Elizabeth Brake (left) and Simon May (right) on marriage.
As same-sex marriage gains acceptance, a greater number of caring relationships enjoy legal recognition. But what about polygamous and polyamorous relationships? What about non-romantic relationships, such as friendships? In this episode, Brake and May discuss Brake’s controversial view that individuals should be allowed to assign the rights and privileges of marriage to whomever they want, so long as the purpose is to support a caring relationship. They also discuss the case for same-sex marriage (4:30), whether legal marriage should be abolished (33:48), caring relationships as Rawlsian primary goods (45:40), and May’s objection to polygamy (54:49).
Read an excerpt from Brake’s forthcoming book, Minimizing Marriage: Morality, Marriage, and the Law.
Announcement: Jeremy Garrett, Elizabeth Brake, Martha Fineman, and Simon May will participate in a group session entitled “After Marriage” at the Eastern APA meeting, Group Session XIII, Fri., Dec. 30, 1:30pm.
Jason Brennan (left) and Kevin Vallier (right) on political liberalism and religion.
According to some prominent versions of political liberalism, coercive political force is illegitimate unless it is justifiable from every reasonable point of view. But there are many reasonable points of view from which religious beliefs cannot be justified. This seems to mean that religious political convictions are in conflict with political liberalism. However, Vallier resists that conclusion; he thinks that religious reasoning can have a legitimate role in political discourse. In this episode, Brennan and Vallier discuss Vallier’s argument.
Elizabeth Anderson (left) and David Schmidtz (right) on equality.
Anderson and Schmidtz begin with a critical assessment of Amartya Sen’s influential view that every theory of justice must strive for equality of something. Then they discuss Anderson’s form of egalitarianism, which privileges social relations over mere distributive equality (although it also allows that distributive components of justice are important). Finally, they consider various problems facing our own society. What sorts of inequality exist in our democracy, and what sorts of inequality should we aim to eliminate?
Ann Cudd (left) and Matt Zwolinski (right) on exploitation and oppression.
The NYT reports that some low-wage South African workers were recently angered when their factory was shut down for violation of minimum wage laws. Are such workers exploited by their employers? Do they constitute an oppressed group? To address such questions, Cudd and Zwolinski examine the concepts of exploitation and oppression. They consider whether mutually beneficial exploitation might sometimes be morally justifiable, and how much we must be willing to sacrifice in order to resist oppressive institutions, among other issues.