quarta-feira, 18 de abril de 2012


MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory - Ninth Annual Conference
Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT), University of Manchester
5th – 7th September 2012

Convenor: Emanuela Ceva (University of Pavia)

Can the procedures through which a society is structured be considered
as inherently valuable as just? Or is justice to be thought to reside
in their outcomes, to the achievement of which procedures are merely
subservient? The workshop is designed to take issue with the
widespread wariness of proceduralism as a justice-relevant approach to
normativity. It has often been argued that procedure-related
considerations are in fact reducible to outcome-related concerns – so
procedures only have instrumental value depending on the qualities of
the outcomes they produce. Failure to recognize this point would lead
proceduralists, so the critique goes, to give no independent standard
through which to assess the quality of outcomes, thus condemning
agents to a ‘deaf and blind’ acceptance of any outcome and fostering
an ‘anything goes’ attitude towards justice.

Interestingly, such a generalized disregard of the inherent value of
procedures in matters of justice does not seem to be matched by an
equal lack of interest when the normative regard, as it were, moves
from the justice of a polity to its legitimacy. Indeed, a number of
studies defend procedural approaches to legitimacy, especially when it
comes to accounting for the justification of authority in a democracy.
The thought underlying such a double attitude towards proceduralism
may be summarized as follows: whilst legitimacy has to do with the
processes through which coercive political decisions are made, justice
is more a ‘substantial’ matter concerning the moral justification of
the terms of social cooperation, against which the qualities of the
decisions made by those who have the authority to make them are to be
evaluated. Accordingly, the argument goes, theorization about
procedures seems to be more appropriate for issues of legitimacy than
for those of justice.

Is this really the only role that proceduralism may play in a
normative theory of the social order? This workshop aims to
investigate this general question by addressing such issues as:

-       Does it make any sense to theorize about the justice of procedures
independently of the qualities of their outcomes?
-       Can procedures only have an instrumental value?
-       What is the relation between outcome-oriented theories of justice
and procedural theories of legitimacy?
-       Should proceduralism about justice be understood as an alternative
to outcome-theories or should it be viewed as a complement to them?

If you would like to present a paper at this workshop, please send a
500-word abstract (or a full paper) to emanuela.ceva@unipv.it by 15
May 2012.

Contributions are welcome from the fields of ethics, political
philosophy/theory, history of political thought and legal philosophy.

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