Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2020-04-18T14:18:05+00:00 Jesse Wilson Open Journal Systems <p>The&nbsp;<em>Journal of Ethics and&nbsp;Social Philosophy</em>&nbsp;is a peer-reviewed online journal in moral, social, political, and legal philosophy. The journal welcomes submissions of articles in any of these and related fields of research. &nbsp;The journal is interested in work in the history of ethics that bears directly on topics of contemporary interest, but does not consider articles of purely historical interest.</p> <p>The <em>Journal of Ethics and&nbsp;Social Philosophy</em> aspires to be the leading venue for the best new work in the fields that it covers, and applies a correspondingly high editorial standard. &nbsp;But it is the view of the associate editors that this standard does not preclude publishing work that is critical in nature, provided that it is constructive, well-argued, current, and of sufficiently general interest.</p> <p>While the&nbsp;<em>Journal of Ethics and&nbsp;Social Philosophy</em>&nbsp;will consider longer articles, in general the journal would prefer articles that do not exceed 15,000 words, and articles of all lengths will be evaluated in terms of what they accomplish in proportion to their length. Articles under 3k words should be submitted as discussion notes, which are reviewed and published separately from main articles. &nbsp;</p> Social Reform in a Complex World 2020-04-17T18:42:50+00:00 Jacob Barrett <p>Our world is complex—it is composed of many interacting parts—and this complexity poses a serious difficulty for theorists of social reform. On the one hand, we cannot merely work out ways of ameliorating immediate problems of injustice, because the solutions we generate may interact to set back the achievement of overall long-term justice. On the other, we cannot supplement such problem solving with theorizing about how to make progress towards a long-term goal of ideal justice, because the very interactions that render problem solving unsatisfactory raise insurmountable epistemic difficulties for this latter approach. To accommodate complexity, we must therefore give up on ideal theory, and instead supplement problem solving with a new sort of theorizing that aims to work out how to make our institutional arrangements more progressive: more conducive to further improvements in general, though not necessarily to the achievement of any antecedently specified goal. More concretely, we must identify ways of improving our capacity to flexibly experiment with many promising solutions to problems as they arise, to select for those solutions that prove successful while eliminating those that do not, and to learn from both our successes and our inevitable failures.</p> 2019-12-13T15:39:41+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Jacob Barrett Freedom and Actual Interference 2020-04-18T14:18:05+00:00 Jonah Goldwater <p>Liberal and republican conceptions of freedom differ as to whether freedom consists in noninterference or non-domination. Pettit defends the republican non-domination conception on the grounds that one can be unfree without being interfered with if one is dominated, and that one can be interfered with yet free if not dominated. I show that these claims mistake the scope of actual interference. In particular, I show that cases said to involve unfreedom without interference do involve interference, and that cases said to involve freedom despite interference— in particular, cases involving government regulations—are cases in which some interference is outweighed by protection from even greater interference. The liberal noninterference conception of freedom, therefore, can account for what Pettit claims can only be accounted for by freedom as non-domination.</p> 2019-12-13T15:40:59+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Jonah Goldwater Do We Have Reasons to Obey the Law? 2020-04-18T14:17:58+00:00 Edmund Tweedy Flanigan <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Instead of the question, ‘Do we have an obligation to obey the law?,’ we should first ask the easier question, ‘Do we have reasons to obey the law?.’ This paper offers a new account of the notion of what Hart called the content-independence of legal reasons in terms of the normative grounding relation. That account is then used to mount a defense of the claim that we do indeed have content-independent, genuinely normative reasons to obey the law (because it is the law), and that these reasons do sometimes amount to an obligation to so-act.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2019-12-13T15:41:53+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Edmund Tweedy Flanigan The Ambitions of Consequentialism 2020-04-18T14:17:52+00:00 Brian McElwee <p>Consequentialism is most famously a theory of right action. But many consequentialists assume, and some have explicitly argued, that consequentialism is equally plausible as a direct theory of the right rules, motives, character traits, institutions, and even such things as climates and eye colours. In this paper, I call into question this ‘Global Consequentialist’ extension of consequentialist evaluation beyond the domain of action. Consequentialist treatments of evaluands other than action are most plausible when they are interpreted as claims about reasons for action; other key ethical concepts involve claims about what there is reason to feel, which makes a consequentialist treatment of them implausible.</p> 2019-12-13T15:43:36+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Brian McElwee Error Theory, Unbelievability and the Normative Objection 2020-04-18T14:17:40+00:00 Daniele Bruno <p>One of the most formidable challenges to the Error Theory is the Normative Objection, according to which the Error Theory ought to be rejected because of its deeply implausible first-order normative implications. Recently, Bart Streumer has offered a novel and powerful defence of the Error Theory against this objection. Streumer argues that the Error Theory’s plausibility deficit when viewed against the background of our normative beliefs does not show the theory’s falsity. Rather, it can be explained by the fact that this theory, though true, cannot be believed. In this paper, I argue that Streumer’s defence does not succeed. I show that, even if we grant Streumer that we cannot believe the Error Theory, we can still formulate what I call the Undermining Normative Objection, an argument that proceeds only from believable premises to a believable conclusion and shows that the arguments supporting the Error Theory cannot all be sound.</p> 2020-01-16T23:47:18+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Daniele Bruno Does Initial Appropriation Create New Obligations? 2020-04-18T14:17:45+00:00 Jesse Spafford <p>A popular argument against the unilateral appropriation of unowned resources maintains that such appropriation is impossible because it implies a power to unilaterally impose novel obligations on others—a power which people cannot have given that they are moral equals. However, Bas van der Vossen has recently argued that initial appropriation does not <em>create </em>obligations in this way; rather, it merely <em>alters</em> the empirical facts that, together with obligations, determine people’s practical moral requirements. This paper argues that van der Vossen is mistaken. Specifically, it contends that the creation of obligations is accompanied by a distinctive kind of variation in the obliged party’s practical requirements across possible worlds. Given that initial appropriation entails such variation, the paper argues that such appropriation does, in fact, create obligations.</p> 2020-01-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Jesse Spafford