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  • 1.
    Chahboun, Naima
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Nonideal theory and compliance—A clarification2015In: European Journal of Political Theory, ISSN 1474-8851, E-ISSN 1741-2730, Vol. 14, no 2, p. 229-245Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper examines the various ways in which nonideal theory responds to noncompliance with ideal principles of justice. Taking Rawls’ definition of nonideal theory as my point of departure, I propose an understanding of this concept as comprising two subparts: Complementary nonideal theory responds to deliberate and avoidable noncompliance and consists mainly of theories of civil disobedience, rebellion, and retribution. Substitutive nonideal theory responds to nondeliberate and unavoidable noncompliance and consists mainly of theories of transition and caretaking. I further argue that a special case of substitutive nonideal theory may arise when noncompliance is a result of a lack of motivation among citizens. This situation, I suggest, calls for nonideal theorizing (1) when our aim is to evaluate the political actions undertaken by specific members of a society (in particular the ruling elite) whose set of feasible options is constrained as a result of others’ lack of motivation and (2) when a situation of mutually reinforcing distrust and noncooperation—sometimes called a “social trap”—constrains the feasible option set of the entire population. The main advantage of the twofold conceptualization of nonideal theory is that it bridges the theoretical gap between actor-oriented and situation-based accounts of justice: It allows us to preserve the term ideal justice for justice under minimal feasibility constraints, while recognizing that a situation where all agents comply with their duties must in some sense be characterized as just.

  • 2.
    Erman, Eva
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Möller, Niklas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    What Not to Expect from the Pragmatic Turn in Political Theory2015In: European Journal of Political Theory, ISSN 1474-8851, E-ISSN 1741-2730, Vol. 14, no 2, p. 121-140Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The central ideas coming out of the so-called pragmatic turn in philosophy have set in motion what may be described as a pragmatic turn in normative political theory. It has become commonplace among political theorists to draw on theories of language and meaning in theorising democracy, pluralism, justice, etc. The aim of this paper is to explore attempts by political theorists to use theories of language and meaning for such normative purposes. Focusing on Wittgenstein's account, it is argued that these attempts are unsuccessful. It is shown that pragmatically influenced political theorists draw faulty epistemological, ontological and semantic conclusions from Wittgenstein's view in their normative theorising, and it is argued that pragmatically influenced theories of language and meaning, however full of insight, cannot be put to substantial normative use in political theory. The general scope of the thesis is motivated by pointing to the general form of the argument and by moving beyond Wittgenstein to other philosophers of mind and language, illustrating how similar overextensions are made with regard to Robert Brandom's theory of language and meaning.

  • 3.
    Furendal, Markus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Defining the duty to contribute: Against the market solutionIn: European Journal of Political Theory, ISSN 1474-8851, E-ISSN 1741-2730Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    If there is a duty of justice to contribute to society, which asks individuals to produce a specific amount of goods and services that can be redistributed, we need a decision-procedure to know when we have done our part. This paper analyses and critically assesses the commonly suggested decision-procedure of relying on market prices to measure the value of one’s contribution. It is usually assumed that a high salary indicates that one’s talents are put to good use, but this presupposes both that market prices of labour are correct reflections of supply and demand, and that market prices are correct reflections of social value. I criticise both assumptions and argue that the social value of a contribution cannot simply be a function of its market value, but is also influenced by the principles of justice that support the duty to contribute. Further, the market solution is incapable of valuing contributions that lack market prices, like non-marketised care labour. The market solution thus fails as a decision-procedure under other than special circumstances. This does not mean, however, that we need to give up the idea of a duty to contribute.

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