Ideas of Will Kymlicka, by Theme

[Canadian, fl. 1988, Taught by G.A. Cohen. At the University of Toronto.]

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16. Persons / E. Rejecting the Self / 2. Self as Social Construct
The 'Kantian' self steps back from commitment to its social situation
22. Metaethics / C. The Good / 1. Goodness / c. Right and good
Teleological theories give the good priority over concern for people
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / c. Particularism
Maybe the particularist moral thought of women is better than the impartial public thinking of men
23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 1. Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is not a decision-procedure; choice of the best procedure is an open question
One view says start with equality, and infer equal weight to interests, and hence maximum utility
A second view says start with maximising the good, implying aggregation, and hence equality
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 2. Population / a. Human population
To maximise utility should we double the population, even if life somewhat deteriorates?
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 4. Original Position / c. Difference principle
The difference principles says we must subsidise the costs of other people's choices
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / a. Sovereignty
Liberal state legitimacy is based on a belief in justice, not in some conception of the good life
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Social contract
Social contract theories are usually rejected because there never was such a contract
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 4. Citizenship
Some liberals thinks checks and balances are enough, without virtuous citizens
Good citizens need civic virtues of loyalty, independence, diligence, respect, etc.
Liberals accept that people need society, but Aristotelians must show that they need political activity
Minimal liberal citizenship needs common civility, as well as mere non-interference
Modern non-discrimination obliges modern citizens to treat each other as equals
The right wing sees citizenship in terms of responsibility to earn a living, rather than rights
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 5. Culture
Liberals say state intervention in culture restricts people's autonomy
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 4. Social Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is no longer a distinctive political position
The quest of the general good is partly undermined by people's past entitlements
We shouldn't endorse preferences which reject equality, and show prejudice and selfishness
Using utilitarian principles to make decisions encourages cold detachment from people
Utilitarianism is irrational if it tells you to trade in your rights and resources just for benefits
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy
Modern democratic theory focuses on talk, not votes, because we need consensus or compromise
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / a. Liberalism basics
In a liberal democracy all subjects of authority have a right to determine the authority
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / b. Liberal individualism
Modern liberalism has added personal privacy to our personal social lives
We have become attached to private life because that has become greatly enriched
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / d. Liberal freedom
Liberalism tends to give priority to basic liberties
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / e. Liberal community
Liberals are not too individualistic, because people recognise and value social relations
Modern liberals see a community as simply a society which respects freedom and equality
Liberals must avoid an official culture, as well as an official religion
Liberals need more than freedom; they must build a nation, through a language and institutions
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / f. Multiculturalism
Some individuals can gain citizenship as part of a group, rather than as mere individuals
The status hierarchy is independent of the economic hierarchy
Some multiculturalists defended the rights of cohesive minorities against liberal individualism
'Culturalist' liberals say that even liberal individuals may need minority rights
Multiculturalism may entail men dominating women in minority groups
Liberals must prefer minority right which are freedoms, not restrictions
Why shouldn't national minorities have their own right to nation-build?
Multiculturalism is liberal if it challenges inequality, conservative if it emphasises common good
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / g. Liberalism critique
Marxists say liberalism is unjust, because it allows exploitation in the sale of labour
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 7. Communitarianism / a. Communitarianism
The 'Kantian' view of the self misses the way it is embedded or situated in society
Communitarians say we should pay more attention to our history
Community can focus on class or citizenship or ethnicity or culture
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 7. Communitarianism / b. Against communitarianism
Communitarian states only encourage fairly orthodox ideas of the good life
Feminism has shown that social roles are far from fixed (as communitarians tend to see them)
Participation aids the quest for the good life, but why should that be a state activity?
Communitarianism struggles with excluded marginalised groups
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 1. Slavery
If everyone owned himself, that would prevent slavery
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 4. Free market
Libertarians like the free market, but they also think that the free market is just
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 5. Freedom of lifestyle
The most valuable liberties to us need not be the ones with the most freedom
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 6. Political freedom
Ancient freedom was free participation in politics, not private independence of life
25. Social Practice / B. Equalities / 2. Political equality
Equal opportunities seems fair, because your fate is from your choices, not your circumstances
Equal opportunity arbitrarily worries about social circumstances, but ignores talents
25. Social Practice / B. Equalities / 3. Legal equality
Marxists say justice is unneeded in the truly good community
25. Social Practice / C. Rights / 1. Basis of Rights
The Lockean view of freedom depends on whether you had a right to what is restricted
Rights are a part of nation-building, to build a common national identity and culture
Rights derived from group membership are opposed to the idea of state citizenship
25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 1. Basis of justice
Justice corrects social faults, but also expresses respect to individuals as ends
Communitarians see justice as primarily a community matter, rather than a principle
Justice resolves conflicts, but may also provoke them
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 3. Welfare provision
The welfare state helps to integrate the working classes into a national culture