Rightness as Fairness: A Moral and Political Theory – now available

This is just a quick announcement that my new book, Rightness as Fairness: A Moral and Political Theory is now available from Palgrave MacMillan and Amazon.  Here is a brief overview:

This book argues that moral and political philosophy should be based on seven scientific principles of theory selection. It then argues that a new comprehensive moral and political theory—Rightness as Fairness—satisfies those principles more successfully than existing theories. Chapter 1 explicates the seven principles of theory-selection, arguing that moral philosophy must conform them to be truth-apt. Chapter 2 argues those principles jointly support founding moral philosophy in known facts of empirical moral psychology: specifically, our capacities for mental time-travel and modal imagination. Chapter 2 then shows that these capacities present human decisionmakers with a problem of diachronic rationality that includes but generalizes beyond, L.A. Paul’s problem of transformative experience: a problem that I call “the problem of possible future selves.” Chapter 3 then argues that a new principle of rationality—the Categorical-Instrumental Imperative—is the only rational solution to this problem, as it requires our present and future selves to forge and uphold a recursive, bi-directional contract with each another given mutual recognition of the problem. Chapter 4 then shows that the Categorical-Instrumental Imperative has three identical formulations analogous but superior to Immanuel Kant’s various formulations of his ‘categorical imperative.’ Chapter 5 shows that these unified formulas jointly entail a particular test of moral principles: a Moral Original Position similar to John Rawls’ famous ‘original position’, but which avoids a variety of problems with Rawls’ model. Chapter 6 then shows that the Moral Original Position generates Four Principles of Fairness, which can then be combined into a single principle of moral rightness: Rightness as Fairness. This new conception of rightness is shown to reconcile four dominant moral frameworks (deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics, and contractualism), as well as entail a new method of moral decisionmaking for applied ethics: a method of “principled fair negotiation” according to which applied ethical issues cannot be wholly resolved through principled debate, but must instead be resolved by actual negotiation and compromise. This method is then argued to generate novel, nuanced analyses of a variety of applied moral issues, including trolley cases, torture, and the ethical treatment of nonhuman animals. Chapter 7 then shows that Rightness as Fairness reconciles three leading political frameworks—libertarianism, egalitarianism, and communitarianism—showing how all three embody legitimate moral ideals that can, and should, be fairly negotiated against each other to settle the scope, and nature, of domestic, international, and global justice on an ongoing, iterated basis. Finally, Chapter 8 argues that Rightness as Fairness satisfies all seven of the principles of theory-selected defended in Chapter 1 more successfully than rival theories.


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Latest Edition of Res Publica: Special issue on Justice, Climate Change, and the Distribution of Natural Resources, plus New Associate Editors

The latest edition of Res Publica is now available: a special edition on ‘Justice, Climate Change, and the Distribution of Natural Resources’ Guest Edited by Fabian Schuppert.

We are also pleased to announce a new team of Associate Editors.

Table of Contents

Philip Cook & Sune Lægaard

Introduction: Justice, Climate Change, and the Distribution of Natural Resources
Fabian Schuppert

Self-Determination and Resource Rights: In Defence of Territorial Jurisdiction Over Natural Resources
Ayelet Banai

Shared Sovereignty over Migratory Natural Resources
Alejandra Mancilla

Water Crisis Adaptation: Defending a Strong Right Against Displacement from the Home
Cara Nine


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Summer School “Equality and Cizenship III”

The Center for Advanced Studies of South East Europe, the University of Rijeka and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Rijeka are organizing a summer school on equality and citizenship from June 6th to June 10th, 2016, in Rijeka (Croatia). The summer school does not reproduce, in a diluted form, the familiar teaching format of a university course. Instead, it is organized around “Author-Meets-Critics” symposia dedicated to some distinguished authors’ publications and work-in-progress. All of the leading participants will give a paper on a topic on which they are working at the moment, and will reply to the papers given by scholars who participate in the symposia dedicated to them, and will be available for informal discussion.


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New Essay Prize in Honor of Jonathan Trejo-Mathys

Jonathan Trejo-Mathys was an assistant professor at Boston College when he died in November of 2014. Now, the Global Justice Network has created an essay prize ($1000.00 USD) in his honor, sponsored by the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College:

The editors of Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric invite submissions of unpublished papers for our inaugural essay prize, in honour of Jonathan Trejo-Mathys (1979-2014). Trejo-Mathys, a member of the Global Justice Network and assistant professor of philosophy at Boston College, worked in both philosophy and critical social theory. In his honour, we welcome submissions in all areas of political theory concerning global justice, and we especially welcome submissions in the areas of 1) global justice and trade or 2) the contribution of critical theory to global justice.


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CFA: MANCEPT Workshop: Conflicts on Public Reason


Giovanni Cogliandro – University of Rome Tor Vergata 


Yishai Mishor – Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

The concept of public reason has been used in contemporary debates both as an instrument to promote ideals of good life, and as a warrant against ideals of good life. This panel invites contributions from both points of view.

The workshop is aimed to analyse the tension between competing contemporary conceptions of public reason, with a peculiar focus on the interactions between political theory and legal philosophy. Within this debate, we will try also to assess the influence of the different declinations of liberal perfectionism on the activity of both governing officials and judges. The following is a non-exhaustive illustration of tensions we would suggest to discuss.


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CFA: MANCEPT Workshop on Theories of Public Reason

MANCEPT Workshop on Theories of Public Reason
September 7-9 in Manchester

Conveners: Paul Billingham and Anthony Taylor (University of Oxford)

This panel seeks to bring together those working on issues related to theories of public reason and public justification, broadly understood. There has been a significant literature developing in recent years around political and public reason liberalism. Alongside John Rawls’s view, distinct viewpoints on the idea of a publicly justified polity have emerged through the work of Gerald Gaus, Andrew Lister, and others. Not only are these accounts interesting by their own lights, they also relate to important questions about the foundations of liberalism, the scope of political toleration, the status of religion and other comprehensive worldviews in liberal democracies, and debates between perfectionist and anti-perfectionist liberals. We would intend for this panel to have a broad remit within this area, and so would invite submissions on any of the following issues:


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