•  1747
    Reflections on Human Rights and Power
    In Adam Etinson (ed.), Human Rights: Moral or Political?, Oxford University Press. pp. 375-399. 2018.
    Human rights are particularly relevant in contexts in which there are significant asymmetries of power, but where these asymmetries exist the human rights project turns out to be especially difficult to realize. The stronger can use their disproportionate power both to threaten others’ human rights and to frustrate attempts to secure their fulfillment. They may even monopolize the international discussion as to what human rights are and how they should be implemented. This paper explores this te…Read more
  •  1498
  •  1284
    Basic Positive Duties of Justice and Narveson's Libertarian Challenge
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (2): 193-216. 2006.
    Are positive duties to help others in need mere informal duties of virtue or can they also be enforceable duties of justice? In this paper I defend the claim that some positive duties (which I call basic positive duties) can be duties of justice against one of the most important prin- cipled objections to it. This is the libertarian challenge, according to which only negative duties to avoid harming others can be duties of justice, whereas positive duties (basic or nonbasic) must be seen, …Read more
  •  1082
  •  964
    Human Rights, Human Dignity, and Power
    In Rowan Cruft, Matthew Liao & Massimo Renzo (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford University Press. pp. 196-213. 2015.
    This paper explores the connections between human rights, human dignity, and power. The idea of human dignity is omnipresent in human rights discourse, but its meaning and point is not always clear. It is standardly used in two ways, to refer to a normative status of persons that makes their treatment in terms of human rights a proper response, and a social condition of persons in which their human rights are fulfilled. This paper pursues three tasks. First, it provides an analysis of the conten…Read more
  •  553
    Humanist and Political Perspectives on Human Rights
    Political Theory 39 (4): 439-467. 2011.
    This essay explores the relation between two perspectives on the nature of human rights. According to the "political" or "practical" perspective, human rights are claims that individuals have against certain institutional structures, in particular modern states, in virtue of interests they have in contexts that include them. According to the more traditional "humanist" or "naturalistic" perspective, human rights are pre-institutional claims that individuals have against all other individuals in …Read more
  •  474
    Comparative Assessments of Justice, Political Feasibility, and Ideal Theory
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1): 39-56. 2012.
    What should our theorizing about social justice aim at? Many political philosophers think that a crucial goal is to identify a perfectly just society. Amartya Sen disagrees. In The Idea of Justice, he argues that the proper goal of an inquiry about justice is to undertake comparative assessments of feasible social scenarios in order to identify reforms that involve justice-enhancement, or injustice-reduction, even if the results fall short of perfect justice. Sen calls this the “comparative …Read more
  •  421
    The duty to eradicate global poverty: Positive or negative?
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (5): 537-550. 2005.
    In World Poverty and Human Rights, Thomas Pogge argues that the global rich have a duty to eradicate severe poverty in the world. The novelty of Pogges approach is to present this demand as stemming from basic commands which are negative rather than positive in nature: the global rich have an obligation to eradicate the radical poverty of the global poor not because of a norm of beneficence asking them to help those in need when they can at little cost to themselves, but because of their having …Read more
  •  416
    Justice and Feasibility: A Dynamic Approach
    In K. Vallier & M. Weber (eds.), Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates, Oxford University Press. pp. 95-126. 2017.
    It is common in political theory and practice to challenge normatively ambitious proposals by saying that their fulfillment is not feasible. But there has been insufficient conceptual exploration of what feasibility is, and very little substantive inquiry into why and how it matters for thinking about social justice. This paper provides one of the first systematic treatments of these issues, and proposes a dynamic approach to the relation between justice and feasibility that illuminates the impo…Read more
  •  396
    This paper offers an exploration of the socialist principle “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.” The Abilities/Needs Principle is arguably the ethical heart of socialism but, surprisingly, has received almost no attention by political philosophers. I propose an interpretation of the principle and argue that it involves appealing ideas of solidarity, fair reciprocity, recognition of individual differences, and meaningful work. The paper proceeds as follows. …Read more
  •  338
  •  337
    Justice and Beneficence
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 19 (5): 508-533. 2016.
    What is a duty of justice? And how is it different from a duty of beneficence? We need a clear account of the contrast. Unfortunately, there is no consensus in the philosophical literature as to how to characterize it. Different articulations of it have been provided, but it is hard to identify a common core that is invariant across them. In this paper, I propose an account of how to understand duties of justice, explain how it contrasts with several proposals as to how to distinguish justice an…Read more
  •  290
    Comentarios sobre la concepcion de la justicia global de Pogge
    Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 33 (2): 205-222. 2007.
    This paper presents a reconstruction of and some constructive comments on Thomas Pogge’s conception of global justice. Using Imre Lakatos’s notion of a research program, the paper identifies Pogge’s “hard core” and “protective belt” claims regarding the scope of fundamental principles of justice, the object and structure of duties of global justice, the explanation of world poverty, and the appropriate reforms to the existing global order. The paper recommends some amendments to Pogge’s pr…Read more
  •  268
    Kantian Dignity and Marxian Socialism
    Kantian Review 22 (4): 553-577. 2017.
    This paper offers an account of human dignity based on a discussion of Kant's moral and political philosophy and then shows its relevance for articulating and developing in a fresh way some normative dimensions of Marx’s critique of capitalism as involving exploitation, domination, and alienation, and the view of socialism as involving a combination of freedom and solidarity. What is advanced here is not Kant’s own conception of dignity, but an account that partly builds on that conception and p…Read more
  •  209
    The feasibility of basic socioeconomic human rights: A conceptual exploration
    Philosophical Quarterly 59 (237): 659-681. 2009.
    To be justifiable, the demands of a conception of human rights and global justice must be such that (a) they focus on the protection of important human interests, and (b) their fulfilment is feasible. I discuss the feasibility condition. I present a general account of the relation between moral desirability, feasibility and obligation within a conception of justice. I analyse feasibility, a complex idea including different types, domains and degrees. It is possible to respond in various ways if …Read more
  •  206
    Does Global Egalitarianism Provide an Impractical and Unattractive Ideal of Justice?
    with Christian Barry
    International Affairs 84 (5): 1025-1039. 2008.
    In his important new book National responsibility and global justice, David Miller presents a systematic challenge to existing theories of global justice. In particular, he argues that cosmopolitan egalitarianism must be rejected. Such views, Miller maintains, would place unacceptable burdens on the most productive political communities, undermine national self-determination, and disincentivize political communities from taking responsibility for their fate. They are also impracticable and quite…Read more
  •  203
    Samuel Scheffler has recently argued that some relationships are non-instrumentally valuable; that such relationships give rise to “underived” special responsibilities; that there is a genuine tension between cosmopolitan egalitarianism and special responsibilities; and that we must consequently strike a balance between the two. We argue that there is no such tension and propose an alternative approach to the relation between cosmopolitan egalitarianism and special responsibilities. First, while…Read more
  •  182
    Do we have positive duties to help others in need or are our moral duties only negative, focused on not harming them? Are any of the former positive duties, duties of justice that respond to enforceable rights? Is their scope global? Should we aim for global equality besides the eradication of severe global poverty? Is a humanist approach to egalitarian distribution based on rights that all human beings as such have defensible, or must egalitarian distribution be seen in an associativist way, as…Read more
  •  142
    Review of Gillian Brock, Global Justice (review)
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (3): 333-338. 2012.
  •  139
    Ability and Volitional Incapacity
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (3): 1-8. 2016.
    The conditional analysis of ability faces familiar counterexamples involving cases of volitional incapacity. An interesting response to the problem of volitional incapacity is to try to explain away the responses elicited by such counterexamples by distinguishing between what we are able to do and what we are able to bring ourselves to do. We argue that this error-theoretic response fails. Either it succeeds in solving the problem of volitional incapacity at the cost of making the conditional an…Read more
  •  134
    Dignity at Work
    In Hugh Collins, Gillian Lester & Virginia Mantouvalou (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law, Oxford University Press. pp. 68-86. 2018.
    This paper offers a justification of labor rights based on an interpretation of the idea of human dignity. According to the dignitarian approach, we have reason to organize social life in such a way that we respond appropriately to the valuable capacities of human beings that give rise to their dignity. That dignity is a deontic status in virtue of which people are owed certain forms of respect and concern. Dignity at work involves the treatment of people in accordance to the ideal of solidarist…Read more
  •  129
    This paper provides a critical exploration of the capability approach to human rights (CAHR) with the specific aim of developing its potential for achieving a synthesis between “humanist” or “naturalistic” and “political” or “practical” perspectives in the philosophy of human rights. Section II presents a general strategy for achieving such a synthesis. Section III provides an articulation of the key insights of CAHR (its focus on actual realizations given diverse circumstances, its pluralism of…Read more