Both publicity and universality in application as Rawls defines it are controversial conditions. For morality often requires much that is contrary to their personal interests. So long as they understand their individual duties, it may be better if they do not understand the principles and reasons behind them. The reason Rawls sees publicity and universality as necessary relates to the conception of the person implicit in justice as fairness. If we conceive of persons as free and equal moral persons capable of rational and moral autonomy, then they should not be under any illusions about the bases of their social relations, but should be able to understand, accept, and apply these principles in their deliberations about justice.
These are important conditions for the freedom and autonomy moral and political of democratic citizens. Its principles should be such that when they are embodied in the basic structure of society, people tend to acquire the corresponding sense of justice and develop a desire to act in accordance with its principles. The stability of a just society does not mean that it must be unchanging. It means rather that in the face of inevitable change members of a society should be able to maintain their allegiance to principles of justice and the institutions they support.
When disruptions to society do occur via economic crises, war, natural catastrophes, etc.
Edited by Michael Rosen and Brian Leiter
The role of the stability requirement for Rawls is twofold: first, to test whether potential principles of justice are compatible with human natural propensities, or our moral psychology and general facts about social and economic institutions; and second, to determine whether principles are conducive to realizing the human good. To be stable principles of justice should be realizable in a feasible and enduring social world. They need to be practicably possible given the limitations of the human condition. Moreover, this feasible social world must be one that can endure over time, not by just any means, but by gaining the willing support of people who live in it.
For example, suppose principles of justice were to impose a duty to practice impartial benevolence towards all people, and thus a duty to show no greater concern for the welfare of ourselves and loved ones than we do towards millions if not billions of others. This principle demands too much of human nature and would not be sustainable or even feasible—people simply would reject its onerous demands.
Recall here the higher-order interests of the parties in development and exercise of their capacities for justice. Rawls regards our moral capacities for justice as an integral part of our nature as sociable beings. He believes that one role of a conception of justice is to accommodate human capacities for sociability, the capacities for justice that enable us to be cooperative social beings. So not only should a conception of justice advance human interests, but it should also answer to our moral psychology by enabling us to knowingly and willingly exercise our moral capacities and sensibilities, which are among the moral powers to be reasonable.
This relates to the second ground for the stability condition, which can only be mentioned here: it is that principles of justice should be compatible with, and even conducive to, the human good. It speaks strongly in favor of a conception of justice that it is compatible with and promotes the human good. Moreover, Rawls assumes that a conception of justice should enable citizens to adequately exercise and fully develop their moral powers. It must then engage their sense of justice; ideally, they should not regard justice as a burden but should come to experience that acting on and from principles of justice is worth doing for its own sake.
For Rawls, it speaks strongly in favor of a conception of justice that acting for the sake of its principles is experienced as an activity that is good in itself. For then justice and exercise of the sense of justice are for those persons intrinsic goods and a precondition for their living a good life. The original position is not a bargaining situation where the parties make proposals and counterproposals and negotiate over different principles of justice. They are presented with a list of conceptions of justice taken from the tradition of western political philosophy.
In a series of pairwise comparisons, they consider all the conceptions of justice made available to them and ultimately agree unanimously to accept the conception that survives this winnowing process. They are assigned the task of agreeing on principles for designing the basic structure of a self-contained society under the circumstances of justice. In making their decision, the parties are motivated only by their own rational interests. They do not take moral considerations of justice into account except in so far as these considerations bear on their achieving their interests.
Their interests again are defined in terms of their each acquiring an adequate share of primary social goods rights and liberties, powers and opportunities, income and wealth, etc. Since the parties are ignorant of their particular conceptions of the good and of all other particular facts about their society, they are not in a position to engage in bargaining. In effect they all have the same general information and are motivated by the same interests. Rawls makes four arguments in Theory , Part I for the principles of justice. The main argument for the difference principle is made later in section 49, and is substantially amended and clarified in Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.
The common theme throughout the original position arguments is that it is more rational for the parties to choose the principles of justice over any other alternative.
Sartre’s Political Philosophy | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Rawls devotes most of his attention to the comparison of justice as fairness with classical and average utilitarianism, with briefer discussions of perfectionism TJ, sect. To follow this strategy, Rawls says you should choose as if your enemy were to assign your social position in whatever kind of society you end up in. Which, if either, of these strategies is more sensible to use depends on the circumstances and many other factors. A third strategy advocated by orthodox Bayesian decision theory, says we should always choose to directly maximize expected utility.
Since it simplifies matters to apply the same rule of choice to all decisions this is a highly attractive idea, so long as one can accept that it is always safe to assume that that the maximization of expected utility leads over time to maximizing actual utility. What about those extremely rare instances where there is absolutely no basis upon which to make probability estimates? This makes sense on the assumption that if you have no more premonition of the likelihood of one option rather than another, they are for all you know equally likely to occur.
By observing this rule of choice consistently over time, a rational chooser presumably should maximize his or her individual expected utility, and hopefully actual utility as well. Rawls argues that, given the enormous gravity of choice in the original position, plus the fact that the choice is not repeatable, it is rational for the parties to follow the maximin strategy when choosing between the principles of justice and principles of average or aggregate utility or most any other principle. Not surprisingly, following the maximin rule of choice results in choice of the principles of justice over the principles of utility average or aggregate ; for unlike utilitarianism, justice as fairness guarantees equal basic liberties, fair equal opportunities, and an adequate social minimum for all citizens.
Why does Rawls think maximin is the rational choice rule? Recall what is at stake in choice from the original position. The decision is not an ordinary choice. It is rather a unique and irrevocable choice where the parties decide the basic structure of their society, or the kind of social world they will live in and the background conditions against which they will develop and pursue their aims.
The principles of utility, by contrast, provide no guarantee of any of these benefits. First, there should be no basis or at most a very insecure basis upon which to make estimates of probabilities. Second, the choice singled out by observing the maximin rule is an acceptable alternative we can live with, so that one cares relatively little by comparison for what is to be gained above the minimum conditions secured by the maximin choice.
When this condition is satisfied, then no matter what position one eventually ends up in, it is at least acceptable. The third condition for applying the maximin rule is that all the other alternatives have worse outcomes that we could not accept and live with. Of these three conditions Rawls later says that the first plays a minor role, and that it is the second and third conditions that are crucial to the maximin argument for justice as fairness JF This seems to suggest that, even if the veil of ignorance were not as thick and parties did have some degree of knowledge of the likelihood of ending up in one social position rather than another, still it would be more rational to choose the principles of justice over the principle of utility.
Rawls contends all three conditions for the maximin strategy are satisfied in the original position when choice is made between the principles of justice and the principle of utility average and aggregate. For the principles of justice imply that no matter what position you occupy in society, you will have the rights and resources needed to maintain your valued commitments and purposes, to effectively exercise your capacities for rational and moral deliberation and action, and to maintain your sense of self-respect as an equal citizen.
Conditions 2 and 3 for applying maximin are then satisfied in the comparison of justice as fairness with the principle of average or aggregate utility. Thus, John Harsanyi contends that it is more rational under conditions of complete uncertainty always to choose according to the principle of insufficient reason and assume an equal probability of occupying any position in society. When the equiprobability assumption is made, the parties in the original position would choose the principle of average utility instead of the principles of justice Harsanyi Rawls denies that the parties have a psychological disposition to risk-aversion.
He argues however that it is rational to choose as if one were risk averse under the highly exceptional circumstances of the original position. His point is that, while there is nothing rational about a fixed disposition to risk aversion, it is nonetheless rational in some circumstances to choose conservatively to protect certain fundamental interests against loss or compromise. It does not make one a risk averse person, but instead normally it is entirely rational to purchase auto liability, health, home, and life insurance against accident or calamity.
The original position is such a situation writ large. Even if one knew in the original position that the citizen one represents enjoys taking risks, this would still not be a reason to gamble with his or her rights, liberties and starting position in society. For if the risktaker were born into a traditional, repressive, or fundamentalist society, she might well have little opportunity for taking the kinds of risks, such as gambling, that she normally enjoys.
It is rational then even for risktakers to choose conservatively in the original position and guarantee their future opportunities to gamble or otherwise take risks. Harsanyi and other orthodox Bayesians contend that maximin is an irrational decision rule, and provide ample examples. But examples do not suffice here; simply because maximin is under many circumstances irrational does not mean that it is never rational. No doubt maximin is an irrational strategy under most circumstances of choice uncertainty, particularly under circumstances where we will have future opportunities to recoup our potential losses and choose again.
But these are not the circumstances of the original position; once the rules of justice are decided, they apply in perpetuity, and there is no opportunity to renegotiate or escape the situation. One who relies on the equiprobability assumption in choosing principles of justice in the original position is being foolishly reckless given the gravity of choice at stake. Rawls exhibits the force of the maximin argument in discussing liberty of conscience. He says TJ, sect. A rational person with convictions about what gives life meaning is not willing to negotiate with and gamble away the right to hold and express those convictions and the freedom to act on them.
Some people e. But behind the veil of ignorance no one knows whether he or she is such a person, and there are no grounds for making this assumption. Knowing general facts about human propensities and sociability, the parties must take into account that they may well have convictions and values and commitments they are unwilling to compromise. Besides, the nihilist should want to protect his or her freedom to be a nihilist, to protect against ending up in an intolerant religious society.
Thus it remains irrational to jeopardize basic liberties by choosing the principle of utility instead of the principles of justice. None of this is to say that maximin is normally a rational choice strategy. As we see below in Section 6. Rawls relies upon the maximin argument mainly to argue for the first principle of justice and a guaranteed social minimum. Other arguments are needed to justify the difference principle. There are three additional arguments Rawls makes to support justice as fairness all in TJ, sect. The parties in the original position have the task of agreeing to principles that all rationally can accept under the circumstances of the original position.
But their rational choice is partially determined by the principles that free and equal moral persons in a well ordered society reasonably can accept and agree to as the basic principles governing their social and political relations. To determine the most appropriate principles of justice to govern relations among ourselves, we are discover the principles that would be generally accepted and endorsed among free and equal reasonable and rational persons with a sense of justice in an ideal society where these principles were fully realized and generally complied with.
The assumption of strict compliance is made within contract views to insure the integrity of the agreement: it means the parties will not renege but can rely on each other to act according to the principles agreed to and that their agreement is not in vain TJ More generally, Rawls says the same principles chosen for an ideal society are to be applied to assess the justice of institutions and laws in our own non-ideal world where societies and individuals only partially comply with them if at all. By determining the principles of justice that would apply in an ideal society, we can claim to have discovered objective universal principles that can be applied to every society to ascertain the degree of injustice and to guide reform.
Some of these arguments are motivated by political conservatism or pessimism about human capacities for change Gaus , Schmidtz These are complex criticisms and the debate over ideal theory warrants far more discussion than can be given here. Knowing that they are required to choose principles for a well-ordered society, the parties must choose principles that they sincerely believe they will be able to accept, endorse and willingly comply with under conditions where these principles are generally enforced.
For reasons to be discussed shortly, Rawls says this condition favors agreement on the principles of justice over utilitarianism and other alternatives. But first, consider the frequent objection that there is no genuine agreement at all in the original position, for the thick veil of ignorance deprives the parties of all bases for bargaining cf.
In the absence of bargaining, it is said, there can be no contract. The parties in the OP cannot bargain without knowing what they have to offer or to gain in exchange. In response, not all contracts involve bargaining or are of the nature of economic transactions. Some involve a mutual pledge and commitment to shared purposes and principles. Marriage contracts, or agreements among friends or the members of a religious, benevolent, or political association are often of this nature. Even though ignorant of particular facts about themselves, the parties in fact do give something in exchange for something received: they all exchange their mutual commitment to accept and abide by the principles of justice and to uphold just institutions once they enter their well-ordered society.
Each agrees only on condition others do too, and all tie themselves into social and political relations in perpetuity. Their agreement is final, and they will not permit its renegotiation should circumstances turn out to be different than some hoped for. Their mutual commitment to justice is reflected by the fact that once these principles become embodied in institutions there are no legal means that permit anyone to depart from the terms of their agreement.
As a result, the parties have to take seriously the legal obligations and social sanctions they will incur as a result of their agreement, for there is no going back to the initial situation. So if they do not sincerely believe that they can accept the requirements of a conception of justice and conform their actions and life plans accordingly, then these are strong reasons to avoid choosing those principles.
It would not be rational for a party to take risks, falsely assuming that if he ends up badly, he can violate at will the terms of agreement or later regain his initial situation and renegotiate terms of cooperation see Freeman, ; Freeman, b, — Rawls gives special poignancy to this mutual commitment of the parties by making it a condition that the parties cannot choose and agree to principles in bad faith; they have to be able, not simply to live with and grudgingly accept, but instead to willingly endorse the principles of justice as members of society.
This is a feature of a well-ordered society. The parties are assumed to have a sense of justice; indeed the development and exercise of it is one of their fundamental interests. Hence they must choose principles that that they can not only accept and live with, but which are responsive to their sense of justice and they can unreservedly endorse.
Given these conditions on choice, a party cannot take risks with principles he knows he will have difficulty complying with voluntarily. He would be making an agreement in bad faith, and this is ruled out by the conditions of the original position. Given the lack of these guarantees under the principle of utility, it is much more difficult for those who end up worse off in a utilitarian society to willingly accept their situation and commit themselves to the utility principle. It is a rare person indeed who can freely and without resentment sacrifice his or her life prospects so that those who are better off can have even greater comforts, privileges, and powers.
This is too much to demand of our capacities for human benevolence. It requires a kind of commitment that people cannot make in good faith, for who could willingly support laws that are so detrimental to oneself and the people one cares about most that they must sacrifice their fundamental interests for the sake of those more advantaged? Besides, why should we encourage such subservient dispositions and the accompanying lack of self-respect? The strains of commitment incurred by agreement in the original position provide strong reasons for the parties to choose the principles of justice and reject the risks involved in choosing the principles of average or aggregate utility.
First, hypothetical agents situated equally in the original position unanimously agree to principles of justice. In order for the hypothetical parties in the original position to agree on principles of justice, there must be a high likelihood that real persons, given human nature and general facts about social and economic cooperation, can also agree and act on the same principles, and that a society structured by these principles is feasible and can endure. This is the stability requirement referred to earlier. One conception of justice is relatively more stable than another the more willing people are to observe its requirements under conditions of a well-ordered society.
Assuming that each conception of justice has a corresponding society that is as well-ordered as can be according to its terms, the stability question raised in Theory is: Which conception of justice is more likely to engage the moral sensibilities and sense of justice of free and equal persons as well as affirm their good? Rawls makes two arguments from the original position that invoke the stability requirement, the arguments 1 from publicity and 2 from self-respect.
Recall the publicity condition discussed earlier: A feature of a well-ordered society is that its regulative principles of justice are publicly known and appealed to as a basis for deciding laws and justifying basic institutions. A conception of justice that cannot maintain the stability of a well-ordered society that satisfies the publicity condition is to be rejected by the parties in the original position.
For public knowledge that reasons of maximum average or aggregate utility determine the distribution of benefits and burdens would lead those worse-off to object to and resent their situation, and reject the principle of utility as the basic principle governing social institutions. After all, the well-being and interests of the least advantaged, perhaps even their basic liberties, are being sacrificed for the greater happiness of those who are already more fortunate and have a greater share of primary social goods.
It is too much to expect of human nature that people should freely acquiesce in and embrace such terms of cooperation. It is a feature of our moral psychology, Rawls contends, that we normally come to form attachments to people and institutions that are concerned with our good; moreover we tend to resent those persons and institutions that take unfair advantage of us and act contrary to our good.
The parties in the original position will then aim to choose principles that best secure their sense of self-respect. Now being regarded by others as a free and independent person of equal status with others is crucial to the self-respect of persons who regard themselves as free and equal members of a democratic society. Justice as fairness, by affording and protecting the priority of equal basic liberties and fair equal opportunities for all, secures the status of each as free and equal citizens.
Moreover, the second principle secures adequate social powers and economic resources for all so that they find the exercise of their equal basic liberties to be worthwhile. The second principle has the effect of making citizens socially and economically independent, so that no one need be subservient to the will of another. Citizens then can regard and respect one another as equals, and not as masters or subordinates. See Pettit Equal basic liberties, fair equal opportunities, and political and economic independence are primary among the social bases of self-respect in a democratic society.
The parties in the original position should then choose the principles of justice over utilitarianism and other teleological views both to secure their sense of self-respect, and to procure the same for others, thereby guaranteeing greater overall stability. Rawls substantially relies on the publicity condition to argue against utilitarianism and perfectionism. In Theory he puts great weight on publicity ultimately because he thinks that giving people knowledge of the moral bases of coercive laws and the principles governing society is a condition of fully acknowledging and respecting them as free and responsible rational moral agents.
With publicity of first principles, people have knowledge of the real reasons for their social and political relations and the formative influences of the basic structure on their characters, plans and prospects. Moreover, public principles of justice can serve agents in their practical reasoning and provide democratic citizens a common basis for political argument and justification. CP f. Full publicity is then a condition of the political, rational, and moral autonomy of persons, which are all significant values according to justice as fairness.
The difference principle the first part of the second principle, through a , addresses differences or inequalities in the distribution of the primary goods of income and wealth and powers and positions of office and responsibility. It basically requires that a society is to institute the economic system that would make the least advantaged class better off than they would be in any other feasible economic system, compatible with maintaining citizens equal basic liberties and fair equality of opportunity.
PL n. Disability payments to meet the needs of severely handicapped citizens who are permanently unable to work are not ascertained by reference to the difference principle for Rawls, but instead are to be determined by principles of assistance, which he leaves unspecified PL n. As a principle for structuring basic economic institutions on grounds of reciprocity, the difference principle itself is not an appropriate principle for compensating mental and physical handicaps and other disabilities. A group right, like an individual right, will be a right held by a single unitary entity.
Groups might bear duties in the same fashion. A group, as a single integral entity, can possess duties just as it can possess rights, and those duties may derive from group rights. For example, each nation's right of self-determination is most obviously directed at other nations who, as nations, have corresponding duties to respect one another's rights. It remains logically possible, of course, that duties stemming from group rights will fall upon individual persons, just as it is possible that the rights of individual persons will generate duties for groups. In recent years, however, some proponents of group rights have conceptualised them quite differently.
They have understood a group right as a right that is the shared or jointly held right of a set of individuals. In this conception, a group right is still properly so-called because the individuals who make up the right-holding group possess a right together that none of them possesses separately. The right is not a mere aggregation of rights held individually by the members of the group. But, a group right conceived in this way does not entail giving a moral status to the group qua group that is separate from that of its members severally.
Rather, the moral standing that underwrites the group right is the moral standing of the several individuals who jointly hold the right. The distinction between these two conceptions of group rights has frequently passed unnoticed and there is no agreed vocabulary that marks it. The term corporate will be used here to describe the traditional conception, since that conception presents a right-holding group as a unitary entity. Joseph Raz has provided the most influential statement of the collective conception. According to Raz, if a right is to be a collective right, it must satisfy the following three conditions:.
Thus, a group of individuals has a collective right if their shared interest is sufficient to ground a duty in others, and if the interest of any single member of the group is insufficient by itself to ground that duty. When these conditions are satisfied, the group of individuals possess a right together that none of them possesses separately. In fact, Raz argues that the interests that ground a right are not necessarily limited to the interests of the right-holder; they can also include interests that others have in the right-holder's having the right , —63; , 44—59; For example, the right of journalists not to disclose their sources is grounded not only in their own interests but also in the public's interest in their having that right.
That consideration can also apply to collective rights. See also Margalit and Raz The collective conception need not be tied to an interest theory of rights. Miller, for example, gives an account of the collective conception that owes nothing to that theory , — But the ascendancy of the interest theory of rights in recent years has meant that those who have adopted the collective conception have frequently followed Raz in combining it with the interest theory. For criticism of the collective theory so conceived, see Griffin , —; Preda Moreover, that theory does provide a ready-made account of what it is that individuals share—interests—that makes them a right-holding group.
The way that interests can accumulate across individuals also helps to explain how it is that a group of individuals can have a right, as a group, that none of them possesses singly. For Raz, the number of individuals in a group can affect both whether the group has a right and how weighty its right is , , Consider, for example, the claim of a linguistic minority that its language should be usable, and provided for, in the public domain.
Given the public costs of meeting that claim, it would seem implausible to hold that we should take no account of the size of a linguistic minority of which there may be several in deciding whether the claim amounts to a right. The fact that, on the collective conception, the individual members of a group hold their right jointly does not entail that the right must be grounded in an interest that an individual could have as an independent individual.
Some goods take a necessarily collective form, so that they cannot be made available to an individual in isolation from others; for example, the good constituted by a group's culture or its communal form of life. Yet it still makes perfectly good sense to hold that a group right to those goods is morally grounded in the interests of the several individuals who make up the relevant group and that the right is held jointly by those individuals. Thus, even though the collective conception gives no moral standing to a group independently of its members, it can still account for groups' having rights to goods that are necessarily of a non-individual form.
At the same time, there is nothing in the logic of the collective conception that limits the possible objects of group rights to non-individualizable goods. Nor, if we adopt the interest theory, need the right-holding group be a group in virtue of anything other than the shared interest that grounds their right.
The second condition that Raz stipulates for a collective right suggests that individuals must be members of a group before they can go on to have interests of a sort that might ground a collective right. Miller, too, makes membership of a social group a defining condition of a joint right's being a collective right , But it is not clear why we should hold that a set of individuals can have a collective right only if they are antecedently identifiable as members of a group. Consider the following example. A city is characterised by very heavy traffic that poses a danger to its pedestrians.
The city's pedestrians have an interest in there being a network of walkways so that they can move around the city in safety. Each pedestrian, as an individual, has an interest in those walkways, but the interest of just one pedestrian is insufficient to create a duty for the city authorities to construct the walkways. However, the shared interest of all pedestrians may well suffice to ground that duty, in which case pedestrians will have a collective right that the authorities should construct and maintain the walkways.
The point of this example is not to insist that, in these circumstances, pedestrians would indeed have that right. Rather it is to show that a a group might have a right to a good that is intelligible as a good for an independent individual, and b a right-holding group need be a group only in virtue of the shared interest that grounds their right. The group need not be institutionalised as a group, nor need it be distinguished by a common ascriptive feature. The collective conception can, then, make sense of group rights both to goods that would be intelligible as goods for independent individuals and to goods that are intelligible only as goods enjoyed collectively with others.
It is often supposed that, if a good takes a necessarily collective form e. That is associated with the supposition that, if the shared interest generates a group right, the right-holding group must also be understood as an irreducible moral entity. Both suppositions are mistaken.
Even in the case of a shared or collective interest, the interests that do the moral work in generating a right are entirely intelligible as the interests of the several individuals who make up the group and whose good is at stake. Similarly, the moral standing necessary for the individuals, as a group, to have a right to the shared good can be the standing of the several individuals who compose the group. Thus, vindicating group rights need not entail showing that the right-holding group has either interests or a standing that is not reducible to those of its members.
At the same time, there is a limit to the range of cases the collective conception can encompass. As was mentioned earlier, there can be cases in which the interest of a group logically precedes that of its members and in which the members have interests simply because, qua members, they share in the interest of the group. For example, a football club may have the stated aim of being as successful as possible in playing against rival clubs.
The club will then have an interest in whatever will promote that aim, including fielding the strongest team possible in each game. I, as a member of the club, will share in its interests. So, for example, if it is in the club's interest to drop me from its team because I am not playing well enough, that will also be in my interest qua member. That interest qua member may conflict with a personal interest that I have in remaining a team player, but arguably that does not disturb my interest qua member. If we understand the interest that grounds a group's right as an interest that the group has independently of its members, and if we understand the members' interests as mere derivatives of that group interest, we must understand both the interest and the right of the group according to the corporate model.
The group right cannot be understood adequately as a product of the aggregated interests of the individuals who populate the group Newman , 57— For the same reason, the collective conception cannot easily make sense of a group right as a right possessed by a group whose identity is unaffected by changes in its membership. As Newman points out , 59—60 , if we conceive a group right as a right held jointly by those who compose the group, each change in the group's membership must entail a change in the identity of the right-holding group.
On the other hand, that may not be an objection. Groups, such as cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious groups, are often shifting amorphous entities and we may have to get used to the idea that right-holding groups can be groups that have constantly changing compositions. Practically, that may be of little consequence for group rights provided that there is a reasonable continuity of interest amongst the group's changing members, so that the content of the right does not change with every change in membership.
Finally, note three things about the distinction between corporate and collective rights. First, the limits of the collective conception identified above stem from its unwillingness to conceive a group separately from its members. They do not stem from any inability of the collective conception to make sense of necessarily shared or collective interests—interests that individuals can have only along with others. Secondly, we can most readily conceive a group separately from its members when it is formally constituted as an institution, as in the case of a football club or a university.
But once we separate a group from its members in that way, we run into the issue of whether we should really ascribe the right to an institution or an organisation rather than to a group Sheehy , —, — Thirdly, it is logically possible to interpret some group rights as corporate and others as collective, so that we are not obliged to commit ourselves exclusively to just one of these conceptions.
The distinction between corporate and collective rights concerns the way in which we might conceive the subject of a group right. But the issue of whether there is reason to ascribe rights to groups is sometimes approached through their possible objects —through what group rights might be rights to. If there are goods that have a necessarily group character and if there are rights to those goods, it would seem that those must be group rights.
So are there such goods? The obvious place to start is with the economist's idea of public goods. We might reasonably suppose with Raz , that a right can be a group right only if it is a right to a good that is public to the members of the right-holding group. For the relevant group, the good must be non-excludable it must be available to all members of the group and non-rival its consumption by one member of the group must not diminish its possible consumption by other members. Clean air is a standard example of a public good, but we can reasonably hold that individuals have rights to clean air as individuals.
An industrialist who seriously pollutes a community's atmosphere might be held to violate the right to breathe unpolluted air of each individual in the affected community rather than a collective or corporate right of the community as a group. A participatory good is a public good of a particular type. It is a good whose enjoyment by an individual depends upon its also being enjoyed by others. Consider the case of clean air again. Although this is typically a good that is public to a group, each individual breathes in and out as an individual and enjoys the good of clean air as an individual.
The goodness of clean air for me does not depend upon its also being good for you, even though it is good for you. Those are necessarily social goods. I cannot enjoy genuine friendship as an entirely individual good; I can play a team game only if others do too; and I can take pleasure in conviviality only as a shared experience. Participatory goods are goods that must be both produced and enjoyed publicly, and goods that are simultaneously produced and enjoyed by those who participate in them.
While participatory goods combine production with consumption, it is the necessarily public character of their enjoyment that really distinguishes them from other public goods. Her claim is not that every participatory good must be the object of a right; rather it is that, if there is a right to a participatory good, that must be a group right. The relevant right here is neither the liberty-right to participate in the good nor the claim-right to be unprevented by others from participating in the good, both of which will normally be individual rights. Rather it is a right to the participatory good itself e.
If groups have rights to these participatory goods, do others have duties to provide them with those goods? If, for example, a group has a right to its culture as a participatory good, that might imply that it is entitled to constrain the freedom of its dissident members in ways that ensure the continuance of its culture. If a linguistic minority has a right to its language as a participatory good, that might imply that it is entitled to coerce reluctant others to use its language in order to sustain and promote the language as a participatory good.
Moreover, some participatory goods can be the goods they are only if people participate in them willingly. And they would be rights not to outsiders' participation in the good, but to their non-prevention of, and their non-interference with, the group's participatory good and perhaps also rights to measures and resources that will facilitate the group's continued enjoyment of its participatory good.
A linguistic minority may, for instance, have a right that the majority society should establish, maintain and respect arrangements that will secure the minority's ability to continue using its language. Similarly, an indigenous minority may have a right that the majority society should institute arrangements that will protect its traditional form of life, which form of life is, for the minority's members, a participatory good.
If only groups can have rights to participatory goods, it does not follow that groups can have rights only to participatory goods. They may also have rights to non-participatory goods, such as safe walkways or community health safeguards or coastal defences. Even the claim that rights to participatory goods must be group rights has not escaped challenge. James Morauta argues that, conceptually, a participatory good could be the object of an individual right. An individual might, for example, have a right to require others to participate with him in speaking his language and those others may be duty-bound to comply if he so insists.
That may be a morally unappealing state of affairs but there is nothing in the logic of rights or participatory goods that rules it out provided that the very nature of the good at issue does not require voluntary participation. It relies also upon a moral assumption about the relative standing of the individuals who have interests in, or who lay claim to, a participatory good. Suppose, for example, that one person in a nation had, uniquely, a right that that nation should be self-determining. His fellow-nationals should then be part of a self-determining unit, not because they are entitled to be, but because he is entitled that they should be.
He therefore has a right over their lives that they themselves do not. Normally, we would regard that sort of inequality in moral standing as entirely unacceptable; but it is because we take that moral unacceptability for granted that we are predisposed to accept that rights to participatory goods—or, indeed, rights to public goods as public goods—must be group rights.
Of course, people of equal standing can be unequally interested in a good but, in any sizeable group, it is most unlikely that one individual's interest in a good that is public to the group will be so special and so disproportionate that that individual will have, uniquely, a right to the good as a good for the group as a whole Jones , Criticism of group rights can take a case-by-case form. The critic might argue that close inspection of particular rights that are commonly claimed as group rights reveals either that they are not rights at all or that they dissolve into individual rights e.
Griffin , —; Lagerspetz However, much criticism is directed at the very idea of group rights. That criticism is generally of two sorts: either it is sceptical of the claim that groups can hold rights or it is fearful of the implications or consequences of ascribing rights to groups. Sceptics often object to the ontology of groups that they take to be implicit in the idea of group rights. To suppose that groups, like individual persons, can hold rights is to suppose that groups can have a being and an integrity that match those of individual persons.
Those who make and administer the law may have good reason to create and to operate with fictions, such as the legal fiction of corporate personality. Groups do not exist separately from their members and, when we ascribe rights to groups as such, we ignore that simple truth. Narveson , —5; Wellman , —77; cf Vincent Doubts about the integrity of groups are sometimes sociological rather than ontological in nature. Generally, we might suppose that the groups to which we ascribe rights have a unity and identity that is independent of, and that provides the foundation for, our ascription of rights to them.
In reality, however, pre-institutionalised groups are shifting and changing entities and lack clear boundaries. Flanagan ; Kukathas , —15; Mitnick ; Offe , —31; Waldron Mello ; Sharp Groups may be found improper subjects of rights because they lack properties, other than genuine integrity, that are deemed essential for right-holding.
In general, proponents of the interest theory of rights have been able to view group rights more generously than those who adhere to the choice theory, although the supposition that groups can have interests has not gone unchallenged Wall , They can extend rights to organised groups that possess decision-procedures Preda ; Sumner , — , but some argue that even those groups are not capable of the kind of agency required for right-holding Wellman , —65; Wall , , —6; cf. Nickel See also Kymlicka , —2; Ellis , —7. Next, imagine a lion, strong and courageous. This represents the emotional part of our psyches.
Finally combine these with a small homunculus human form —a symbol of our rational or logical faculty. In true Greek fashion, Plato asks us to mash them all together inside a single hybrid organism. Now look in the mirror. When reason rules over my emotion, which rules over my desires, I attain inner freedom from my cravings.
And this inner freedom is accompanied by something else important, namely real friends. As many people can attest, it is near impossible to be friends with a tyrant or an addict, because they will sell you down the river for a fix. But the rationally ordered soul is able to set aside her appetites when her friend needs help or companionship.
The other dominant model of inner freedom is equanimity, or peace of mind. Greeks like Plato thought this followed directly from rational control, but other traditions, like Buddhism, think this peaceful conscious state flows from specific meditation activities. Equanimity-inducing insight might have a rational component, but according to the Buddhist, Hindu, and Daoist models it comes rather from abandoning the discursive and limiting logic of the rational mind. It is the freedom of emptiness rather than control.
Now, however, what about the good forms of bondage? For monks, nuns, existential heroes, and loner philosophers, there may be a life of individualistic inner liberty, but for the rest of us there is family. We are gloriously unfree in the sense that we have kids, and siblings, and parents, and profound friendships, and other forms of human bondage.
These strong bonds do not emerge from the little homunculus of reason—they are not rational ties or duties. Nor should family ties be conceptualized as multiheaded appetites, for family bonds are stronger, less promiscuous, and more durable. But my claim is different. I suggest that I am never going to have inner freedom because my well-being is inextricably tied to the well-being of my children, siblings, parents and so on.
Like other social mammals, we are born into care-groups, and our feelings are interwoven with the experiences of our cluster. It is not clear to a baby mammal where she begins or ends, and she must learn the parameters of individuality. Our ability to feel the suffering or deprivation of a family member is part of our instinctual equipment. I literally sense a little taste of your pain, just by witnessing it.
The subjective wince that I feel at your suffering is neurologically underwritten by automatic brain processing; both my brain stem and anterior cingulate activate when I am poked with a pin, but my anterior cingulate also activates when I witness you getting poked with a pin. Having children gives you important access to significant aspects of the human condition—no one knows the depths of human vulnerability like a parent. Oh sure, Nietzsche can wring his hands about the eternal recurrence, but let him spend a day in the emergency room with his injured kid.
Beyond things like vulnerability and a sense of the fragility of existence, raising kids also gives you real insight into epistemology and ethics e. It is not intrinsically better to be a parent than a non-parent. That is not my point. Many of us would like to have inner freedom, and we even fantasize about it. But it is inconsistent with family life, because family life joins your nervous system to all the other nervous systems in your nuclear tribe. One of the original researchers, Dr. Vittorio Gallese, has written together with N. Stamenov a fairly comprehensive story of the discovery and implications, called Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language John Benjamins Publishing, And what is more important than that?
I raise the questions not to be clever or to try to trip up someone who has put serious thought into the issues he raises, but to achieve greater clarity and to invite him to explore his views with us more fully. If our freedom is already complete, how could we obtain more of it? Is there, perhaps, a trade-off between the two freedoms, such that they could be equalized at the margin, even if they were weighted differently?
Fourth, if inner freedom and external freedom do not logically implicate each other, is there nonetheless some causal, rather than logical, relationship between them? Fifth, what is the relationship between inner freedom and our existence as materially individuated and embodied animals? Could a brain lesion, or the presence or absence of an enzyme or a chemical neurotransmitter, lessen or increase our inner freedom?
Irwin identifies inner freedom with a number of philosophic traditions, including Stoicism. To desire or to fear anything else, and to think your happiness depends on something beyond yourself, is to be enslaved to what one desire or fear. Following Stoic doctrine, Irwin tells us that inner freedom — not being governed by our desires or fears — is more important than external freedom, or at least that the former has priority over the latter, because the former can in fact be achieved completely, whereas the latter depends on things other than our own action, including the actions of others, which one cannot fully control.
Irwin asserts the urgency and priority of inner freedom, but he claims that the less urgent external freedom is nonetheless implied by inner freedom. The British philosopher T. Green, a follower of G. We shall probably all agree that freedom, rightly understood, is the greatest of blessings; that its attainment is the true end of all our effort as citizens. But when we thus speak of freedom, we should consider carefully what we mean by it. We do not mean merely freedom from restraint of compulsion. We do not mean merely freedom to do as we like irrespectively of what it is that we like.
We do not mean a freedom that can be enjoyed by one man or one set of men at the cost of a loss of freedom to others. When we speak of freedom as something to be so highly prized, we mean a positive power or capacity of doing or enjoying something worth doing or enjoying, and that, too, something that we do or enjoy in common with others. We mean by it a power which each man exercises through the help or security given him by his fellow-men, and which he in turn helps to secure for them. The citizens of England now make its law. We ask them by law to put a restraint on themselves in the matter of strong drink.
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We ask them further to limit, or even altogether to give up, the not very precious liberty of buying and selling alcohol, in order that they may become more free to exercise the faculties and improve the talents which God has give them. Another possible outcome of a focus on inner freedom has been well explored by many socialist and social democratic thinkers. More than the mere idea of freedom is needed. George H. Social orders may take many forms, from the order of a marching army or the order of the gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery to the emergent order of a jazz ensemble.
Surely consequentialist considerations play a major role in political argumentation generally. Still, conceptual connections carry some weight. We start with responsibilities, not with rights, and rights are a means to the realization of our responsibilities.
That seems to be more compatible with both the Stoic tradition and with another major ethical tradition that Irwin invokes: Buddhism. Whatever he does, good or bad, he will be heir to that. For every one, as he is himself, so he has a self-propriety, else could he not be himself …. Our acts, our interactions with the world around us, including other moral agents, to a substantial degree makes us the people we are.
It has long been understood that with effort we can make ourselves into the people whom we want to be. We can become the virtuous people we want to be by acting as we should. For as regards those things we must learn how to do, we learn by doing them—for example, by building houses, people become house builders, and by playing the cithara, they become cithara players. So too, then, by doing just things we become just; moderate things, moderate; and courageous things, courageous.
You Decide , zero-priced PDF downloadable here and purchasable here. Moreover, external freedom provides the social conditions, historically more important than individual acts of philosophical reflection or meditation, for the strengthening of self-control, which in turn make voluntary cooperation — and thus liberty — more likely, with fewer plausible excuses for state intervention or control. The various plans of human beings can be coordinated, through prices signals of wants, availability, and the like , through customs, mores, widely shared expectations, signage, etc.
Moreover, self-control to restrain violent impulses is far more efficacious at generating social harmony than is police coercion, for the simple reason that no police force can be there all the time to stop people from taking advantage of the ever-present opportunity to harm others.
As the interdependence of people increases with the increasing division of labour, everyone becomes increasingly dependent on everyone else, even those of high social rank on those people who are socially inferior and weaker. The latter become so much the equals of the former that they, the socially superior people, can experience shame-feelings even in the presence of their social inferiors. It is only in this connection that the armour of restraints is fastened to the degree which is gradually taken for granted by people in democratic industrial societies. I think one can make a very strong case that inner freedom or self-control for more people is likely to be increased more rapidly when external or political freedom is secured, and that when the rules of law are well defined and effectively enforced by legal institutions, that self-control in turn makes political freedom more stable and robust.
Nettleship, ed. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. Oxford: Oxford University Press, , esp.
Sartre's Political Philosophy
This personality extends it self beyond present Existence to what is past, only by consciousness, whereby it becomes concerned and accountable, owns and imputes to it self past Actions, just upon the same ground, and for the same reason, that it does the present. Nidditch, ed. But in case you object, that I knew well enough, that if I would not go, they would carrie me, therefore it had been better for me to have gone, then to have exposed my selfe to their cruelty, I answer, 1.
If I had known they would have hanged me, must I therefore have hanged my selfe? A good conscience had rather run the hazard of cruelty then to abate an hairesbreadth of contestation and opposition against illegality, injustice, and tyranny. If they had had any legall jurisdiction over my leggs, then at their Commands my leggs were bound to obey: And then, in that case I confesse it had been better to obey, then to have exposed my person to the cruelty of threatening mercilesse Gaolers: But being free from their Jurisdiction from the Crowne of my head to the Soale of my foote , I know no reason, why I should foote it for them, or in any the least dance any attendance to their Arbitrary Warrants ; their Lordships may put up their pipes, except they will play to the good old tune of the Law of the Land , otherwise their Orders and Warrants are never like to have the service of my leggs or feet, for they were never bred to tread in their Arbitrary Steps , but I shall leave their Orders and their execution to themselves.
And therefore, Sir, concerning that action of mine, I shall continue in the said esteeme thereof, till my defense be made voide, and it be legally proved, that by the Law of the Land, I was bound to set one legge before another in attendance to that Order. III, W. Haller, ed. New York: Columbia University Press, , pp. Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. I am honored that the respondents to my essay were so thoughtful and generous in considering my ideas.
It appears to me, though, that some disagree with me more than I do with them. They keep us from achieving inner freedom, but they are nonetheless worth it. Because of the importance of living a full life that includes pleasure kama and material security artha , Hindu philosophy does not truly aim at individual enlightenment until old age when some renounce the world to become sadhus.
The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, did not progress through the expected life stages for a Hindu, but instead left his wife and son to pursue enlightenment. Being a parent is not conducive to enlightenment or inner freedom, but it is conducive to living a life of meaning. Fuller inner freedom can wait. In fact this is one of the main messages of my new novel Little Siddhartha. The Stoic Epictetus says that if we recognize that our children and spouses are mortal we will not be disturbed if they die. We will simply recognize that the giver has called for their return. This sounds cold and harsh.
But, to be fair to Epictetus, he was writing in a time and place where life was much more fragile than it is today—children commonly died before reaching adulthood. By highlighting the tenuous lives of our loved ones, Epictetus was trying to heighten our appreciation for them.
Nonetheless, I do not want to have so much inner freedom that I would not be disturbed by their loss. I see inner freedom as a project for a lifetime, something to develop gradually and incrementally. This is emblematic of my approach to parenting, and it is also emblematic of my approach to politics. Indeed, my essay looks to Marcus Aurelius as a role model.
The Stoic emperor was certainly a political actor, but he took time to cultivate inner freedom with his daily reflections. In the contemporary landscape, the Dalai Lama is a political actor, but he does not go into the world before meditating for several hours in the morning. I do not mean to suggest that we need to develop the level of self-mastery and inner freedom that these towering figures achieved. Tom Palmer asks why, if we have complete freedom, do we need to cultivate inner freedom?
The answer from the Sartrean perspective, which I endorse, is that we commonly deceive ourselves, and we are thus guilty of what Sartre calls bad faith. We never do anything that we do not want to do, but we commonly deceive ourselves about our choices.
One way we deceive ourselves is by pretending that circumstances force the choices we make. In effect, we freely choose to deny our own freedom. In truth, circumstances only provide what Sartre calls facticity, and it is up to us to interpret that facticity and thus create what Sartre calls a situation. There is never a lack of freedom, just an increase in the difficulties of circumstances.
Allow me to quote an example from The Free Market Existentialist. The epistemology does not touch the underlying ontology. It is just that I may decide to pursue short-term pleasure instead of long-term goals. I cannot deny my freedom even if the cake is put on a plate and served to me. It is not like the a priori probability of drawing a red marble from a bag in which there are four red marbles and six blue marbles. Rather, rational-belief probabilities are based on what other people have done or, better, what I have done, in the past.
But they do not mean that I am somehow less free to resist dessert when the dessert has been brought to the table—just less likely. Individual circumstances are always completely unique, and there is no algorithm that I am following or that can be used to say with certainty what I will do. The probability involved is like that of predicting the winner of a horse race; it is a rational-belief probability—an epistemological tool—and that is all. In this way we can see how external or political circumstances matter.