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  1. Infeasibility as a Normative Argument‐Stopper: The Case of Open Borders.Nicholas Southwood & Robert E. Goodin - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    The open borders view is frequently dismissed for making infeasible demands. This is a potent strategy. Unlike normative arguments regarding open borders, which tend to be relatively intractable, the charge of infeasibility is supposed to operate as what we call a "normative argument-stopper." Nonetheless, we argue that the strategy fails. Bringing about open borders is perfectly feasible on the most plausible account of feasibility. We consider and reject what we take to be the only three credible ways to save the (...)
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  • The Possibility of Wildly Unrealistic Justice and the Principle/Proposal Distinction.Nicholas Southwood - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Are institutional principles of justice subject to a minimal realism constraint to the effect that, in order to be valid, they must not make wildly unrealistic demands? Most of us say “yes.” David Estlund says, “no.” However, while Estlund holds that 1) institutional principles of justice are not subject to a minimal realism constraint, he accepts that 2) institutional principles of justice are subject to an *attainability constraint* to the effect that, in order to be valid, they must not make (...)
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  • "Actual" Does Not Imply "Feasible".Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3037-3060.
    The familiar complaint that some ambitious proposal is infeasible naturally invites the following response: Once upon a time, the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of women seemed infeasible, yet these things were actually achieved. Presumably, then, many of those things that seem infeasible in our own time may well be achieved too and, thus, turn out to have been perfectly feasible after all. The Appeal to History, as we call it, is a bad argument. It is not true that (...)
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  • Feasibility as a Constraint on ‘Ought All-Things-Considered’, But Not on ‘Ought as a Matter of Justice’?Nicholas Southwood - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):598-616.
    It is natural and relatively common to suppose that feasibility is a constraint on what we ought to do all-things-considered but not a constraint on what we ought to do as a matter of justice. I show that the combination of these claims entails an implausible picture of the relation between feasibility and desirability given an attractive understanding of the relation between what we ought to do as a matter of justice and what we ought to do all-things-considered.
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  • Contractualism for Us As We Are.Nicholas Southwood - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):529-547.
    A difficult problem for contractualists is how to provide an interpretation of the contractual situation that is both subject to appropriately stringent constraints and yet also appropriately sensitive to certain features of us as we actually are. My suggestion is that we should embrace a model of contractualism that is structurally analogous to the “advice model” of the ideal observer theory famously proposed by Michael Smith (1994; 1995). An advice model of contractualism is appealing since it promises to deliver a (...)
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  • Essentially Practical Questions.Brendan Balcerak Jackson - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (1):1-26.
    Questions are known to play a crucial role in helping to structure linguistic communication. I argue that paying attention to questions is also necessary for understanding disagreement, and in particular for distinguishing between genuine and merely verbal disagreements. I argue, moreover, that some of the questions that play this role are essentially practical questions, questions about what to do. Such questions can remain open even after questions about what is the case have been settled. Essentially practical questions help structure discourse (...)
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  • Against Some Recent Arguments for ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’: Reasons, Deliberation, Trying, and Furniture.Paul Henne, Jennifer Semler, Vladimir Chituc, Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (1):131-139.
    Many philosophers claim that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. In light of recent empirical evidence, however, some skeptics conclude that philosophers should stop assuming the principle unconditionally. Streumer, however, does not simply assume the principle’s truth; he provides arguments for it. In this article, we argue that his arguments fail to support the claim that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’.
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  • Republican Justice.Nicholas Southwood - 2015 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 18 (6):669-678.
    I raise three objections to Pettit’s republican account of justice: 1) that it fails to account adequately for the role of certain values such as substantive fairness; 2) that it represents an uncomfortable hybrid of egalitarianism and sufficientarianism; and 3) that it fails Pettit’s own “eyeball test”. I then conclude in a more constructive vein, speculating about the kind of account of justice it is supposed to be and suggesting that, construed a certain way, it may have resources for answering (...)
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  • The Feasibility Issue.Nicholas Southwood - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (8):e12509.
    It is commonly taken for granted that questions of feasibility are highly relevant to our normative thinking – and perhaps especially our normative thinking about politics. But what exactly does this preoccupation with feasibility amount to, and in what forms if any is it warranted? This article aims to provide a critical introduction to, and clearer characterization of, the feasibility issue. I begin by discussing the question of how feasibility is to be understood. I then turn to the question of (...)
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