the lonely heart breaks: on the right to be a social contributor
This paper uncovers a distinctively social type of injustice that lies in the kinds of wrongs we can do to each other specifically as social beings. In this paper, social injustice is not principally about unfair distributions of socio-economic goods among citizens. Instead, it is about the ways we can violate each other’s fundamental rights to lead socially integrated lives in close proximity and relationship with other people. This paper homes in on a particular type of social injustice, which we can call social contribution injustice. The paper identifies two distinct forms of social contribution injustice. The first form involves compromising a person’s social resources so as to deny her adequate scope to contribute socially. The second form involves unjustly misvaluing a person as a social contributor, usually by not taking her seriously as a social contributor.
Kimberley Brownlee is an Associate Professor of Moral and Legal Philosophy at the University of Warwick. Prior to this, she was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester. Her current work focuses on the ethics of sociability, social human rights, and freedom of association. This work includes a monograph (under contract with Oxford University Press) and a series of articles (including in Utilitas; Oxford Journal of Legal Studies; and Philosophical Quarterly). She also has written on conscience, conviction, and civil disobedience; punishment; ideals and virtue; and human rights. She is the author of Conscience and Conviction: The Case for Civil Disobedience (OUP 2012).
what’s wrong with being lonely? justice, beneficence, and meaningful relationships
A life without liberty and material resources is not a good life. Equally, a life devoid of meaningful social relationships—such as friendships, family attachments, and romances—is not a good life. From this it is tempting to conclude that just as individuals have rights to liberty and material resources, they also have rights to access meaningful social relationships. I argue that this conclusion can be defended only in a narrow set of cases. “Pure” social-relationship deprivation—i.e., deprivation that is not caused, or accompanied, by deficits in liberties and material resources— mostly generates demands of private beneficence. I suggest that social-relationship deprivation is unjust, hence a rights-violation, only when it is due to factors—e.g., one’s race—that are irrelevant to one’s being a good participant in social relationships. I thus conclude that access to meaningful social relationships is not a fundamental concern for theories of (personal or political) justice.
Laura Valentini is Associate Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Prior to joining the LSE, she was Lecturer in Political Philosophy at UCL. Her work addresses substantive and methodological questions in political philosophy. She is the author of Justice in a Globalized World (OUP, 2011), and has published on topics including justice and charity, human rights, ideal and non-ideal theory, and democratic theory. Her current research focuses on our moral reasons to obey positive (conventional) norms.
8 - 10 July 2016
School of English, Communication and Philosophy
John Percival Building
Cardiff CF10 3EU
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