Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thom Brooks on "Reciprocity as Mutual Recognition"

. . . in the current issue of The Good Society (2012) found here. The abstract:

"For Rawls, there is an important difference between competing forms of regimes and what he calls a "property-owning democracy" and "liberal socialism." This difference includes that only the latter best guarantees principles of justice and satisfies the criterion of reciprocity. In this article, I will focus on the importance of reciprocity for this account and what it reveals about the citizens found in property-owning democracies and liberal socialist regimes. These regimes do not merely correctly recognize and uphold the importance of central principles of justice, but they also correctly recognize each other in an identity-forming way. These citizens mutually recognize one another as free and equal, but also they identify with others in a common bond of citizenship. Rawlsian justice is more than about principles and reciprocity; it is also about mutual recognition and shared identity. This becomes clearer when we look to the reasons why Rawls favors some regimes over others.


The structure of this article is as follows. First, I begin with a brief explication of the relevant background. This will focus on Rawls's two principles of justice. Secondly, I will then explain how these principles are applied by Rawls to demonstrate which regimes may be acceptable for justice as fairness. This discussion will highlight the central importance of the criterion of reciprocity. The article will conclude with an examination of the importance of reciprocity in Rawls's account and how it may say something new about the citizens Rawls has in mind for regimes such as a property-owning democracy."

Monday, July 23, 2012

New books, new book series

Today, I have received new books in two book series I edit. The first is Kelly Staples, Retheorising Statelessness: A Background Theory of Membership in World Politics (Edinburgh University Press, 2012). The blurb:

"Stateless persons are increasingly a concern of governments, international agencies and NGOs. Now, Kelly Staples supplies a much-needed political theorisation of statelessness. Her membership theory framework combines theory and contemporary case studies to demonstrate the connection between the protections of state membership, the burdens of statelessness and the situation of stateless persons."
This book appears in the Studies in Global Justice and Human Rights series. Several books are scheduled for release shortly, including Peter W. Higgins, Immigration Justice; Joshua J. Kassner, Rwanda and the Moral Obligation of Humanitiarian Intervention; Patti Tamara Lenard and Christine Straehle (eds), Health Inequalities and Global Justice; Daniel H. Levine, The Morality of Peacekeeping; Andras Miklos, Institutions in Global Distributive Justice; and Oche Onazi, Community and Human Rights. All books in this series are distributed in North America by Columbia University Press.



The second book is Alan Tapper and T. Brian Mooney (eds), Meaning and Morality: Essays on the Philosophy of Julius Kovesi (Brill, 2012). The blurb:

Julius Kovesi's Moral Notions (1967) was a startlingly original contribution to moral philosophy and theory of meaning. After initial positive reviews Kovesi's book was largely forgotten. Nevertheless, it continued to have an enduring influence on a number of philosophers and theologians some of whom have contributed to this volume. The original essays collected here critique, analyze, deepen and extend the work of Kovesi. The book will be of particular interest to moral philosophers and those working on concept formation, while also having a broader appeal to social scientists grappling with the description/evaluation problem.

This book appears in the Studies in Moral Philosophy (SIMP) series. Earlier volumes include Thom Brooks (ed.), Ethics and Moral Philosophy (2011) and Thom Brooks (ed.), Global Justice and International Affairs (2012). The next scheduled book is Thom Brooks (ed.), Law and Legal Theory (forthcoming).

Stephen Perry on "Political Authority and Political Obligation"

. . . is one of the best papers on this topic I have read in several years. The paper is highly recommended, forthcoming in the vol. 2 of the Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law, and it can be found here. The abstract is:

Legitimate political authority is often said to involve a “right to rule,” which is most plausibly understood as a Hohfeldian moral power on the part of the state to impose obligations on its subjects (or otherwise to change their normative situation). Many writers have taken the state’s moral power (if and when it exists) to be a correlate, in some sense, of an obligation on the part of the state’s subjects to obey its directives. Thus legitimate political authority is said to entail a general obligation to obey the law, and a general obligation to obey the law is said to entail legitimate political authority. With some version of this idea in mind, many writers attempt to establish full (or partial) legitimate political authority by first arguing for the intermediate conclusion that there exists a general (or partial) obligation to obey the law. This article argues that such a strategy is fundamentally mistaken, because while legitimate authority does indeed entail an obligation to obey the law, an obligation to obey the law does not, in and of itself, entail legitimate authority. This can be referred to as “the reverse entailment problem.” To avoid this problem, a theory of political authority must argue directly for the existence of the appropriate kind of moral power on the part of the state. This article argues for the “value-based” conception of a moral power, which states, very roughly, that one person holds a power over another if there is sufficient value in the former possessing the capacity intentionally to impose an obligation on the latter (or otherwise to change her normative situation). This seemingly simple understanding of a moral power gives rise to surprisingly strong adequacy conditions on what can count as an acceptable theory of legitimate political authority, and these conditions decisively rule out most of the standard theories in the literature.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Academic journal best practice

Readers will know my longstanding interest in developing best practice for academic journals through my work in relaunching the Association of Philosophy Journal Editors with Carol Gould and forthcoming essay on editing advice.

I am particularly delighted by the newly published "Best Practices in Journal Publishing" in the current Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association found here. These guidelines of academic journals in philosophy are the product of a special subcommittee on journal practices consisting of Thomas Baldwin, Thom Brooks, Stewart Cohen, Matti Eklund, Susan Feagin, Leslie Francis, Carol Gould, Sally Haslanger, Katherine Hawley, Hilary Kornblith, Peter Markie, Henry Richardson, Ernest Sosa, John Symons, and Robert Talisse. I'm proud of our report and believe that it helps flesh out important standards all journals should attempt to uphold.

Comments welcome!