2017-2018

Defending a Basic Right of Self-Direction Against Enforceable Duties of Beneficence: How a Coasean Bargain Might Help

Thursday, 11/16/2017 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Old Main, Room 227 (Julie Modine Woodrow Boardroom)

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community.

Abstract:

Defenders of a restricted scope of basic rights often claim that certain largely self-regarding liberties are worth protecting and others are not. One reason offered for selectiveness is that certain liberties are valuable relative to their risk of (sometimes, even great) harm. So, a Jehovah’s Witness should be free to refuse a lifesaving blood transfusion that offends his religious conscience, and a rock climber should be free to engage in a challenging activity she finds important if risky, but a motorist should not be free to drive unbelted since such a liberty does not reflect any beliefs or values of importance to that agent. In this paper I argue that excluding some liberties that can lead to severe harm, but including other liberties, is arbitrary. There is no solid case for selective exclusion if we take seriously what I call the Capacity for Autonomous Decision-making (CAD). According to CAD, all largely self-regarding liberties, however seemingly trivial, should be granted to persons as the default, which amounts to a basic right of self-direction. I then consider the possibility that we have legally enforceable duties to care, up to a point, for those who have culpably harmed themselves, and whether such costs permit us to restrict certain liberties in the fashion defended by proponents of selectiveness. I conclude by considering a Coasean bargain as an alternative to outright inclusion or exclusion of liberties: if liberty is the default, perhaps we can offer to pay people not to engage in certain risky behaviors or activities; if restriction is the default, perhaps people can buy the freedom to engage in any number of risky behaviors or activities. 

When

12:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 2017

Academic year

2017-2018

Semester

Fall

Hyunseop Kim and Sangjin Kang, Seoul National University

When

4:34 p.m. Aug. 12, 2017

Academic year

2017-2018

Semester

Fall

Justice and Congruence: Political Not Ethical

Thursday, 12/14//2017 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Old Main, Room 227 (Julie Modine Woodrow Boardroom)

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community.

 

Abstract:

Rawls's congruence argument hardly gets any attention in the voluminous literature on his work. In retrospect, that's hardly a surprise, given that the congruence argument sprawls over the last several hundred pages of a very large book on justice. Some readers, no doubt, succumb to sheer exhaustion before they even reach Part III. And for those intrepid readers who stay the course through the seemingly meandering series of arguments culminating in §86 on "The Good of a Sense of Justice," some may find that their efforts were in vain only to discover that Rawls takes his 'political turn' in an attempt to resolve a problem internal to justice as fairness. The problem is the account of stability is inconsistent with the view as a whole, and the culprit is the original congruence argument. Whereas congruence is the pinnacle of Rawls's account of stability in A Theory of Justice, he seemingly abandons it well before Political Liberalism.

Despite appearance to the contrary, my paper attempts to extrapolate the enduring significance of Rawls's concerns with congruence, albeit in a way that should be understood as political not ethical (or metaphysical). The first part of the paper offers an overview of the congruence argument, pausing briefly to defend the salience of the original argument, before proceeding to diagnose the reason for its eventual failure, which takes us to Rawls's political turn. The second part of the paper takes up the task of developing a revised congruence argument by drawing upon a set of distinctively political goods, and calls attention to the relationship between justice and people's good, which necessitates various kinds of reciprocal adjustments between the requirements of justice and people's comprehensive conceptions of the good. If successful, a revised congruence argument may pave the way to resolving Gerald Gaus's "problem of justificatory instability," which threatens the possibility of stability for the right reasons. At times, the arguments I put forward are present or latent in Rawls's later text, while at other times the arguments transcend the text itself. My intention is not to deify Rawls’s text, rather my ambition it is to carry the project forward by adding brush strokes to the unfinished painting that is Rawls's theory of justice, by reinvigorating interest in trying to discover what is right and good.  

When

12:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 2017

Academic year

2017-2018

Semester

Fall

Taking Responsibility

Thursday, 11/30/2017 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Old Main, Room 227 (Julie Modine Woodrow Boardroom)

Abstract: TBA

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community.

 

Abstract:

In this paper I discuss blameworthiness for problematic acts that an agent does inadvertently, without having any sort of problematic motivation. Blameworthiness is difficult to make sense of in this sort of case, as there is usually thought to be a tight connection between blameworthiness and something in the agent’s ‘quality of will’. Yet, some acts that have no bad will behind them are nonetheless bad, and seem blameworthy. I aim to vindicate the intuition that such acts can be genuinely blameworthy. I argue that the only possible way to make sense of blameworthiness is by extending the realm of what the agent can be blamed for so as to include these inadvertent acts. But of course we need a rationale for extending the realm in this way. Joseph Raz has recently argued that we need to take on extra responsibility to preserve our self-respect. I argue that a better account says that we take on extra responsibility voluntarily, and we do it in order to fully partake in interpersonal relationships. We voluntarily take on extended responsibility, which is more than liability, because we are properly invested in the duties we have to our partners, friends, loved ones and so on. Taking on extended responsibility when we inadvertently fail in our duties to our loved ones assures them that we respect them, take them seriously, and want to be respected and taken seriously in turn.

When

12:30 p.m. Nov. 30, 2017

Academic year

2017-2018

Semester

Fall

Populism and Democracy: The Realist Challenge to Deliberative Democracy

Thursday, 11/09/2017 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Old Main, Room 227 (Julie Modine Woodrow Boardroom)

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community.

Abstract:

Theorists of democracy have long grappled with the question of how to uphold the promise of popular government while restraining populist excesses. The deliberative conception of democracy proposes to do so by subjecting power to collective decision-making through procedures of free and equal public deliberation. Critics of this idea often target its realizability. Though valid in theory, they claim, deliberative democracy is hopelessly utopian. The paper argues that, given a proper understanding of the deliberative approach and its underlying ideal of collective self-government, this line of criticism not very potent. However, another line of criticism, less pronounced in the contemporary debate, is more effective, questioning the very cogency of pubic discussion, even by a competent public, as a means of collective self-government.

When

12:30 p.m. Nov. 9, 2017

Academic year

2017-2018

Semester

Fall

Is the Right to Own Productive Private Property a Basic Liberty?

Thursday, 10/19/2017 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Old Main, Room 227 (Julie Modine Woodrow Boardroom)

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community.

Abstract:

John Rawls denies that ownership of productive private property is a basic liberty on a par with freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and so on. John Tomasi has recently challenged Rawls on this point; however a number of critics allege that Tomasi's understanding of the basic liberties differs significantly from Rawls's. This paper argues that Rawls's own framework gives us reason to consider the right to own productive private property a basic liberty. If this argument is correct, then Rawls’s favored regime types—liberal socialism and property-owning democracy—are ruled out on the grounds that they are inconsistent with the appropriate respect for the basic liberties.

When

12:30 p.m. Oct. 18, 2017

Academic year

2017-2018

Semester

Fall

The Role of Freedom in Simone de Beauvoir's Aesthetics

Thursday, 10/05/2017 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Old Main, Room 227 (Julie Modine Woodrow Boardroom)

Abstract: TBA

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community.

When

12:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 2017

Academic year

2017-2018

Semester

Fall

Reflections on the Hypatia Affair: Social Media, Critique and The Role of the Self in Feminist Theorizing

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Maloney Room, Social Sciences 224

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community.

When

12:30 p.m. Sept. 7, 2017

Academic year

2017-2018

Semester

Fall
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