At the outset of the Republic, Polemarchus advances the bold thesis that “justice is the art which gives benefit to friends and injury to enemies”. He quickly rejects the hypothesis, and what follows is a long tradition of neglecting the ethics of enmity. The parallel issue of how friendship (and other positive relationships) affects the moral sphere has, by contrast, been greatly illuminated by discussions both ancient and contemporary. This article connects this existing work to the less explored topic of the normative significance of our negative relationships. I explain how negative partiality should be conceptualized through reference to the positive analogue, and argue that at least some forms of negative partiality are justified. I further explore the connection between positive and negative relationships by showing how both are justified by ongoing histories of encounter (though of different kinds). However, I also argue that these relationships are in some important ways asymmetrical (i.e. friendship is not the mirror image of enmity).
Effective altruism is purportedly ecumenical towards different moral views, charitable causes, and evidentiary methods. I argue that effective altruists’ criticisms of purportedly less effective charities are inconsistent with their commitment to ecumenicity. Individuals may justifiably support charities other than those recommended by effective altruism. If effective altruists take their commitment to ecumenicity seriously, they will have to revise their criticisms of many of these charities.
There is little agreement about what grounds obligations of distributive justice. This paper defends cosmopolitan coercion theory against recent criticism that coercive rule is not even sufficient to generate obligations of distributive justice. On one of the most sustained arguments against the idea that coercion is sufficient to generate obligations of distributive justice, critics object that coercion, and other nonvoluntary relationships, cannot fix the scope, or content, of these obligations. At best, critics argue, nonvoluntary relationships can ground obligations of charity or humanity. This paper argues that this Scope/Content Critique fails, in part, because it does not recognize the motivation for coercion theories. Moreover, despite assertions to the contrary, the Scope/Content Critique assumes coercion must suffice to ground obligations of distributive justice. Nonvoluntarists can hold there are many things, in addition to nonvoluntary relations, that can ground them.
Jeppe von Platz
In his most recent book, Daniel Batson develops a psychological theory of moral motivation by looking at moral failure. Even under favorable conditions, Batson argues, people frequently behave immorally. In addition to defects of character or judgment and situational pressures, a lack of moral integrity plays an important role in explaining moral failure. Batson’s book sheds light on the most common sources of immoral behavior, providing moral philosophers with the resources to properly target their reasons to be moral.