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Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Justice Rawls I 3
Justice/Rawls: justice is the first virtue of social institutions, just like truth is for thought systems.
Justice as an untrue theory must be rejected or revised, laws and institutions must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust.
>Injustice, >Laws.
Each person has an inviolability based on justice that cannot be overridden even by the welfare of a society as a whole. Therefore, a loss of the freedom of some cannot be offset by a greater good, which is given to several. (RawlsVsUtilitarianism, RawlsVsSinger, Peter)
>Utilitarianism, >P. Singer.
I 4
The rights guaranteed by justice are not the subject of political negotiation or social interests. Cf. >Human Rights, >Fundamental Rights.
Just as the acceptance of a faulty theory is only justified by the absence of a better theory, injustice is only tolerable if necessary to avoid greater injustice.
To investigate whether these too strong claims are justified, we must develop a theory of justice.
I 5
Justice/Society/Rawls: although people are at odds about which principles to accept, we still assume that they all have an idea of justice. That is, they understand that such principles are necessary to determine basic rights and obligations and to monitor their distribution. Therefore, it seems reasonable to contrast a concept of justice with different notions of justice.
I 6
Justice/Rawls: justice cannot stop at distribution justice. It must become a feature of social institutions.
I 54/55
Justice/Principles/Rawls: the principles of justice are very different depending on whether they apply to individuals or institutions. >Principles/Rawls.
I 237
Natural justice/Rawls: the principles of natural justice are intended to ensure the integrity of the legal process.(1) >Natural justice.
I 310
Justice/Idealization/RawlsVsLeibniz/RalwsVsRoss, W. D. /Rawls: one should not equate or try to define justice with an "ideal happiness"(2)(3). >G.W. Leibniz.
I 311
What people are entitled to is not measured by intrinsic value. The moral value does not depend on supply and demand. When certain services are no longer in demand, moral merit does not decrease equally.
I 312
The concept of moral value does not provide a first principle of distributive justice. The moral value can be defined as a sense of justice when the principles of justice are available.
1. Cf. W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good (Oxford, 1930), pp. 21,26-28,57f.
2. Leibniz, „On the Ultimate Origin of Things“ (1697) ed. P.P. Wiener (New York, 1951), p. 353.
3. Leibniz, „On the Ultimate Origin of Things“ (1697) Hrsg. P.P. Wiener (New York, 1951), S. 353.

Gaus I 94
Justice/Rawls/Waldron: Diversity/inhomogeneity/society/Rawls: ‘[H]ow is it possible,’ Rawls asked, ‘for there to exist over time a just and stable society of free and equal citizens who remain profoundly divided by reasonable religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines?’ (1993(2): 4).
Gaus I 95
Waldron: The key (...) is to insist that an acceptable theory of justice, T, must be such that, among whatever reasons there are for rejecting T or disagreeing with T, none turn on T’s commitment to a particular conception of value or other comprehensive philosophical conception. >Individualism/Rawls, >Rawls/Waldron.
Problems: (...) there are further questions about how [a] threshold test should be understood. One possibility is that T represents an acceptable modus vivendi for the adherents of the various comprehensive conceptions {C1, C2, …, Cn }. Like a treaty that puts an end to conflict between previously hostile powers, T may be presented as the best that C1 can hope for in the way of a theory of justice given that it has to coexist with C2, …, Cn , and the best that C2 can hope for given that it has to coexist with C1, C3 ,…, Cn , and so on. Rawls, however, regards this as unsatisfactory as a basis for a conception of justice. It leaves T vulnerable to demographic changes or other changes in the balance of power between rival comprehensive conceptions, a vulnerability that is quite at odds with the steadfast moral force that we usually associate with justice (1993(1): 148).
Solution/Rawls: Instead Rawls develops the idea that T should represent an overlapping moral consensus among {C1 , C2, … , Cn }. By this he means that T could be made acceptable on moral grounds to the adherents of C1, and acceptable on moral grounds to the adherents of C2, and so on.
Diversity/Toleration//Locke/Kant/Rawls/Waldron: Thus, for example, the proposition that religious toleration is required as a matter of justice may be affirmed by Christians on Lockean grounds having to do with each person’s individualized responsibility to God for his own religious beliefs, by secular Lockeans on the grounds of unamenability of belief to coercion, by Kantians on the grounds of the high ethical
Gaus I 96
importance accorded to autonomy, by followers of John Stuart Mill on the basis of the importance of individuality and the free interplay of ideas, and so on. >Toleration/Locke.
Waldron: Whether this actually works is an issue we considered when we discussed Ackerman’s approach to neutrality. >Neutrality/Waldron, >Overlapping consensus/Rawls.

1. Rawls, John (1993) Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Waldron, Jeremy 2004. „Liberalism, Political and Comprehensive“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.

Rawl I
J. Rawls
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004
Values Singer I 87
Values/Death/Killing/Utilitarianism/P. Singer: Assuming we could fix pain and pleasure as objective values, then we have another problem: there are two ways of reducing pleasure in the world, for example: a) Eliminating the pleasure out of a being's life
b) To end the life of this being.
This means that we cannot automatically move from the higher rating of a pleasant life over a less pleasant one to a higher rating of a pleasant life over the alternative that is not a life. Reason: when we are dead, we do not miss the pleasurable.
>Death, >Life, >Morality, >Ethics, >Norms, >Pain,
I 88
Utilitarianism: when it comes to the multiplication of pleasure in the world, why should we not have more and more children and breed more and more animals that have a pleasant life? This is what I call the "total view". >Utilitarianism.
Vs: one could object that the life of the now existing beings would be restricted for this. And the beings who have not yet been born do not exist and therefore cannot suffer or do without anything.
VsVs: on the other hand, one could assume a "prior existence" from the future beings. This means that our current decisions refer to beings that do not yet exist.
>Future, >Decisions.
I 89
Problem: in this case, one has to deal with asymmetry when deciding, for example, whether a child who is likely to suffer extremely badly and will soon die should be born. >Abortion.
Problem: both perspectives, the "overall view" and the "pre-existence" viewpoint lead to contra-intuitive consequences.
I 245
Values/Consciousness/knowledge/animals/Singer, P.: are there values beyond the reach of knowing beings? >Absoluteness, >Perspective, >Metaphysical realism.
I 246
Intrinsic value: is a value that is desirable in itself, as opposed to a value that something receives as a means to something else. For example, luck is an intrinsic value, money is not. >Intrinsic, >Extrinsic.
Environmental destruction/Singer, P.: If a valley is now destroyed by dam construction, one must not only consider the fate of the knowing creatures, but also the fates of the other species, most of which will die.
I 247
Utilitarianism: will in this case include the fact that the animals that would have lived there would have done so for hundreds of years to come. Ethics/Singer, P.: how far can it be extended beyond the realm of knowing beings? The ethical position I have developed in this book (P. Singer 2011(1)) is limited to knowing beings.
I 248
It is difficult to extend ethics beyond this area. Problem: the concept of interest is missing when it comes to weighing up.
Another problem: without the concept of knowledge, the boundary between animate and inanimate nature is more difficult to defend.
>Knowledge, >Nature.
I 249
Solving/Albert Schweitzer/Singer, P.: Life/Law/Consciousness/Schweitzer: the most immediate fact of consciousness is: I am life that wants to live and I want to exist in the midst of life that wants to live... and this extends to all life in my environment, even if it cannot express itself. (A. Schweitzer 1929(2)).
I 250
P. SingerVsSchweitzer: his language is misleading when he speaks of all forms of life without exception and ascribes them longing, desire, enthusiasm, pleasure and terror. Plants cannot feel any of this.
Holmes RolstonVsSinger, P.: If natural selection has given an organism the traits it needs to strive for its survival, then this organism is able to evaluate something on the basis of these traits. (H. Rolston 1999)(3)
P. SingerVsRolston: he does not explain why natural selection makes it possible to evaluate organisms, but not human design and creation. Should we say that solar cells, which automatically adjust to the sun, add value to the sun?
>Selection, >Evolution.
Life without Consciousness/Singer, P.: there is no reason to pay more respect to the physical processes that dominate animated things than to the physical processes that dominate inanimate things. If that is the case, at least it is not obvious why we should have more respect for a tree than for a stalactite.
>Laws of nature, >Nature, >Life.

1. P. Singer, Practical Ethics, Cambridge, 2011.
2. A. Schweitzer, Civilization and Ethics Part II, The Philosophy of Civilization, London, 1929, pp. 246-7.
3. H. Rolston, Respect for Life: Counting what Singer Finds of no Account“, in: Dale Jamieson (ed.), Singer and Critics, (Oxford, 1999) pp. 247-268.

SingerP I
Peter Singer
Practical Ethics (Third Edition) Cambridge 2011

SingerP II
P. Singer
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. New Haven 2015

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