Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy <p>The&nbsp;<em>Journal of Ethics and&nbsp;Social Philosophy</em>&nbsp;is a peer-reviewed online journal in moral, social, political, and legal philosophy. The journal welcomes submissions of articles in any of these and related fields of research. &nbsp;The journal is interested in work in the history of ethics that bears directly on topics of contemporary interest, but does not consider articles of purely historical interest.</p> <p>The <em>Journal of Ethics and&nbsp;Social Philosophy</em> aspires to be the leading venue for the best new work in the fields that it covers, and applies a correspondingly high editorial standard. &nbsp;But it is the view of the associate editors that this standard does not preclude publishing work that is critical in nature, provided that it is constructive, well-argued, current, and of sufficiently general interest.</p> <p>While the&nbsp;<em>Journal of Ethics and&nbsp;Social Philosophy</em>&nbsp;will consider longer articles, in general the journal would prefer articles that do not exceed 15,000 words, and articles of all lengths will be evaluated in terms of what they accomplish in proportion to their length. Articles under 3k words should be submitted as discussion notes, which are reviewed and published separately from main articles. &nbsp;</p> USC School of Philosophy en-US Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 1559-3061 Consumer Complicity and the Problem of Individual Causal Efficacy <p>Because of the “problem of individual causal inefficacy,” it has been difficult to explain why a purchase that will make little to no difference to a producer’s wrongdoing is itself morally wrong. Some have recently appealed to the concept of complicity in order to support the idea that consumers have a moral reason to avoid purchasing from companies engaged in wrongdoing. In this paper, I contribute to the development of this direction in consumer ethics. First, I explore how we should define moral complicity in such situations. Some have claimed that an individual’s purchase makes her complicit, even though it makes no difference to the wrongdoing, because she is still knowingly joining in with the wrong that the company or other consumers are doing. I argue, however, that it is difficult to see making a purchase as a form of joining in a joint or group action. Instead, I respond to the causal inefficacy problem directly. I argue that even when the outcome is massively overdetermined, an individual purchase still makes a causal contribution to the principal wrongdoing and thus a basic condition for an act of moral complicity is met. Yet, this does not resolve the deeper question of whether and why consumers should morally avoid purchases that make them complicit in these cases. The issue is with how small the causal contribution such an individual purchase makes. That is, an individual purchase in such a situation may only make one a little bit complicit. I argue that for the concept of moral complicity to gain traction here, we will have to appeal to normative concerns besides the outcome of the complicit action. Still, even with this account, purchases in such overdetermination cases may not often be all things considered wrong because the reasons against them may be outweighed by other relevant reasons.</p> Corey Katz Copyright (c) 2022 Corey Katz 2023-03-26 2023-03-26 24 2 10.26556/jesp.v24i2.1808 Ethical Veganism and Free Riding <p>The animal agriculture industry causes animals a tremendous amount of pain and suffering. Many ethical vegans argue that we therefore have an obligation to abstain from animal products in order to reduce this suffering. But this argument faces a challenge: thanks to the size and structure of the animal agriculture industry, any individual’s dietary choices are overwhelmingly unlikely to make a difference. In this paper, we criticize common replies to this challenge and develop an alternative argument for ethical veganism. Specifically, we argue that individuals should abstain from animal products because vegans, as a group, successfully reduce animal suffering, and individuals are obligated to participate in, rather than free ride on, this collective endeavor. Or, at the very least, individuals have strong reasons to purchase fewer inhumanely raised animal products—even if they are not obligated to go vegan <em>per se</em>.</p> Jacob Barrett Sarah Raskoff Copyright (c) 2022 Jacob Barrett, Sarah Raskoff 2023-03-26 2023-03-26 24 2 10.26556/jesp.v24i2.2334 Fairness, Costs, and Procreative Justice <p>A commitment to holding persons responsible for the consequences of their choices has come to find a central expression in certain popular liberal egalitarian views. However, the basis for their commitment to responsibility remains imprecisely understood. Specifically, there is a failure to distinguish between two distinct grounds for holding persons responsible for the consequences of their choices. On the one hand there is a fairness-type basis for responsibility – that an agent’s being better or worse off than others in virtue of their own choice renders that inequality fair, on the other hand an importantly distinct cost-internalisation-type basis for responsibility – that an agent’s being better or worse off than others in virtue of their own choice is just because others have entitlements against certain costs being imposed upon them. This distinction is illuminated by a debate in which issues of egalitarian responsibility figure prominently; namely the debate concerning procreative justice.</p> Gideon Elford Copyright (c) 2022 Gideon Elford 2023-03-26 2023-03-26 24 2 10.26556/jesp.v24i2.1504 In Search of a Stable Consensus <p>Rawls’s political turn is the result of his struggle with the problem of stability in his theory of justice. Rawls’s late solution uses the concept of public reason. It requires that the members of the well-ordered society should abide by a political conception of justice for shared public reasons, thus fostering an overlapping consensus. This solution has been criticized by post-Rawlsian scholars endorsing a Diversity-Convergence account of the stability problem. I complement Rawls’s model of public reason by arguing that the stability problem can be solved if members of the well-ordered society are community-based reasoners. This leads to a Wittgensteinian reinterpretation of the concept of public reason. This solution is only partial, however. At the bottom, stability without a minimal form of consensus is unlikely.</p> Cyril Hédoin Copyright (c) 2022 Cyril Hédoin 2023-03-26 2023-03-26 24 2 10.26556/jesp.v24i2.2494 The Purpose and Limits of Electoral Accountability <p>The standard theory of electoral accountability treats the electorate as an appraiser of government performance on a range of complex issues, which re-elects or de-elects depending on its evaluation of that performance. This paper draws from studies on voter knowledge and behaviour to present a dilemma for the standard theory: either voters do not know how well their rulers have performed, or if they do, they do not base their votes on that knowledge. It is shown that, on either horn of the dilemma, the standard account of electoral accountability fails, and that attempts to deflate the dilemma through heuristic and aggregative approaches to voter knowledge, or proposals for alternative systems of government, are also inadequate. The paper then sets out and defends an alternative conception of electoral accountability, which holds that electoral accountability is not about micro-assessing a government’s actions. Rather, it is about preventing political rulers from committing or allowing substantial harms to come upon those they govern. This alternative conception is compatible with a realistic view of voter knowledge and behaviour, but nonetheless makes electoral accountability an essential component of a well-functioning democratic system.</p> Finlay Malcolm Copyright (c) 2022 Finlay Malcolm 2023-03-26 2023-03-26 24 2 10.26556/jesp.v24i2.2241 Bare Statistical Evidence and the Right to Security <p>Courts and jurors sometimes refuse to assign liability to defendants on the basis of statistics alone, despite their apparent reliability. I argue that this refusal is best understood as a recognition of defendants’ right to security. Understood as a robust good in Philip Pettit’s sense, security requires that someone risking harm to others’ protected interests adopt a disposition of concern that controls against wrongfully harming them. Since trials risk harm, the state must adopt such a disposition. Statistics leave open the possibility of innocence and so wrongful harm in a way that the state cannot ignore; if it does use such statistics, it makes defendants wrongfully insecure. This explanation of the problem of bare statistical evidence is especially apt because security grounds the right to a fair trial and judicial procedural rights more generally.</p> N. P. Adams Copyright (c) 2022 N. P. Adams 2023-03-26 2023-03-26 24 2 10.26556/jesp.v24i2.1650