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Chong-Ming Lim, , . An Incomplete Inclusion of Non-cooperators into a Rawlsian Theory of Justice
2016, Res Philosophica 93(4), 893-920
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter

John Rawls’s use of the “fully cooperating assumption” has been criticized for hindering attempts to address the needs of disabled individuals, or non-cooperators. In response, philosophers sympathetic to Rawls’s project have extended his theory. I assess one such extension by Cynthia Stark, that proposes dropping Rawls’s assumption in the constitutional stage (of his four-stage sequence), and address the needs of non-cooperators via the social minimum. I defend Stark’s proposal against criticisms by Sophia Wong, Christie Hartley, and Elizabeth Edenberg and Marilyn Friedman. Nevertheless, I argue that Stark’s proposal is crucially incomplete. Her formulation of the social minimum lacks accompanying criteria with which the adequacy of the provisions for non-cooperators may be assessed. Despite initial appearances, Stark’s proposal does not fully address the needs of non-cooperators. I conclude by considering two payoffs of identifying this lack of criteria.

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Chong-Ming Lim, Michael C. Dunn, Jacqueline J. Chin. Clarifying the best interests standard: the elaborative and enumerative strategies in public policy-making
2016, Journal of Medical Ethics 42(8), 1-8
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter

Abstract: One recurring criticism of the best interests standard concerns its vagueness, and thus the inadequate guidance it offers to care providers. The lack of an agreed definition of ‘best interests’, together with the fact that several suggested considerations adopted in legislation or professional guidelines for doctors do not obviously apply across different groups of persons, result in decisions being made in murky waters. In response, bioethicists have attempted to specify the best interests standard, to reduce the indeterminacy surrounding medical decisions. In this paper, we discuss the bioethicists’ response in relation to the state’s possible role in clarifying the best interests standard. We identify and characterise two clarificatory strategies employed by bioethicists —elaborative and enumerative—and argue that the state should adopt the latter. Beyond the practical difficulties of the former strategy, a state adoption of it would inevitably be prejudicial in a pluralistic society. Given the gravity of best interests decisions, and the delicate task of respecting citizens with different understandings of best interests, only the enumerative strategy is viable. We argue that this does not commit the state to silence in providing guidance to and supporting healthcare providers, nor does it facilitate the abuse of the vulnerable. Finally, we address two methodological worries about adopting this approach at the state level. The adoption of the enumerative strategy is not defeatist in attitude, nor does it eventually collapse into (a form of) the elaborative strategy.

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Jaggar, Alison, , . Reasoning About Well-Being: Nussbaum’s Methods of Justifying the Capabilities.
2006, Journal of Political Philosophy 14(3): 301-322.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Content: Discusses Nussbaum’s methodology and the question of whether she covertly relies on assumptions about her own moral authority.

Comment: Most useful as further reading on political liberalism or the capability approach.

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Kelly, Erin, , McPherson, Lionel. On tolerating the unreasonable
2001, Journal of Political Philosophy 9(1): 38–55.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Diversifying Syllabi: Justice requires us to acknowledge the claims of morally or philosophically unreasonable persons, as long as they are politically reasonable; such people must be tolerated and considered part of the social contract. Toleration as wide public justification is the proper response to the pluralism characteristic of modern democratic societies.

Comment: This text is useful as a commentary or response to the debate about (un)reasonableness and legitimacy sparked by Rawls. More specifically, it offers a distinction between political and philosophical reasonableness, which the authors use to argue against interpreting or developing Rawls's political liberalism in a less tolerant direction. The section on Barbara Herman's 'Pluralism and the Community of Moral Judgment' helpfully distils a major faultline within liberal political philosophy.

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