EXTENDED ABSTRACT: In this paper I examine the political philosophy of B. Ackerman and in particular his conception of neutrality. I argue that in his philosophy of dialogue neutrality has a central place because it is a moral value, and because of its anti-relativistc implications for distributive justice. Ackerman’s philosophy is an influential and interesting attempt to approach the issues of justice with a good balance between theoretical and empirical attitude. The permanence of a general appeal to impartiality in his philosophy has the ambition to determine standards and criteria for the application of justice and correction of injustice. As a matter of fact, what is implicitly recommended is to model ethical–political judgments on the behavior of a fair judge. This is not just a revival of the theory of the impartial spectator for two reason. The first reason is related to a kind of loss from the point of view of the original theory of impartial spectator, since there is not a great emphasis on sympathy as a criterion for identification of right ethical–political practices; the second reason is that the identification of a specific procedure for resolving disputes can be transformed into a clear commitment to substantive results. Ackerman’s dialogism is precisely the belief that there is a correspondence between appropriate procedures and outcomes, and that the rules and results of a certain distribution of goods can be regarded as the outcome of a conversation conducted in the appropriate manner. This assumption is intended by Ackerman as absolutely realistic (and certainly not naively irenic), since is meant as a regulated dispute between competing visions of the world with accurate and almost immediate impact for distributive justice. For Ackerman, indeed, our liberal situation can be described as the conscious realization that the struggle for power and scarce resources is always possible. Ackerman believes that it is not necessary to provide ab initio any analytical definition of justice, but it is sufficient to keep firm to its distributive function. Even in a situation in which resources were distributed in a perfectly equal way, we could not exclude the possibility of conflict. Actually, the possibility of conflicts could be excluded only with the fulfillment of some conditions: a limited scarcity and actors that are identical from the psychological point of view within a world without marginal utility. Ackerman suggests three strategies and related principles to face the problem of conflict in liberal societies. The first strategy is the adoption of the criterion of rationality. This strategy states that to the question of legitimacy we must not answered to by suppressing the protester, but by providing reasons to justify our use of particular resources. It should be noticed that we are faced with a use of the term rationality that is very different from that adopted by the majority of philosophers and scholars in the human sciences. Usually, the meaning of rationality comes from the definition used in the economic sciences, where is intended as a decision–making process that is based on making choices that result in the most optimal level of benefit or utility for the individual (and most conventional economic theories are created and used under the assumption that all individuals taking part in an action/activity are behaving rationally). The second strategy is, as a matter of fact, an additional requirement to rationality, that is consistency. Consistency requires that the subject adopts reasons to justify his/her power which are not inconsistent with his/her other reasons that he/she will provide to make any request of power. About this condition, it should be noted that it does not specify the time lapse during which this condition should be effective. To apply requirement of consistency to agents, one must also require a commitment to a strong solution of personal identity. The person who is called to satisfy a requirement of strong consistency, i.e. consistency over time, should not consider himself/herself an ens successivum. This could mean that conversational coherence implies some metaphysical conditions relating to personal identity, that is to the idea of a subject that remains relatively stable, for making the performance of a dialogue sufficiently stable. The third strategy is a moral–ethical characterization of liberal dialogue which is openly required to register any citizen as participant to liberal society, namely neutrality. This principle asserts the invalidity of any justification in which one makes use of ad hominem argument. Neutrality means that no reason is a good reason if it requires the power holder to assert: (a) that his conception of the good is better than that asserted by any of his fellow citizens, or (b) that, regardless of his conception of the good, he is intrinsically superior to one or more of his fellow citizens. The outcomes of my enquiry is that Ackerman’s theory holds together three elements which are strictly tied up. The first is the reference to interpersonal comparisons and intrapersonal comparisons between different possible states along any time span in the mechanisms of distribution. Equality refers to a mechanism like that, and the same consideration also applies to other principles like utilitarianism, maximin strategies, and so on. To apply a structural principle you need to know two things: a) how a set of possible outcomes should be preferred; b) what should be considered as a real gain for individuals. The second central feature, shared by both Rawls and Ackermanan, is an anti–intuitionistic attitude. This attitude is played towards the traditional problem of distributive justice in Rawls, while in Ackerman is the structure itself of dialogue that is intended to set aside intuition. The third is as follows: even if you think you know what good is and that imposing it to the others will result in a general welfare, you cannot be sure that people, who are responsible for the imposition of the good, have a special moral endowment as to be incorruptible. As this last argument crosses the paths of neutrality is not clear, however, because it entails many and unexplained anthropological assumption, and, in any case, it is a path that Ackerman leaves largely undetermined.

Subjects to Dialogue

MARRONE, PIERPAOLO
2014

Abstract

EXTENDED ABSTRACT: In this paper I examine the political philosophy of B. Ackerman and in particular his conception of neutrality. I argue that in his philosophy of dialogue neutrality has a central place because it is a moral value, and because of its anti-relativistc implications for distributive justice. Ackerman’s philosophy is an influential and interesting attempt to approach the issues of justice with a good balance between theoretical and empirical attitude. The permanence of a general appeal to impartiality in his philosophy has the ambition to determine standards and criteria for the application of justice and correction of injustice. As a matter of fact, what is implicitly recommended is to model ethical–political judgments on the behavior of a fair judge. This is not just a revival of the theory of the impartial spectator for two reason. The first reason is related to a kind of loss from the point of view of the original theory of impartial spectator, since there is not a great emphasis on sympathy as a criterion for identification of right ethical–political practices; the second reason is that the identification of a specific procedure for resolving disputes can be transformed into a clear commitment to substantive results. Ackerman’s dialogism is precisely the belief that there is a correspondence between appropriate procedures and outcomes, and that the rules and results of a certain distribution of goods can be regarded as the outcome of a conversation conducted in the appropriate manner. This assumption is intended by Ackerman as absolutely realistic (and certainly not naively irenic), since is meant as a regulated dispute between competing visions of the world with accurate and almost immediate impact for distributive justice. For Ackerman, indeed, our liberal situation can be described as the conscious realization that the struggle for power and scarce resources is always possible. Ackerman believes that it is not necessary to provide ab initio any analytical definition of justice, but it is sufficient to keep firm to its distributive function. Even in a situation in which resources were distributed in a perfectly equal way, we could not exclude the possibility of conflict. Actually, the possibility of conflicts could be excluded only with the fulfillment of some conditions: a limited scarcity and actors that are identical from the psychological point of view within a world without marginal utility. Ackerman suggests three strategies and related principles to face the problem of conflict in liberal societies. The first strategy is the adoption of the criterion of rationality. This strategy states that to the question of legitimacy we must not answered to by suppressing the protester, but by providing reasons to justify our use of particular resources. It should be noticed that we are faced with a use of the term rationality that is very different from that adopted by the majority of philosophers and scholars in the human sciences. Usually, the meaning of rationality comes from the definition used in the economic sciences, where is intended as a decision–making process that is based on making choices that result in the most optimal level of benefit or utility for the individual (and most conventional economic theories are created and used under the assumption that all individuals taking part in an action/activity are behaving rationally). The second strategy is, as a matter of fact, an additional requirement to rationality, that is consistency. Consistency requires that the subject adopts reasons to justify his/her power which are not inconsistent with his/her other reasons that he/she will provide to make any request of power. About this condition, it should be noted that it does not specify the time lapse during which this condition should be effective. To apply requirement of consistency to agents, one must also require a commitment to a strong solution of personal identity. The person who is called to satisfy a requirement of strong consistency, i.e. consistency over time, should not consider himself/herself an ens successivum. This could mean that conversational coherence implies some metaphysical conditions relating to personal identity, that is to the idea of a subject that remains relatively stable, for making the performance of a dialogue sufficiently stable. The third strategy is a moral–ethical characterization of liberal dialogue which is openly required to register any citizen as participant to liberal society, namely neutrality. This principle asserts the invalidity of any justification in which one makes use of ad hominem argument. Neutrality means that no reason is a good reason if it requires the power holder to assert: (a) that his conception of the good is better than that asserted by any of his fellow citizens, or (b) that, regardless of his conception of the good, he is intrinsically superior to one or more of his fellow citizens. The outcomes of my enquiry is that Ackerman’s theory holds together three elements which are strictly tied up. The first is the reference to interpersonal comparisons and intrapersonal comparisons between different possible states along any time span in the mechanisms of distribution. Equality refers to a mechanism like that, and the same consideration also applies to other principles like utilitarianism, maximin strategies, and so on. To apply a structural principle you need to know two things: a) how a set of possible outcomes should be preferred; b) what should be considered as a real gain for individuals. The second central feature, shared by both Rawls and Ackermanan, is an anti–intuitionistic attitude. This attitude is played towards the traditional problem of distributive justice in Rawls, while in Ackerman is the structure itself of dialogue that is intended to set aside intuition. The third is as follows: even if you think you know what good is and that imposing it to the others will result in a general welfare, you cannot be sure that people, who are responsible for the imposition of the good, have a special moral endowment as to be incorruptible. As this last argument crosses the paths of neutrality is not clear, however, because it entails many and unexplained anthropological assumption, and, in any case, it is a path that Ackerman leaves largely undetermined.
http://www2.units.it/etica/2014_2/MARRONE.pdf
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2829714
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