•  706
    The legend of Robin Hood exemplifies a distinct concern of justice neglected by theorists: the distributive results of systemic injustices. Robin Hood’s redistributive activities are justified by the principle that the distributive results of systemic injustices are unjust and should be corrected. This principle has relevance beyond the legend: since current inequalities in the US are results of systemic injustices, the US has good reason to take from the rich and give to the poor.
  •  641
    In line with the tradition running from Ancients through Christian thought, Kant affirms the idea of moral freedom: that true freedom consists in moral self-determination. The idea of moral freedom raises the problem of moral freedom: if freedom is moral self-determination, it seems that the wicked are not free and therefore not responsible for their wrongdoings. In this essay I discuss Kant's solution to this problem. I argue that Kant distinguishes between four modalities of freedom as moral s…Read more
  •  618
    Are Economic Liberties Basic Rights?
    Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 13 (1): 23-44. 2014.
    In this essay I discuss a powerful challenge to high-liberalism: the challenge presented by neoclassical liberals that the high-liberal assumptions and values imply that the full range of economic liberties are basic rights. If the claim is true, then the high-liberal road from ideals of democracy and democratic citizenship to left-liberal institutions is blocked. Indeed, in that case the high-liberal is committed to an institutional scheme more along the lines of laissez-faire capitalism than p…Read more
  •  308
    Negative Perfectionism
    Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 2 (1): 101-122. 2012.
    In this essay I defend a variety of political perfectionism that I call negative perfectionism. Negative perfectionism is the position that if some design of the basic structure of society promotes objectively bad human living, then this should count as a reason against it. To give this hypothetical some bite, I draw on Rousseau’s diagnosis of the maladies of his society to defend two further claims: first, that some human lives are objectively bad, and, second, that some designs of the basic st…Read more
  •  280
    The structural diversity of historical injustices
    Journal of Social Philosophy 37 (3). 2006.
    Driven by a sharp increase in claims for reparations, reparative justice has become a topic of academic debate. To some extent this debate has been marred by a failure to realize the complexity of reparative justice. In this essay we try to amend this shortcoming. We do this by developing a taxonomy of different kinds of wrongs that can underwrite claims to reparations. We identify four kinds of wrongs: entitlement violations, unjust exclusions from an otherwise acceptable system of entitlements…Read more
  •  150
    Are economic liberties basic rights?
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (1): 23-44. 2014.
    In this essay I discuss a powerful challenge to high-liberalism: the challenge presented by neoclassical liberals that the high-liberal assumptions and values imply that the full range of economic liberties are basic rights. If the claim is true, then the high-liberal road from ideals of democracy and democratic citizenship to left-liberal institutions is blocked. Indeed, in that case the high-liberal is committed to an institutional scheme more along the lines of laissez-faire capitalism than p…Read more
  •  111
    Democratic Rights and the Choice of Economic Systems
    Analyse & Kritik 39 (2): 405-412. 2017.
    Holt argues that Rawls’s first principle of justice requires democratic control of the economy and that property owning democracy fails to satisfy this requirement; only liberal socialism is fully democratic. However, the notion of democratic control is ambiguous, and Holt has to choose between the weaker notion of democratic control that Rawls is committed to and the stronger notion that property owning democracy fails to satisfy. It may be that there is a tension between capitalism and democra…Read more
  •  72
    Person to Person: A Note on the Ethics of Commodification
    Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (4): 647-653. 2017.
  •  34
    How should we design our economic systems? Should we tax the rich at a higher rate than the poor? Should we have a minimum wage? Should the state provide healthcare for all? These and many related questions are the subject of distributive justice, and different theories of distributive justice provide different ways to think about and answer such questions. This book provides a thorough introduction to the main theories of distributive justice and reveals the underlying sources of our disagreeme…Read more
  •  28
    Social Cooperation and Basic Economic Rights: A Rawlsian Route to Social Democracy
    Journal of Social Philosophy 47 (3): 288-308. 2016.
    The central idea of Rawls’s theory of justice is the idea of democratic society as a fair system of cooperation between free and equal citizens. The moral powers of democratic citizens are the capacities presupposed by this idea. Rawls identifies two such powers, the capacity for a conception of the good and the capacity for a sense of justice. I argue that the idea of democratic citizenship presupposes also a third moral power: the capacity for working. Since the basic rights are the rights nec…Read more
  •  22
    Absolute Freedom of Contract: Grotian Lessons for Libertarians
    Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 25 (1): 107-119. 2013.
    Libertarians often rely on arguments that subordinate the principle of liberty to the value of its economic consequences. This invites the question of what a pure libertarian theory of justice?one that takes liberty as its overriding concern?would look like. Grotius's political theory provides a template for such a libertarianism, but it also entails uncomfortable commitments that can be avoided only by compromising the principle of liberty. According to Grotius, each person should be free to de…Read more
  •  21
    Talbott grounds human rights in a moral epistemology that supports metaphysical immodesty but requires epistemic modesty. Metaphysical immodesty provides prescriptive confidence, while epistemic modesty prevents moral imperialism. I offer some reasons for doubting that Talbott’s moral epistemology yields the desired result. Insofar as Talbott aims for a determinate conception of human rights that could serve as the backbone of a system of international law, Talbott must deal with issues of reaso…Read more
  •  15
    Is capitalism compatible with democratic equality? Rawls’s critique of welfare-state capitalism implies a negative answer. I argue that Rawls’s critique fails and that welfare-state capitalism can satisfy the demands of democratic equality. I articulate a social democratic interpretation of the ideal of democratic equality and show that it justifies welfare-state capitalism. This argument also implies that welfare-state capitalism can satisfy the demands of democratic equality as interpreted by …Read more
  •  15
    Freedom as both Fact and Postulate
    In Margit Ruffing, Claudio La Rocca, Alfredo Ferrarin & Stefano Bacin (eds.), Kant Und Die Philosophie in Weltbürgerlicher Absicht: Akten des Xi. Kant-Kongresses 2010, De Gruyter. pp. 533-546. 2013.
  •  13
    The Injustice of Alienation
    Social Theory and Practice 47 (2): 397-424. 2021.
    I articulate and defend a Rousseauvian theory of alienation and argue that thus construed non-alienation is a requirement of justice. On the Rousseauvian account, alienation is a process whereby social and economic conditions produce a particular sort of moral-psychological failure. Alienation is undesirable in itself, but it also makes the alienated person miserable, wicked, and unfree. Since our social and economic conditions are chosen, we should choose those that do not have these undesirabl…Read more
  •  13
    Justice and the Meritocratic State, written by Thomas Mulligan (review)
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (5): 675-678. 2019.
  •  12
    The Ideal of Peace and the Morality of War
    Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 62 (145). 2015.
    According to both common wisdom and long-standing tradition, the ideal of peace is central to the morality of war. I argue that this notion is mistaken, not because peace is unachievable and utopian, though it might be for many of today’s asymmetrical conflicts; nor because the pursuit of peace is counterproductive, though, again, it might be for many of today’s conflicts; the problem, rather, is that the pursuit of peace is not a proper objective of war.
  •  12
    The Principle of Merit and the capital-labour split
    Economics and Philosophy 1-23. forthcoming.
    Some meritocratic defenders of capitalism rely on the principle that cooperators should receive a share of the product commensurate with their contribution. However, such defences of capitalism fail due to a dilemma. Either they rely on an understanding of contribution that arguably will be reflected by the capital-labour split in suitably idealized capitalist economies, but cannot serve as a plausible standard of merit; or they rely on an interpretation of contribution that is a plausible stand…Read more
  •  5
    Person to Person: A Note on the Ethics of Commodification
    Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (4): 647-653. 2017.
  •  5
    The Injustice of Alienation in advance
    Social Theory and Practice. forthcoming.
  •  1
    Liberalism and Economic Liberty
    with John Tomasi
    In Steven Wall & Chandran Kukathas (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism, Cambridge University Press. 2015.
  • The Veil of Ignorance in Rawlsian Theory
    In Fathali Moghaddam (ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behavior, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publishing. 2017.