Tag Archives: justice

A Summary (of the first portion) of “Frontiers of Justice” by M. Nussbaum

     Martha Nussbaum sets out in “Frontiers of Justice” to challenge the Social Contract tradition, the current paradigm in political philosophy insofar as it relates to theories of justice, by defending her own approach which she refers to as the “capabilities approach.” She begins by describing the historical development of the Social Contract tradition, focusing on certain writings of philosophers such as Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Kant, and most recently, John Rawls.

After briefly describing how the Social Contract tradition has come to exist in its contemporary form following the influences of John Rawls, Nussbaum levels some very strong criticisms against this philosophical tradition. In particular Nussbaum focuses on how proponents of the Social Contract tradition have (not) responded to the needs and interests of disabled individuals, the global community/nationality, and non-human species.

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The Historical Development of the Evolving Standards of Decency (ESD) Doctrine in the U.S. Supreme Court

One of the most controversial elements of the U.S. Bill of Rights is the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment which states that “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (U.S. Const. Amdt. 8). Whether the use of the death penalty is an instance of cruel and unusual punishment has been the subject of sustained and intense debate given that there have been over 16,000 legal executions in the United States from 1700 until 2019 (TIME). Continue reading

FDR’s Bill of Economic Rights

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation
           Comment: Notice the specific types of employment that FDR had in mind when he mentioned an economic right to a job. It was not just any job. And it wasn’t necessarily a job you (necessarily) wanted.[1] Rather, it was limited to “industries[,] shops[,] farms[,] [and] mines.” These jobs, when we reflect on them, are typically: manual-labor intensive (depending on the industry/shop but typically across the board for farms and mines), involve long hours (beyond the standard 8-hour workday that is commonplace today), offer little pay (in comparison to, say, jobs in the technology industry), etc. Suffice it to say that part of the problem with this first economic right, as it is initially proposed by FDR, is that it is no longer in-tune with the contemporary economic landscape. That is to say, we have fewer farms, mines, and even shops than we used to (all things considered). Instead, we have increasingly flexible and immaterial economic structures in place (e.g. the ‘gig’ economy). This right needs to drop the second half of the clause and redefine what it means by ‘useful and remunerative.’

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