Strumenti personali

CEVA Emanuela


sito web
via Sorio 1/b, 36071, Arzignano (VI)
Univesity of Manchester
ciclo e titolo del dottorato
Political Theory
Prof. Hillel Steiner



The aim of this thesis is to outline the essential traits a procedural theory of justice for the management of conflicts about values should display, so as to make sense of radical intracommunity substantive pluralism. In accordance with this, the main circumstance of justice I deal with is radical substantive pluralism. In order to characterise this idea, I take into consideration two influential definitions of pluralism: i.e. Isaiah Berlin’s normative theory about the plural sources of values, and John Rawls’s conception of reasonable disagreement. Following the path opened by the latter, I propose a definition of pluralism as the recognition of the simultaneous presence of different views of the world, conceptions of the good and related values. However, parting company with Rawls, I have decided to deal with radical substantive pluralism, as opposed to the Rawlsian narrow conception of reasonable pluralism. This amounts to the elimination of the presumption that agents involved in conflicts over values are reasonable. Having thus set out the context of my study, I make a case in support of my choice of proposing a procedural conception of justice, instead of a substantive one. With that in place, I move on investigating different prominent models of proceduralism (i.e. David Gauthier’s, Brian Barry’s and Bruce Ackerman’s), so as to single out the essential features that the theory of justice I seek to characterise should display. The outcome of this analysis reveals the need of a theory capable of combining a certain structural cogency (which is typical of substantive theories of justice) with a significant open-endedness, in accordance with its procedural nature. With this in mind, I turn to consider Rawls’s taxonomy of proceduralism, in terms of perfect, imperfect and pure procedural justice. Given the concessions the two former kinds of proceduralism make to substantive theories, and the dubious characterisation Rawls gives of pure procedural theories of justice, I reformulate the latter in terms of impure proceduralism. In this case, the theory is required not to pose substantive constraints on the definition of just states of affairs, but is, rather, expected to provide an account of the essential features of a just procedure. Moreover, such characterisation, in my view, is to be built on a procedural principle of justice, whose justification is offered in light of a foundational procedural value. By this, I suggest the need of devising procedures that are both minimal in their assumptions and open-ended, without necessarily aiming to be fully value-free. Building on this, I propose to delineate a two-stage theory, characterised by an initial, monological, phase – where what counts as a just procedure is defined – followed by a dialogical one, where the theorist is meant to withdraw, leaving conflicting agents to devise specific material procedures, in view of the normative features outlined in the former phase, and in accordance with the particular context where their interaction is situated. Having thus characterised the structure that such model of proceduralism should have, I proceed to put forward a proposal of the essential traits of an impure procedural theory of justice for the management of conflicts about values. In particular, I propose to endorse Stuart Hampshire’s formulation of the principle of adversary argument, as a minimal principle of justice, which commands that the parties to a conflict hear what the other parties say. Despite my being sympathetic to this principle, I criticise the weak justification Hampshire offered for it, and propose to found it on an initial commitment to a procedural conception of equality, requiring all conflicting parties to be granted an equal chance to have a say. Moreover, in order to avoid charges of formalism, I suggest supplementing the principle of adversary argument with an action orientation towards the reciprocal understanding between the parties (according to a Habermasian conception), as a necessary condition for a conflict over values to be justly managed. In light of that, in my view, a conflict about values is justly managed when it is addressed by means of a procedure that meets the requirements of procedural equality, respects the principle of adversary argument, and displays an action orientation towards the mutual understanding between the different parties involved.

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