that while for Kant the form of moral judgement is invariant, substantive moral judgements are nonetheless context-dependent. The same form of moral willing can give rise to divergent substantive judgements. To some limited extent, Kantian contextualism is a development out of Rawlsian constructivism. Yet while for constructivists the primary concern is with the derivation of generally valid principles of morality, Velleman’s Kant-inspired form of moral relativism demonstrates the indispensability to a Kantian approach of indexical reasons for action. I argue in turn that Velleman’s focus on the indexical nature of reasons for action must be supplemented by an account of agential reflexivity. The latter divides Kantian contextualism from Kantian relativism.

3) Principles of Justice, Primary Goods and Categories of Right: Rawls and Kant
by Paul Guyer

Abstract: John Rawls based his theory of justice, in the work of that name, on a ‘Kantian interpretation’ of the status of human beings as ‘free and equal’ persons. In his subsequent, ‘political rather than metaphysical’ expositions of his theory, the conception of citizens of democracies as ‘free and equal’ persons retained its foundational role. But Rawls appealed only to Kant’s moral philosophy, never to Kant’s own political philosophy as expounded in his 1797 Doctrine of Right in the Metaphysics of Morals. I argue here that the structure of Kant’s political philosophy, with its categories of the innate right to freedom, private acquired right and public right, can clarify the relationship between Rawls’s two principles of justice and his scheme of basic liberties and primary goods.

4) Kant and Rawls on Free Speech in Autocracies
by Peter Niesen

Abstract: In the works of Kant and Rawls, we find an acute sensibility to the pre-eminent importance of freedom of speech. Both authors defend free speech in democratic societies as a private and as a public entitlement, but their conceptions markedly differ when applied to non-liberal and non-democratic societies. The difference is that freedom of speech, for Kant, is a universal claim that can serve as a test of legitimacy of all legal orders, while for Rawls, some legal orders are owed full recognition even if they do not in principle guarantee freedom of speech. I explain Kant’s account of free political speech and argue that the defence of individual rights should be seen as its core feature, both in republican and in autocratic states. I then argue that a much-overlooked shift in Rawls’s development to Political Liberalism likewise ties his account of free speech in democratic societies to issues concerning rights and justice. In a next step, I discuss Rawls’s perspective on some non-democratic regimes in his Law of Peoples, regimes that he understands as well-ordered but which do not guarantee freedom of speech. I criticize Rawls’s account from Kant’s perspective and suggest to introduce a ‘module’ from Kant’s pre-republican thought into Rawls’s conception, aiming to secure a core area of rights- and justice-related speech. My claim is that under Kant’s view of autocratic legitimacy, an important extension of speech rights is called for even in non-liberal, non-democratic states, and that a Rawlsian account should and can adopt it.

5) Liberal Justice: Kant, Rawls and Human Rights
by Onora O’Neill

Abstract: Kant’s practical philosophy, Rawls’s theory of justice and contemporary human rights thinking are landmarks in liberal discussions of justice. Each forms part of a powerful tradition of political thought, and although their substantive accounts of justice diverge at many points, they also overlap in substantial ways. This article focuses not on their substantive claims about justice, or about other ethical standards, but on their differing views of the questions to be addressed, on their proposed justifications for standards of justice, and on a limited range of questions about interpreting and institutionalizing those standards.

6) War and Peace in The Law of Peoples: Rawls, Kant and the Use of Force
by Peri Roberts

Abstract: Where Rawls’s The Law of Peoples addresses war and the use of force then his position has often been identified closely with Walzer’s restatement of just war theory, as both positions appear to take nation-states, and the conflicts between them, to be the bedrock of the international system. On the other hand, Kant’s notion of a peaceful federation of states presents us with the notion of a world without war and where the international system is transformed. This article argues that Rawls’s account of the use of force is better understood if we read it with an eye to its resonances with Kant rather than with Walzer. Doing so rewards us with a clearer understanding of central aspects of Rawls’s account of just war and vision of international politics.