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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of a range of theories including sentientism and biocentrism must accept that human interests can sometimes be superseded by animal interests, and that this applies not least in matters of justice.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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Fabre, Cécile, , . Cosmopolitan War
2012, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: John Baldari, Contributed by:

Back matter: War is about individuals maiming and killing each other, and yet, it seems that it is also irreducibly collective, as it is fought by groups of people and more often than not for the sake of communal values such as territorial integrity and national self-determination. Cécile Fabre articulates and defends an ethical account of war in which the individual, as a moral and rational agent, is the fundamental focus for concern and respect–both as a combatant whose acts of killing need justifying and as a non-combatant whose suffering also needs justifying. She takes as her starting point a political morality to which the individual, rather than the nation-state, is central, namely cosmopolitanism. According to cosmopolitanism, individuals all matter equally, irrespective of their membership in this or that political community. Traditional war ethics already accepts this principle, since it holds that unarmed civilians are illegitimate targets even though they belong to the enemy community. However, although the traditional account of whom we may kill in wars is broadly faithful to that principle, the traditional account of why we may kill and of who may kill is not. Cosmopolitan theorists, for their part, do not address the ethical issues raised by war in any depth. Fabre’s Cosmopolitan War seeks to fill this gap, and defends its account of just and unjust wars by addressing the ethics of different kinds of war: wars of national defence, wars over scarce resources, civil wars, humanitarian intervention, wars involving private military forces, and asymmetrical wars.

Comment: This is a pivotal text on new war theory. It is best used as a primary text in advanced war theory, especially for those already familiar with the general literature on Just War.

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Jimoh, Anselm Kole, , . Justice and the Othered Minority. Lessons from African Communalism
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer,
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter

Abstract: There are minority groups in every human society, which are often leftovers of the “one” major group of persons within such society viewed as the self-contained group that has nothing to do with the “other” minority groups. The Other is conventionally seen as a threat to the one. Othering within societies invariably results in the exclusion of the Other from the one. By Othering, we mentally or practically classify an individual or group as “not one of us” and, therefore, inferior or less a human person than we are, a process of casting another person, group, or object into a position or role different from mine or ours, and I or we consequently establish my or our identity in opposition to the Other person in a relationship of superiority that allows me or us vilify the Other. Through Othering, we create a system of social exclusion that systematically blocks the Othered minority individual or group from rights and opportunities that are fundamentally the prerogative of all. Hence, issues of justice for the Othered minority naturally arise. This is manifested in the xenophobic treatment of African foreigners in South Africa and Christian minority groups in the mainly Muslim North of Nigeria. The socially excluded is confined to the fringe of society as the minority, whose basic and fundamental rights become privileges by virtue of the Otherness. This chapter critically analyzes and evaluates the manner of othering and exclusion of minority groups in African societies. My primary concern is to examine the role of African communitarian theory in the face of Othering in African societies. I argue that our constant awareness and acknowledgment of our commonness beyond self-contained groups ensures justice and equity in our interpersonal relationships in any human society.

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Kok-Chor Tan, , . Justice Without Borders: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Patriotism About us
2004, Cambridge University Press.
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Publisher’s Note: The cosmopolitan idea of justice is commonly accused of not taking seriously the special ties and commitments of nationality and patriotism. This is because the ideal of impartial egalitarianism, which is central to the cosmopolitan view, seems to be directly opposed to the moral partiality inherent to nationalism and patriotism. In this book, Kok-Chor Tan argues that cosmopolitan justice, properly understood, can accommodate and appreciate nationalist and patriotic commitments, setting limits for these commitments without denying their moral significance. This book offers a defense of cosmopolitan justice against the charge that it denies the values that ordinarily matter to people, and a defence of nationalism and patriotism against the charge that these morally partial ideals are fundamentally inconsistent with the obligations of global justice. Accessible and persuasive, this book will have broad appeal to political theorists and moral philosophers.

Comment: This book touches on a number of very topical issues and is a great way to show philosophy’s practical application in introductory courses. Particularly useful will be Chapter 2 which sets out the need for cosmopolitan justice and discusses the difference between the duties of aid and global justice. Chapters 5, ‘Nationalism and cosmopolitanism’, and 7, ‘The limits of patriotism’, are likely to divide opinions and thus can provide excellent grounds for class debate and discussion. All those and other chapters are very topical and can be discussed with reference to examples from current politics.

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Lawson, Bill E., , . The Value of Environmental Justice
2008, Environmental Justice 1 (3): 155-158.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: Environmental justice, at least, entails preserving the environment as a global entity, but also making those persons who feel, have felt, have been, or are victims of environmental crimes and atrocities feel as if they are part of the solution as full members of the human community and not just the environmental dumping ground for the well-off.

Comment: This text is a quick introduction to the problem of responsibility for environmental injustices. It makes a good conversation starter for why some individuals do not feel responsible for environmental atrocities, specifically in the context of environmental racism. It would fit well in a class that discussed justice, environmental justice (racism or NIMBY more generally), or collective responsibility.

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Okin, Susan Moller, , . Justice, gender, and the family
2008, New York: Basic Books.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Publisher: In the first feminist critique of modern political theory, Okin shows how the failure to apply theories of justice to the family not only undermines our most cherished democratic values but has led to a major crisis over gender-related issues.

Comment: This book offers a feminist discussion of various theories of justice, arguing that they should include a more comprehensive account on issues related to the formation and functioning of families. In teaching, it is particularly useful as a critique of Rawls’ theory.

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Schouten, Gina, , . Restricting Justice: Political Interventions in the Home and in the Market
2013, Philosophy and Public Affairs 41 (4):357-388.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Harry Brighouse

Abstract: Liberal theorists of justice like John Rawls have long maintained that a theory of justice should apply primarily to the institutional mechanisms of society, and only derivatively to the behavior of individuals within institutions. Institutions of taxation, for example, may be just or unjust by the lights of a theory of justice, but such a theory should deem the behavior of individuals unjust only insofar as that behavior undermines just institutions. As Rawls puts it, ‘we are to comply with and to do our share in just institutions when they exist and apply to us, [and] we are to assist in the establishment of just arrangements when they do not exist.’1 Critics of this restricted conception of justice (hereafter RCJ) argue that a theory of justice should judge individual behavior directly, even when that behavior complies with just institutions. These critics have tended to focus on two kinds of behavior that they argue should fall within the subject matter of a theory of justice: the ‘market-maximizing’ behavior of economic agents who demand incentives to exercise marketable talents in socially beneficial ways, and the ‘housework-shirking’ behavior of family members who distribute power and labor unequally according to gender. These critics argue that RCJ implausibly places these behaviors beyond the reach of justice. Call this the ‘restrictiveness objection’ to RCJ. A second objection to RCJ threatens to undermine RCJ from within: this criticism alleges that RCJ is arbitrary, because the theorists who embrace it lack a principled justification for restricting the subject matter of their theories to institutions while exempting the behavior of individuals within those institutions. Call this the ‘arbitrariness objection’ to RCJ. My project in this article is to defend RCJ against both objections. Along the way, I consider and reject an alternative strategy for defending RCJ, but I use insights gleaned from the inadequacies of this rival strategy to build my own defense against the two objections: working from within the framework of political liberalism, I demonstrate first that a theory of justice can nonarbitrarily be restricted to the basic structure, or the institutional structure by which ‘the major social institutions distribute fundamental rights and duties and determine the division of advantages from social cooperation,’ and second that such a restriction does not result in an implausibly narrow subject matter of justice. I conclude that neither objection undermines RCJ. I do not defend RCJ as it has typically been understood, however. A crucial premise in my argument is that the delineation of the basic structure is itself a substantive normative task, the performance of which must be responsive to relevant differences among enactments of political power. I argue for a more expansive notion of legitimate political power than either critics or defenders of RCJ have tended to adopt. My defense of RCJ thus occupies a conceptual middle ground within the debate about the subject matter of justice: With defenders of RCJ, I maintain that a theory of justice applies directly only to the basic structure of society, such that a society with just institutions may be fully just even though housework-shirking and market-maximizing occur within it. But I agree with critics of RCJ that market-maximizing and housework-shirking should not be beyond the reach of a theory of justice. I reconcile these convictions by defending a view of political legitimacy according to which housework-shirking and market-maximizing can be targets of legitimate political interventions. While a society is not made less just by the mere occurrence of housework-shirking and market-maximizing, it can be less just for having a basic structure that enables or encourages these behaviors.

Comment: Major contribution to the debate within political philosophy about what constitutes the subject of justice. Schouten shows why a political liberal is bound to use a restricted conception of the basic structure as the subject of justice, and yet also shows that, even on this restricted conception, considerable interventions to undermine the gendered division of labor within the family are not just permissible but required.

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Shelby, Tommie, , . Justice, Deviance, and the Dark Ghetto
2007, Philosophy & Public Affairs 35(2): 126-160.
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Added by: Helen Morley, Contributed by:

Introduction: The problems I will focus on lie in the domain of the theory of justice. Specifically, my concern is to determine what kinds of criticisms of the ghetto poor’s behavior and attitudes are or are not appropriate given that the social circumstances under which they make their life choices are, at least in part, the result of injustice. If the overall social arrangement in which the ghetto poor live is unjust, this requires that we think about what their obligations are quite differently than we should if the society were judged to be just. In particular, I will argue that it is necessary to distinguish the civic obligations citizens have to each other from the natural duties all persons have as moral agents, both of which are affected, though in different ways, by the justness of social arrangements. In addition, among the natural duties all persons possess is the duty to uphold, and to assist in bringing about, just institutions, a political duty that has important, though generally overlooked, consequences for the debate about ghetto poverty.

Comment: Focuses on the moral obligations of subject to systemic and long term injustice, using a Rawlsian framework. Enhances a discussion of justice by considering the implications of justice on those treated unjustly.

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Sreenivasan, Gopal, , . Justice, Inequality, and Health
2009, E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy [electronic resource]
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Content: Sreenivasan asks: ‘what makes a health inequality an injustice, when it is one? Do <em>health</em> inequalities have some significance in justice that differs from other important inequalities? Or is the injustice of an unjust inequality in health simply due to the application of general principles of equality and justice to the case of health?’

Comment: This text offers a good introduction to the problem of justice in healthcare and social justice in general. The text is best used as required reading in medical ethics classes, and as further reading in moral and political philosophy classes focusing on justice.

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Venkatapuram, Sridhar, , . Health Justice. An Argument from the Capabilities Approach
2011, Polity Press.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Sridhar Venkatapuram

Summary: Social factors have a powerful influence on human health and longevity. Yet the social dimensions of health are often obscured in public discussions due to the overwhelming focus in health policy on medical care, individual-level risk factor research, and changing individual behaviours. Likewise, in philosophical approaches to health and social justice, the debates have largely focused on rationing problems in health care and on personal responsibility. However, a range of events over the past two decades such as the study of modern famines, the global experience of HIV/AIDS, the international women’s health movement, and the flourishing of social epidemiological research have drawn attention to the robust relationship between health and broad social arrangements.

Comment: This text is considered to be one of the core text of the areas of health justice. theories of social justice applied to health and health inequalities. It extends the capabilities approach to health, and makes an argument for moral right to health capability.

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Young, Iris Marion, , . Justice and the Politics of Difference
1990, Princeton University Press.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Publisher’s note: In this classic work of feminist political thought, Iris Marion Young challenges the prevailing reduction of social justice to distributive justice. It critically analyzes basic concepts underlying most theories of justice, including impartiality, formal equality, and the unitary moral subjectivity. The starting point for her critique is the experience and concerns of the new social movements about decision making, cultural expression, and division of labor–that were created by marginal and excluded groups, including women, African Americans, and American Indians, as well as gays and lesbians. Iris Young defines concepts of domination and oppression to cover issues eluding the distributive model. Democratic theorists, according to Young do not adequately address the problem of an inclusive participatory framework. By assuming a homogeneous public, they fail to consider institutional arrangements for including people not culturally identified with white European male norms of reason and respectability. Young urges that normative theory and public policy should undermine group-based oppression by affirming rather than suppressing social group difference. Basing her vision of the good society on the differentiated, culturally plural network of contemporary urban life, she argues for a principle of group representation in democratic publics and for group-differentiated policies.

Comment: This is an important work of feminist political philosophy. It would be useful to teach in a course on feminist philosophy, or as part of a course or unit on theories of justice, as it engages with many of the seminal thinkers in this area, such as Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls.

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