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Social Sciences - Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility | The Importance of Assent - A Theory of Coercion and Dignity

The Importance of Assent

A Theory of Coercion and Dignity

Van der Rijt, Jan-Willem

2012, X, 158 p.

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  • Shows the importance of subjective moral judgments to moral theory and practice
  • Brings together Kantian and republican moral theory
  • Contains a new argument in favour of retributivism based on the dignity of victims
  • Presents a new interpretation of moral law-giving as the basis for the dignity of persons

The view that persons are entitled to respect because of their moral agency is commonplace in contemporary moral theory. What exactly this respect entails, however, is far less uncontroversial. In this book, Van der Rijt argues powerfully that this respect for persons’ moral agency must also encompass respect for their subjective moral judgments – even when these judgments can be shown to be fundamentally flawed.

Van der Rijt scrutinises the role persons’ subjective moral judgments play within the context of coercion and domination.  His fresh, original analysis of Kant’s third formulation of the Categorical Imperative reveals how these judgments are intimately connected to a person’s dignity. The result is an insightful new account of coercion, a novel Kantian reformulation of the republican notion of non-domination and a compelling, innovative argument in favour of retributive justice.

"In this admirably clear and insightful work, Van der Rijt develops an original account of coercion and dignity. On the basis of his analysis of the relation between these two concepts, he also provides an intriguing new angle on the nature of republicanism. I recommend this book to anyone interested in freedom and power and their roles in normative political theory."

Ian Carter - University of Pavia

"In this carefully argued and original study Jan-Willem van der Rijt offers an analysis of coercion, a broadly Kantian argument that coercion is an affront to dignity, and an illuminating contrast with Philip Pettit's republicanism. A most welcome contribution."

Thomas E. Hill, Jr. - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Jan-Willem van der Rijt has written a well argued, original book that will prove to be extremely helpful for the philosophical inquiry of the relationship between coercion and human dignity as well as for the assessment of republicanism and its consequences."

Ralf Stoecker - University of Potsdam

Content Level » Research

Keywords » (Non-)domination - Categorical imperative - Coercion - Dignity - Immanuel Kant - Moral political theory - Republicanism - Retributivism - Subjective moral judgments

Related subjects » Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility - Criminal Law and Criminology - Law - Political Science

Table of contents 

Acknowledgements.- Introduction.- Part I: Coercion.- 1. The Analysis of Coercion.­_ 1.1 Introduction_ 1.2 Evaluating coercion accounts_ 1.3 The position of the coerced_ 1.4 The role of the coercer_ 1.5 Summary.- 2. Coercion and Moral Judgment _ 2.1 A definition of coercion­_ 2.2 Discussion_ 2.3 Applications.- Part II: Dignity and Interference .- 3. A Kantian Perspective_ 3.1 Introduction_ 3.2 Considering oneself wronged_ 3.3 Moral agents, chosen ends, and wrongful interference .- 4. Moral Objections and the Categorical Imperative_ 4.1 Introduction_ 4.2 Coercion and disagreement_ 4.3 The Formulae of Universal Law and End-in-Itself_ 4.4 The Formula of the Commonwealth of Ends_ 4.5 Conclusion.- Part III: A Kantian Reconstruction of Republicanism _ 5. Republicanism_ 5.1 Introduction_ 5.2 Republican freedom.- 6. Non-domination and Dignity_ 6.1 Introduction_ 6.2 Dignity and avowed interests_ 6.3 Immunity vs. impunity_ 6.4 Implications I_ 6.5 Implications II: Retributive justice_ 6.6 Summary.- 7. Conclusion_ 7.1 Summary_ 7.2 Dignity and sincerity.- Abbreviations to Kant’s Works.- References.- Index.

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