Justice Blog

September 17, 2005

The answer isn't to flee moral and religious discourse in politics, it seems to me, but to engage it, deepen it, to contest it

Otherwise there will be a kind of moral void and emptiness in our political discourse that will open the way to the most intolerant, narrow moralisms, and I think democratic politics can't be sustained in a way that's value neutral, for without allowing contending moral and religious conceptions to inform politics, the question is how to do it in a way that's pluralistic and cultivates an appreciation of differences rather than narrow intolerance.

Continue reading "The answer isn't to flee moral and religious discourse in politics, it seems to me, but to engage it, deepen it, to contest it"

Posted by George W at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

Isn't Rawl's Difference principle immoral from the perspective of Kant's Supreme Principal of Morality?

When we considered Kant's Supreme Prinicipal of Morality, we considered his "formula of humanity as an end", which basically stated that an action is only moral insomuch as it treats humanity as an end within itself. Rawl's Difference principle seems to conflict with this tenet. It is based on producing a fair outcome(the end) my manipulating humanity's talents(the means). Doesn't this mean that Rawl's difference principal is using humanity as a means to produce the end of fairness? Regardless of deserving talent on an individual basis, Rawl's never says that humanity as a whole does not deserve its cumulative talents, so the issue of individual desert is not an issue. What is more important is that Rawl's goal is a particular outcome of fairness, and he is using humanity to achieve it. If Rawl's is supposed to be an extension of Kant, doesn't he violate Kant's primary moral argument?

Posted by Darth at 09:28 AM | Comments (2)

September 16, 2005

The communitarian critique of the atomistic self does not apply to Rawslian liberalism

But do liberal thinkers actually defend the idea that the self is created ex-nihilo, outside of any social context and that humans can exist (and flourish) independently of all social contexts? In fact, Taylor's essay was directed at the libertarian thinker Robert Nozick. As it turns out, the communitarian critique of the atomistic self does not apply to Rawslian liberalism: in Part III of Theory of Justice, Rawls pays close attention to the psychological and social conditions that facilitate the formation of liberal selves committed to justice. But few readers ever got to Part III of Rawls massive tome, so communitarians got quite a bit of mileage from their critique of liberal atomism. This charge didn't stick, however.

Posted by Lisa Simpson at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

testing my image

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Posted by Christopher Robertson at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

Welcome to Justice

It's working

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Posted by Daniel Jamous at 08:59 AM | Comments (2)

The justice of acquiring wealth in the market

A possible objection that hasn't been raised concerns the justice of acquiring wealth because of direct state intervention into the market. It seems that libertarians adhere to the free market principle because the market rewards those who provide a good that people desire and punishes those who do not - seems fair at first glance. However, what do you think about things like farm subsidies, a practice that is heavily criticized especially in the cases of the US and EU? These subsidies finance high-technology agriculture that allows the subsidized producers to export their goods to underdeveloped countries in which the rural poor (unable in the first place to buy high-technology equipment because of a lack of capital, but libertarians can disregard that because that is "their fault" because the market has impoverished them (fairly), not the government's fault) cannot compete, and one of the big reasons is that they are not helped out by their government. What would be the libertarian's response?

Posted by Yoda at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)

Course Announcements

A Brief Course Description

A critical analysis of selected classical and contemporary theories of justice, with discussion of present-day practical applications. Topics include affirmative action, income distribution, same-sex marriage, free speech versus hate speech, debates about rights (human rights and property rights), arguments for and against equality, debates about political obligation and the claims of community. Readings include Aristotle, Locke, Kant, Mill, and Rawls.

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Of Interest

Donor fears over fertility ruling

Fertility campaigners fear new rules over identifying egg and sperm donors will mean fewer people may volunteer to help childless couples.

Since April 2005, information which can identify the donor of an egg, sperm or embryo, can be given to child born as a result when they are 18.

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Leon Kass, the chairman of President Bush's bioethics council, is resigning.

Leon Kass, the chairman of President Bush's bioethics council, is resigning. Some liberals accused him of steering the council to suit Republican politics during its debates over stem cells and cloning. The council divided on both issues. The new chairman will be the 85-year-old ex-president of Catholic University.

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Justice Offered Through Distance Education

This course is being offered as part of the Harvard Extension School's Distance Education Program. The lectures for this course are only available on-line via the Internet using streaming video. While two or three lectures per week will be made available throughout the term and while the lectures are recorded, the other aspects of the course are "live." There will be an optional weekly section meeting or office hours (yet to be determined) for students that wish to attend.

Please see the distance education website for information on the distance ed program, details on how to view lectures and for technical support. The link is: http://www.extension.harvard.edu/distanceed

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