15 research outputs found

    Justifying Uncivil Disobedience

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    A prominent way of justifying civil disobedience is to postulate a pro tanto duty to obey the law and to argue that the considerations that ground this duty sometimes justify forms of civil disobedience. However, this view entails that certain kinds of uncivil disobedience are also justified. Thus, either a) civil disobedience is never justified or b) uncivil disobedience is sometimes justified. Since a) is implausible, we should accept b). I respond to the objection that this ignores the fact that civil disobedience enjoys a special normative status on account of instantiating certain special features: nonviolence, publicity, the acceptance of legal consequences, and conscientiousness. I then show that my view is superior to two rivals: the view that we should expand the notion of civility and that civil disobedience, expansively construed, is uniquely appropriate; and the view that uncivil disobedience is justifiable in but only in unfavorable conditions

    Civil disobedience, costly signals, and leveraging injustice

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    Civil disobedience, despite its illegal nature, can sometimes be justified vis-à-vis the duty to obey the law, and, arguably, is thereby not liable to legal punishment. However, adhering to the demands of justice and refraining from punishing justified civil disobedience may lead to a highly problematic theoretical consequence: the debilitation of civil disobedience. This is because, according to the novel analysis I propose, civil disobedience primarily functions as a costly social signal. It is effective by being reliable, reliable by being costly, and costly primarily by being punished. My analysis will highlight a distinctive feature of civil disobedience: civil disobedients leverage the punitive injustice they suffer to amplify their communicative force. This will lead to two paradoxical implications. First, the instability of the moral status of both civil disobedience and its punishment to the extent where the state may be left with no permissible course of action with regard to punishing civil disobedience. Second, by refraining from punishing justified civil disobedience, the state may render uncivil disobedience—illegal political activities that fall short of the standards of civil disobedience—potentially permissible

    Rescuing Democracy on the Path to Meritocracy

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    Response to Umbers: An Instability of the Duty and Right to Vote

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    Lachlan Umbers (Res Publica. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-018-9395-4, 2018a) defends democracy against Jason’s Brennan’s (Philos Q 61:700–724, 2011) competence objection, by showing that voting even incompetently does not violate the rights of others, as the risk imposed is negligible, and furthermore lower than other permissible actions, e.g. driving. I show there are costs in taking this line of argument. Accepting it would make arguing for the duty to vote more difcult in two ways: since voting incompetently is permissible, and not voting imposes less risk than not voting, then not voting is permissible; in terms of fairness, voting incompetently is worse than not voting, if voting incompetently is permissible, then there cannot be a fairness-based duty to voteThis research is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarshi

    Response to Umbers: An Instability of the Duty and Right to Vote

    Get PDF
    Lachlan Umbers (Res Publica. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-018-9395-4, 2018a) defends democracy against Jason’s Brennan’s (Philos Q 61:700–724, 2011) competence objection, by showing that voting even incompetently does not violate the rights of others, as the risk imposed is negligible, and furthermore lower than other permissible actions, e.g. driving. I show there are costs in taking this line of argument. Accepting it would make arguing for the duty to vote more difcult in two ways: since voting incompetently is permissible, and not voting imposes less risk than not voting, then not voting is permissible; in terms of fairness, voting incompetently is worse than not voting, if voting incompetently is permissible, then there cannot be a fairness-based duty to voteThis research is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarshi

    Objectionable Commemorations, Historical Value, and Repudiatory Honouring

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    Many have argued that certain statues or monuments are objectionable, and thus ought to be removed. Even if their arguments are compelling, a major obstacle is the apparent historical value of those commemorations. Preservation in some form seems to be the best way to respect the value of commemorations as connections to the past or opportunities to learn important historical lessons. Against this, I argue that we have exaggerated the historical value of objectionable commemorations. Sometimes commemorations connect to biased or distorted versions of history, if not mere myths. We can also learn historical lessons through what I call repudiatory honouring: the honouring of certain victims or resistors that can only make sense if the oppressor(s) or target(s) of resistance are deemed unjust, where no part of the original objectionable commemorations is preserved. This type of commemorative practice can even help to overcome some of the obstacles objectionable commemorations pose against properly connecting to the past

    Objectionable Commemorations: Ethical and Political Issues

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    The term, "objectionable commemorations”, refers to a broad category of public artefacts – such as, and especially, memorials, monuments and statues – that are regarded as morally problematic in virtue of what or whom they honour. In this regard, they are a special class of public artefacts that are subject to public contestation. In this paper, we survey the general ethical and political issues on this topic. First, we categorise the arguments on offer in the literature, concerning the objectionable nature of such commemorations. Second, we review common political responses to objectionable commemorations. Finally, we identify fruitful areas for further philosophical inquiry on this topic
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