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Anderson, Elizabeth, , . Justifying the Capabilities Approach to Justice
2010, in Brighouse, H. & Robeyns, I. (Eds.) Measuring Justice: Primary Goods and Capabilities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 81-100.
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Comment: A defense of the capability approach as a superior (objective) metric of justice with a particular focus on ends vs. means, discrimination against the disabled, individual variations in functioning, and the delivery of public services such as health and education. Contains a useful overview of the capabilities approach and where it fits into a complete theory of justice. Compares and contrasts the CA with a resourcist approach.

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Anderson, Elizabeth, , . What is the Point of Equality?
1999, Ethics 109(2): 287-337.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Introduction: If much recent academic work defending equality had been secretly penned by conservatives, could the results be any more embarrassing for egalitarians? Consider how much of this work leaves itself open to classic and devastating conservative criticisms. Ronald Dworkin defines equality as an “envy-free” distribution of resources.’ This feeds the suspicion that the motive behind egalitarian policies is mere envy. Philippe Van Parijs argues that equality in conjunction with liberal neutrality among conceptions of the good requires the state to support lazy, able-bodied surfers who are unwilling to work. This invites the charge that egalitarians support irresponsibility and encourage the slothful to be parasitic on the productive. Richard Arneson claims that equality requires that, under certain conditions, the state subsidize extremely costly religious ceremonies that its citizens feel bound to perform. G. A. Cohen tells us that equality requires that we compensate people for being temperamentally gloomy, or for being so incurably bored by inexpensive hobbies that they can only get fulfilling recreation from expensive diversions. These proposals bolster the objection that egalitarians are oblivious to the proper
limits of state power and permit coercion of others for merely private ends. Van Parijs suggests that to fairly implement the equal right to get married, when male partners are scarce, every woman should be given an equal tradable share in the pool of eligible bachelors and have to bid for whole partnership rights, thus implementing a transfer of wealth from successful brides to compensate the losers in love. This supports the objection that egalitarianism, in its determination to correct perceived unfairness everywhere, invades our privacy and burdens the personal ties of love and affection that lie at the core of family life.

Comment: This article asks the question: ‘What is the point of equality?’. It provides a really clear diagnosis of some of the problems facing luck egalitarianism and goes on to articulate a particular version of the capability approach. Anderson argues that individuals are entitled to whatever they need to escape or overcome oppressive social relationships and to the capabilities necessary to participate as an equal citizen in a democratic state.

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Appiah, Kwame Anthony, , . Whose Culture Is It, Anyway?
2007, in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York, London: W. W. Nortion & Company.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: In this chapter, Appiah offers a cosmopolitan critique of the concept of cultural property/patrimony. By emphasizing the common features of our humanity and the tenuousness of certain cultural identity claims, he puts pressure on conceptions of cultural property that would exclude others, particularly those that have a nationalist character. He raises important philosophical questions about cultural continuity over time, and explores how the location of art can best facilitate its value for humanity. In general, he supports a cosmopolitan/internationalist approach to cultural property that promotes the exchange of cultural products around the world.

Comment: This text offers a clear and effective overview of philosophical issues concerning cultural property, and uses a range of cultural and artistic examples. It offers a concise summary of the legal scholar John Merryman’s classic article in support of internationalism about cultural property (not included in this curriculum). It pairs well with Lindsay’s article.

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Arendt, Hannah, , . Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy
1982, University of Chicago Press.
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Publisher’s Note: Hannah Arendt’s last philosophical work was an intended three-part project entitled The Life of the Mind. Unfortunately, Arendt lived to complete only the first two parts, Thinking and Willing. Of the third, Judging, only the title page, with epigraphs from Cato and Goethe, was found after her death. As the titles suggest, Arendt conceived of her work as roughly parallel to the three Critiques of Immanuel Kant. In fact, while she began work on The Life of the Mind, Arendt lectured on “Kant’s Political Philosophy,” using the Critique of Judgment as her main text. The present volume brings Arendt’s notes for these lectures together with other of her texts on the topic of judging and provides important clues to the likely direction of Arendt’s thinking in this area.

Comment: This book provides a good overview of Arendt’s perspective on Kant’s political philosophy. Previous knowledge on Kant is needed.

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Arisaka, Yoko, , . Paradox of Dignity: Everyday Racism and the Failure of Multiculturalism
2010, Ethik und Gesellschaft 2
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Yoko Arisaka

Abstract: Liberal multiculturalism was introduced to support integration and anti-racism, but everyday racism continues to be a fact of life. This paper analyzes first some frameworks and problems that race and racism raise, and discusses two common liberal approaches for solving the problem of racism: the individualized conception of dignity and the social conception of multiculturalism. I argue that the ontological and epistemological assumptions involved in both of these approaches, coupled with the absence of the political-progressive notion of «race» in Germany, in fact obscure important paths against racism. Lastly I introduce a politico-existential position from Cornel West and conclude that racism should be seen as a failure of a democratic process rather than a problem of race.

Comment: Offers a short review od the philosophy of race, the pitfalls of liberalism, why liberalism cannot solve racism, the situation in Germany

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Arpaly, Nomy, , . Unprincipled Virtue: An Inquiry Into Moral Agency
2002, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Nomy Arpaly

Publisher’s Note: Nomy Arpaly rejects the model of rationality used by most ethicists and action theorists. Both observation and psychology indicate that people act rationally without deliberation, and act irrationally with deliberation. By questioning the notion that our own minds are comprehensible to us–and therefore questioning much of the current work of action theorists and ethicists–Arpaly attempts to develop a more realistic conception of moral agency.

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Attfield, Robin, , Rebekah Humphreys. Justice and Non-Human Animals – Part I
2017, Bangladesh Journal of Bioethics 7:(3): 1-11.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: It is widely held that moral obligations to non-human beings do not involve considerations of justice. For such a view, nonhuman interests are always prone to be trumped by human interests. Rawlsian contractarianism comprises an example of such a view. Through analysis of such theories, this essay highlights the problem of reconciling the claim that humans have obligations to non-humans with the claim that our treatment of the latter is not a matter of justice. We argue that if it is granted that the basic interests of non-human beings sometimes count for more than the peripheral interests of humans, then our understandings of obligation and of justice must be aligned, so that what we say about obligation is not countered by assumptions about the invariable priority of humans in matters of justice. We further consider whether such a conclusion can be endorsed by those who adopt certain alternative theories to contractarianism. We conclude that adherents of a range of theories including sentientism and biocentrism must accept that human interests can sometimes be superseded by animal interests, and that this applies not least in matters of justice.

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Attfield, Robin, , Rebekah Humphreys. Justice and Non-Human Animals – Part II
2017, Bangladesh Journal of Bioethics 8(1): 44-57.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: It is widely held that moral obligations to non-human beings do not involve considerations of justice. For such a view, nonhuman interests are always prone to be trumped by human interests. Rawlsian contractarianism comprises an example of such a view. Through analysis of such theories, this essay highlights the problem of reconciling the claim that humans have obligations to non-humans with the claim that our treatment of the latter is not a matter of justice. We argue that if it is granted that the basic interests of non-human beings sometimes count for more than the peripheral interests of humans, then our understandings of obligation and of justice must be aligned, so that what we say about obligation is not countered by assumptions about the invariable priority of humans in matters of justice. We further consider whether such a conclusion can be endorsed by those who adopt certain alternative theories to contractarianism. We conclude that adherents of a range of theories including sentientism and biocentrism must accept that human interests can sometimes be superseded by animal interests, and that this applies not least in matters of justice.

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Baier, Annette, , . Reflections on How We Live
2010, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Back Matter: The pioneering moral philosopher Annette Baier presents a series of new and recent essays in ethics, broadly conceived to include both engagements with other philosophers and personal meditations on life. Baier’s unique voice and insight illuminate a wide range of topics. In the public sphere, she enquires into patriotism, what we owe future people, and what toleration we should have for killing. In the private sphere, she discusses honesty, self-knowledge, hope, sympathy, and self-trust, and offers personal reflections on faces, friendship, and alienating affection.

Comment: The essays in this book are self-contained and accessible conversation starters. A number of them would make good initial readings for a class or unit on political ethics (concerning toleration, nationalism, and patriotism), friendship and love (concerning trust, friendship, and intimacy), and the ethics of reproduction and population.

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Begon, Jessica, , . Paternalism
2016, Analysis 76(3): 355-373.
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Summary: Analysis review article of recent work on the topic of paternalism. Discusses different ways in which the term is defined, reviews the debate between ‘paternalists’ and ‘anti-paternalists’, and presents soft paternalism.

Comment: Could be used as an introductory reading to the topic of paternalism, or a further reading to provide a comprehensive background to recent work in the area.

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Bicchieri, Cristina, , . Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure and Change Social Norms
2016, New York: Oxford University Press
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Norms in the Wild takes a unique look at social norms, answering questions about diagnosis (how can we tell that a shared practice is a social norm?), measurement (how do we measure expectations and preferences?), and change (which tools can we adopt to effect norm change?). The theories developed in the book are brought to life by examining real-life cases of norm creation and abandonment, the rationale behind policy interventions, and how change can be spearheaded by various types of trendsetters, be they individuals, groups, or the media. By exploring how a range of problems, from poor sanitation to child marriage, can be addressed, the book shows how social norms can have a causal impact on collective behavior, and which interventions may succeed in creating new norms or abandoning harmful ones. In laying the theoretical groundwork for implementing social changes in a contextually sensitive and empirically based way, it also diagnoses why some less culturally attuned attempts to eliminate negative practices have failed.

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Bortolotti, Lisa, , John Harris. Disability, Enhancement, and the Harm-Benefit Continuum
2006, In John R. Spencer & Antje Du Bois-Pedain (eds.), Freedom and Responsibility in Reproductive Choice. Hart Publishers.
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Added by: Chris Howard, Contributed by:

Abstract: Suppose that you are soon to be a parent and you learn that there are some simple measures that you can take to make sure that your child will be healthy. In particular, suppose that by following the doctor’s advice, you can prevent your child from having a disability, you can make your child immune from a number of dangerous diseases and you can even enhance its future intelligence. All that is required for this to happen is that you (or your partner) comply with lifestyle and dietary requirements. Do you and your partner have any moral reasons (or moral obligations) to follow the doctor’s advice? Would it make a difference if, instead of following some simple dietary requirements, you consented to genetic engineering to make sure that your child was free from disabilities, healthy and with above average intelligence? In this paper we develop a framework for dealing with these questions and we suggest some directions the answers might take.

Comment: This paper is an especially good inclusion in any bioethics course that has units on both disability and enhancement, covering issues at the intersection of these topics – indeed, it could be used quite effectively as a “transition paper”, bridging a unit on the former topic with a unit on the latter. The piece pairs particularly well with Michael Sandel’s, “The Case Against Perfection”, and should be suitably accessible to all students, requiring very little philosophical background.

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Brake, Elizabeth, , . Rawls and Feminism: What Should Feminists Make of Liberal Neutrality?
2004, Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (3):293-309.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Abstract: I argue that Rawls’s liberalism is compatible with feminist goals. I focus primarily on the issue of liberal neutrality, a topic suggested by the work of Catharine MacKinnon. I discuss two kinds of neutrality: neutrality at the level of justifying liberalism itself, and state neutrality in political decision-making. Both kinds are contentious within liberal theory. Rawls’s argument for justice as fairness has been criticized for non-neutrality at the justificatory level, a problem noted by Rawls himself in Political Liberalism. I will defend a qualified account of neutrality at the justificatory level, taking an epistemic approach to argue for the exclusion of certain doctrines from the justificatory process. I then argue that the justification process I describe offers a justificatory stance supportive of the feminist rejection of state-sponsored gender hierarchy. Further, I argue that liberal neutrality at the level of political decision-making will have surprising implications for gender equality. Once the extent of the state’s involvement in the apparently private spheres of family and civil society is recognized, and the disproportionate influence of a sexist conception of the good on those structures—and concomitant promotion of that ideal—is seen, state neutrality implies substantive change. While—as Susan Moller Okin avowed—Rawls himself may have remained ambiguous on how to address gender inequality, his theory implies that the state must seek to create substantive, not merely formal, equality. I suggest that those substantive changes will not conflict with liberal neutrality but instead be required by it.

Comment: A sympathetic treatment of Rawls’s Political Liberalism from a feminist perspective. It introduces the alleged clash between liberalism and feminism in a clear way and goes on to argue that (political) liberalism’s commitment to substantive rather than merely formal equality makes it compatible with core feminist concerns.

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Brand, Peg Zeglin, , . Revising the Aesthetic-Nonaesthetic Distinction: The Aesthetic Value of Activist Art
2010, In Peg Zeglin Brand & Carolyn Korsmeyer (eds.), Feminism and Tradition in Aesthetics. Penn State Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: This essay will explore the role that the aesthetic-nonaesthetic distinction plays in assessing activist art by women and artists of color. First, I shall review one traditional line of philosophical thought and show how it serves as the foundation for three types of reasons typically given for artworks reputed to lack aesthetic value. I develop two of the three reasons by examining the recent writings opposed to the aesthetic value of activist art by well-known art critic Donald Kuspit, pointing out his aberrant use of ‘obscene’. Kuspit’s examples of activist art – the work of Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, and Adrian Piper – are presented in light of his charges. I then explore Piper’s art in depth in order to outline ways of expanding the notion of aesthetic value beyond its traditional confines. Finally, I suggest moving beyond entrenched, traditional patterns of assessment and invite underrepresented voices to contribute to the emerging discussion of the multiplicity of aesthetic values.

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Brazier, Margaret Rosetta, , . Exploitation and enrichment: The paradox of medical experimentation
2008, Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (3):180–183.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Modern medicine is built on a long history of medical experimentation. Experiments in the past often exploited more vulnerable patients. Questionable ethics litter the history of medicine. Without such experiments, however, millions of lives would be forfeited. This paper asks whether all the “unethical” experiments of the past were unjustifiable, and do we still exploit the poorer members of the community today? It concludes by wondering if Harris is right in his advocacy of a moral duty to participate in medical research.

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