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Olsaretti, Serena. Freedom, Force and Choice: Against the Rights-Based Definition of Voluntariness
1998, Journal of Political Philosophy 6(1): 53-78.
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Added by: Carl Fox

Introduction: This paper argues that a moralised definition of voluntariness, alongside the more familiar moralised definition of freedom, underlies libertarian justifications of the unbridled market. Through an analysis of Nozick’s account of voluntary choice, I intend to reveal some fatal mistakes, and to put forward some suggestions regarding what a satisfactory account of voluntary choice requires.

Comment: Offers a number of influential criticisms of Nozickian libertarianism and goes on to lay out the basis for Olsaretti's own influential account of voluntariness. Would make a good required reading or further reading.

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Olsaretti, Serena. Liberty, Desert and the Market: A Philosophical Study
2004, Cambridge University Press.
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Abstract: Are inequalities of income created by the free market just? In this book Serena Olsaretti examines two main arguments that justify those inequalities: the first claims that they are just because they are deserved, and the second claims that they are just because they are what free individuals are entitled to. Both these arguments purport to show, in different ways, that giving responsible individuals their due requires that free market inequalities in incomes be allowed. Olsaretti argues, however, that neither argument is successful, and shows that when we examine closely the principle of desert and the notions of liberty and choice invoked by defenders of the free market, it appears that a conception of justice that would accommodate these notions, far from supporting free market inequalities, calls for their elimination. Her book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in political philosophy, political theory and normative economics.

Comment: Attacks libertarian defences of market distributions on the grounds that they are either justified or the result of free choices. Provides a good counterpoint to Nozick's entitlement theory in particular, and draws out important issues on the relationship between choice, voluntariness, and responsibility. Olsaretti's own account of voluntariness, which she develops in the later chapters is hugely influential. Would make good reading for an in-depth treatment of libertarianism and/or Nozick's entitlement theory. Would also provide very substantial further reading.

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Olsaretti, Serena. The Concept of Voluntariness – A Reply
2008, Journal of Political Philosophy 16(1): 165-188.
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Abstract: In his paper on ‘The Concept of Voluntariness’, Ben Colburn helpfully takes up the task of developing my view about the sense of voluntariness that is relevant for judgments of substantive responsibility, or judgments about individuals’ liability to pick up some costs of their choices. On my view, a necessary condition for holding people responsible for their choices is that those choices be voluntary in the sense that they are not made because there is no acceptable alternative, where the standard for the acceptability of options is an objective standard of well-being. […] Colburn’s first point is entirely well-taken. By way of endorsing it, I ask whether we are justified in taking some but not all kinds of beliefs to affect the voluntariness of choice, as his elaboration of my view suggests. However, I find Colburn’s second point less convincing, and argue that we should allow for the moral character of options to affect the voluntariness of choice.

Comment: Short debate article responding to some criticisms of Olsaretti's account of voluntariness made by Ben Colburn and probably best read in conjunction with Colburn's article. Does a good job of responding to the criticisms and explaining her account. Good further reading for teaching about voluntariness and autonomy.

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Stemplowska, Zofia. Rescuing Luck Egalitarianism
2013, Journal of Social Philosophy 44(4): 402-419.
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Introduction: There was once a luck egalitarian school of thought, according to which disadvantage arising due to bad luck was unjust—at the bar of egalitarian justice—while disadvantage arising due to choice was just, at least if the choice was exercised against the background of equal options. “Choice” in this context needed to be “genuine choice”—which, for some, meant “voluntary,” and for others, also “freely willed”—but if it was genuine, then it did not matter whether it was a silly mistake or a considered course of action: if it led to disadvantage, its presence was deemed sufficient to justify leaving the agent to bear the disadvantage. Let’s call the view that choice leading to disadvantage is sufficient to justify the disadvantage, at least if choice was exercised against the background of equal options, the inflated view of choice. […] The inflated view was so crude that in the face of criticism pointing out its crudeness, its supporters have adopted more sophisticated views, and no recent luck egalitarian has defended the crude version. These more sophisticated views recognize that the mere fact that an outcome has been chosen does not make the outcome just—not even by the standards of egalitarian justice alone.

In what follows, I will argue that this dominant reading of early luck egalitarianism as committed to the inflated view is, at best, a one-sided interpretation of the iconic writings of the luck egalitarian literature advanced by its most famous proponents, namely Arneson, Cohen, and Dworkin. Their writings did not unambiguously point toward the inflated view; if the early texts were interpreted more charitably, we could have, perhaps, avoided associating luck egalitarianism with the inflated view, arriving immediately at the sophisticated versions of luck egalitarianism dominating the field today.

Comment: Defends luck egalitarianism in general, and the originators of the view in particular, from the common criticism that it is committed to the 'inflated view of choice' which generates unpalatable conclusions because it leaves people who have made choices to bear all the consequences of those choices. Would make good further reading for anyone working on this topic.

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