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Political Reconciliation and Transitional Justice

Religion & Transitional Justice,” Daedalus (Summer 2020), pp. 185-200.

This essay focuses on the roles of religion in transitional justice. I first consider the multiple and conflicting roles of religion during periods of conflict and repression. I then argue against conceptualizing transitional justice in a theologically grounded manner that emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. Finally, I discuss the prominent role that religious actors often play in processes of transitional justice. I close with the theoretical questions about authority and standing in transitional contexts that warrant further examination, questions that the roles of religious actors highlight. Thinking through the relationship between religion and democracy from the perspective of transitional justice is theoretically fruitful because it sheds more light on additional dimensions to the issue of authority than those scholars of liberal democracy have traditionally taken up.

On Principled Compromise,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. CXX (2020), pp. 47-70.

This paper discusses three common moral objections to processes of transitional justice, which I label shaking hands with the devil, selling victims short, and entrenching the status quo. Given the scale of wrongdoing and the context in which transitional justice processes are adopted, compromise is necessary. To respond to these objections, I argue, it is necessary to articulate the conditions that make a compromise principled. I defend three criteria that distinguish principled from unprincipled compromises.

Reconciliation,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),

This entry treats the topic of reconciliation in a manner that respects its significance across moral (viz. interpersonal and private), legal and political contexts. Many of the issues and debates that arise in the literature on reconciliation are relevant to each of these contexts. However, issues that are specific to political contexts, where the philosophical literature on reconciliation is most extensive, will receive special attention. Particular conceptions of reconciliation vary across a number of dimensions. As section 1 explains, the kind of relationship at issue in a specific context affects the type of improvement in relations that might be necessary in order to qualify as reconciliation. Reconciliation is widely taken to be a scalar concept. Section 2 discusses the spectrum of intensity along which kinds of improvement in relationships fall, and indicates why, in particular contexts, theorists often disagree about the point along this spectrum that is morally or politically most significant. Section 3 provides an overview of the processes commonly cited as contributing to reconciliation. These processes are often controversial; those praised by some commentators as appropriate and constructive responses to past conflict are dismissed by others as undermining the moral or political conditions for just and peaceful relations. Section 4 concentrates on the relationship between reconciliation and justice. While some see these values as compatible and mutually supporting, others argue that, especially in the wake of conflict, parties must often choose between reconciliation and justice.

#MeToo, Time's Up, and Theories of Justice,” University of Illinois Law Review, vol. 2019 (2019), pp. 45-111.

This article explores the meaning, utility, and complexities of restorative and transitional justice for dealing with sexual misconduct in the workplace. We begin by documenting the restorative origins of #MeToo as well as exploring steps taken, most prominently by Time’s Up, to amplify and credit survivors’ voices, seek accountability, change workplace practices, and encourage access to the legal system. We then take up the call for restorative justice by exploring its key components. We conclude by looking more broadly to the insights of transitional justice.

The Ethics of Diversity in Transitional Justice,” Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, vol. 16 (2018), pp. 821-836.

In transitional justice scholarship and practice, attention to diversity is prominent in four areas: the negotiation of the terms for a transition, the choice of transitional justice processes, the operation of transitional justice processes, and the evaluation of transitional justice processes. Three kinds of arguments are made in defense of diversity-based concerns. The first points to knowledge gained through the inclusion of diverse voices. The second highlights the ways in which attention to diversity can guard against the duplication of patterns of injustice. The third shows how diversity in the parties to the negotiation of a transition as well as in the selection, operation and evaluation of transitional justice processes satisfies demands of justice.

The Rule of Law, Democracy, and Obedience to Law,” Saint Louis University Law Journal, vol. 62 (2018), pp. 293-302.

This paper engages with the account of the rule of law defended by Paul Gowder in his book The Rule of Law in the Real World. Like all theories, Gowder’s account has a certain set of starting points and basic assumptions that orient his theory. I focus on two in particular: (a) framing the principle of generality as an egalitarian principle; (b) rejecting the claim that the rule of law requires obedience on the part of citizens.

International Criminal Trials and the Circumstances of Justice,” Criminal Law and Philosophy, vol. 12 (2018), pp. 575-585.

In this paper, I consider the role of international criminal trials in transitional justice. I argue that such trials may contribute to transitional justice, but such contributions are conditional on two main factors. The first factor is time. The second factor is what other transitional justice responses are adopted domestically.

State Amends for Lawful Harm Doing,” Oñati Socio-Legal Series, vol. 7, No. 3 (2017), pp. 547-568.

This essay explores the justifications for offering amends to victims of lawfully caused harm and the nature of amends in such contexts. In particular, we examine instances in which a state actor commits a grave, but lawful, harm to another, exploring why and how the state ought to respond to victims of lawful harm. This aspect of harm doing is often overlooked, but directly addressing the lawful harm that states cause is a vital part of an appropriate state response to having caused grave, though lawful, harm.

Political Reconciliation, the Rule of Law and Truces,” Journal of Global Ethics, vol. 13, No. 1 (2017), pp. 28-39.

This paper responds to Nir Eisikovits’ Theory of Truces. I argue that Eisikovits’ explanation of the contribution of truces to political reconciliation is too narrow; contrary to what he claims, truces can make an important contribution to the rule of law. I also argue that while there is an important present focus on immediate benefits from temporary measures, the future looms much larger than Eisikovits recognizes. Truces matter not only for what they make possible now, but also for their ramifications for prospects for future peace.

Transitional Justice: A Conceptual Map,” in Krushil Watene and Jay Drydyk (eds.), Theorizing Justice: Novel Insights and Future Directions (Rowman & Littlefield, July 2016), pp. 33-50.

I focus in this chapter on the following question: what are the appropriate standards of justice to use when evaluating various legal responses to wrongdoing in transitional contexts? I argue in this paper that to date there is no satisfactory answer to this question. After providing an overview of the pragmatic and moral challenges confronting transitional communities that explain why “ordinary” expectations of justice will not be satisfied, I critically discuss two general ways of conceptualizing transitional justice: as a compromise and as restorative justice. At the core of the limitations with compromise and restorative justice views is a failure to acknowledge the context-sensitive nature of claims of justice. The most promising theoretical route to explore is the idea that transitional justice is a distinctive kind of justice. However, this idea remains under-theorized and in need of greater conceptual clarification and articulation.

Political Reconciliation, Jus Post Bellum and Asymmetric Conflict,” Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, vol. 62, no. 4 (2015), pp. 43-59.

This article concentrates on asymmetrical civil war. My aim is to articulate some of the normative jus post bellum guidelines that should be followed in ending this kind of asymmetrical conflict, and the ideal of just peace that should inform the development of such guidelines. I argue that questions surrounding the just ending and aftermath of asymmetrical conflict should be answered relationally, that is by reference to the kind of relationship such efforts should seek to cultivate.

A Reply to Critics,” Criminal Law and Philosophy, DOI 10.1007/s11572-014-9295-4 (2014), pp. 1-13.

I reply to commentaries by Cindy Holder, Tracy Isaacs, and Alice MacLachlan on my book A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation. I first provide a brief background of the motivation for my project and an overview of the main theses that I defend over the course of my book. I then turn to three kinds of concerns raised by Holder, Isaacs, and MacLachlan. The first urges me to rethink the restriction of my analysis of political reconciliation to contexts of transition. The second challenges the particular way that I conceptualize the demands of reciprocity and respect for agency in political relationships. The final set turns to my analysis of the processes that can facilitate reconciliation.

Transitional Justice, Retributive Justice and Accountability for Wrongdoing,” in Claudio Corradetti, Nir Eisikovits and Jack Rotondi (eds.), Theorizing Transitional Justice (Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2015), pp. 59-68.

This paper provides a comparative analysis of retributive and transitional justice.

Jus Post Bellum and Political Reconciliation,” in Elizabeth Edenberg and Larry May (eds.), Jus Post Bellum and Transitional Justice (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 305-325.

We argue that that determination of the content of the responsibilities for just war reconstruction should be specified on the basis of the damage to relationships that needs to be repaired.

Political Reconciliation, Punishment and Grudge Informers,” in Alice MacLachlan and C.A. Speight (eds.), In the Wake of Conflict: Justice, Responsibility and Reconciliation (New York: Springer, 2013), pp. 117-132.

I argue that punishment of grudge informers may facilitate the creation of a just order by fostering some of the social and moral conditions that underpin that order.

Political Reconciliation and International Criminal Trials,” in Larry May (ed.), Philosophy and International Criminal Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 224-244.

I argue that international criminal trials can contribute to political reconciliation by fostering the social conditions required for law’s efficacy.

Political Reconciliation, the Rule of Law, and Genocide,” The European Legacy, vol. 12, no. 7 (2007), pp. 853-865.

I consider the possibility and moral justifiability of pursuing political reconciliation in the aftermath of systematic and egregious wrongdoing, in particular genocide. The first two sections discuss what political reconciliation specifically requires. I argue that it neither entails nor necessitates forgiveness, but should be conceptualized as the (re-)establishment of Fullerian mutual respect for the rule of law. The third section spells out the implications of my analysis for determining the possibility of achieving and the justifiability of pursuing political reconciliation.

Political reconciliation, the Rule of Law, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder,” in Nancy Nyquist Potter (ed.), Trauma, Truth, and Reconciliation: Healing Damaged Relationships (Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 83-110.

I discuss why one critical aspect of the process of political reconciliation involves the restoration of mutual respect for the rule of law and suggest that psychological research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) provides valuable resources for understanding how successfully to restore such mutual respect.

Lon Fuller and the Moral Value of the Rule of Law,” Law and Philosophy, vol. 24 (2005), pp. 239-262.

I defend Lon Fuller’s view that the rule of law has conditional non-instrumental as well as instrumental moral value. The rule of law is conditionally non-instrumentally valuable in virtue of how a legal system structures political relationships.

Ethics of Risk

Introduction to the Symposium on Sabine Roeser's Risk, Technology, and Moral Emotions,” Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 26 (2020), pp. 1887-1890.

This paper provides an overview of the book symposium I co-edited with Neelke Doorn. In this book symposium, three scholars respond to the monograph by philosophy professor Sabine Roeser (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands) Risk, Technology, and Moral Emotions (Routledge 2018).

Using opportunities in big data analytics to more accurately predict societal consequences of natural disasters,” Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems, vol. 36, no. 1 (2019), pp. 100-114.

This paper presents a probabilistic framework for using big data to assess and predict the well-being of individuals before and in the aftermath of a hazard. Data are used to inform a Capability Approach (CA) where capabilities are defined as important dimensions of well-being reflecting what individuals have a genuine opportunity to do or become. The paper also addresses three of the grand challenges presented by big data: privacy, source validity, and accuracy.

Understanding Engineers’ Responsibilities: A Prerequisite to Designing Engineering Education,” Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 25 (2019), pp. 1817-1820.

The development of the curriculum for engineering education should be based on a comprehensive understanding of engineers’ responsibilities. This paper looks at what those responsibilities are and some of the implications of globalization for these responsibilities.

Societal Risk and Resilience Analysis: Dynamic Bayesian Network Formulation of a Capability Approach,” ASCE Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, vol. 5, no. 1 (2019), pp. 04018046-1-12 .

This paper aims to explore how insights from the philosophical and social science literature can be incorporated into the definition of resilient infrastructure so that considerations of social justice can be accounted for and addressed more adequately.

A Multidisciplinary Definition and Evaluation of Resilience: The Role of Social Justice in Defining Resilience Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure,” Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, vol. 4, no. 3 (2019), pp. 112-123.

This paper aims to explore how insights from the philosophical and social science literature can be incorporated into the definition of resilient infrastructure so that considerations of social justice can be accounted for and addressed more adequately.

A Reliability-based Capability Approach,” Risk Analysis, vol. 38, no. 2 (2018), pp. 410-424

This article proposes a rigorous mathematical approach, named a reliability-based capability approach (RCA), to quantify the societal impact of a hazard.

Society-based design: promoting societal well-being by designing sustainable and resilient infrastructure,” Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, vol. 5, no. 1-2 (2018), pp. 4-19

This paper introduces sustainability and resilience as two of the most important characteristics of infrastructure, in terms of addressing societal needs, and presents some of the engineering tools for the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

Nuclear Power, Capability Approach and the Developing World,” in Behnam Taebi and Sabine Roeser (eds.), Ethics of Nuclear Power: Risk, Justice and Democracy in the post-Fukushima Era (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 216-230.

This chapter evaluates the promise and peril of nuclear energy for developing countries and for assessing different nuclear technologies that might be available now or in the future. The proposed framework has at its core a concern for individual capabilities. Our framework considers the costs, benefits, and risks associated with the use of nuclear energy to enhance development.

A Scale of Risk,” Risk Analysis, vol. 34, no. 7 (2014), pp. 1208-1227.

This article proposes a conceptual framework for ranking the relative gravity of diverse risks. A scale of risk is proposed to categorize risks along a multidimensional ranking, based on a comparative evaluation of the consequences, probability, and source of a given risk.

The Responsibilities of Engineers,” Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 20, no. 2 (2014), pp. 519-538.

This paper focuses on the ethical responsibilities of engineers qua engineers and shows how the idea of a practice is important for identifying and justifying such responsibilities.

Design, Risk and Capabilities,” in Jeroen van den Hoven and Illse Oosterlaken (eds.), Human Capabilities, Technology, and Design (Dordrecht: Springer, 2012), pp. 173-188.

This chapter proposes a capability approach to design, herein called capability-based design. We argue that capabilities provide the requisite framework for conceptualizing consequences in risk assessment, evaluation, and management. Finally, a capability approach to design offers concrete guidance to engineers making design choices and balancing competing design constraints.

The Capability Approach in Risk Analysis,” in Sabine Roeser (ed.), Handbook on Risk Theory (Dordrecht: Springer, 2011), pp. 979-997.

This chapter examines the reciprocal contributions of a capability approach and risk theory.

Evaluating the Source of the Risks Associated with Natural Events,” Res Publica, vol. 17, no. 2 (2011), pp. 125-140.

Within philosophy there has been little discussion of the risks associated with natural events such as earthquakes. The first objective of this paper is to demonstrate why such risks should be the subject of more sustained philosophical interest. The second objective of this paper is to identify and develop a framework for the moral evaluation of the source of the risks associated with natural events, or the actions which sustain and impact such risks.

Classification and Moral Evaluation of Uncertainties in Engineering Modeling,” Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 17, no. 3 (2011), pp. 553-570.

This paper defines the different stages of the modeling process in engineering, classifies the various sources of uncertainty that arise in each stage, and discusses the categories into which these uncertainties fall. The paper then puts forward nine guidelines for the treatment of uncertainty in engineering modeling.

Gauging the Societal Impacts of Natural Disasters Using a Capabilities-based Approach,” Disasters: The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy, and Management, vol. 34, no. 3 (2010), pp. 619-636.

This paper develops a Disaster Impact Index (DII) to gauge the societal impact of disasters on the basis of the changes in individuals’ capabilities. The DII can be interpreted as the disaster impact per capita.

Assessing Capability Instead of Achieved Functionings in Risk Analysis,” Journal of Risk Research, vol. 13, no. 2 (2010), pp. 137-147.

This paper argues that in risk analysis the consequences of hazardous scenarios should be conceptualized in terms of capabilities, not achieved functionings. The paper proposes a method for assessing capabilities, which considers the levels of achieved functionings of other individuals with similar boundary conditions. The capability of an individual can then be captured statistically based on the variability of the achieved functionings over the considered population.

A Capabilities-based Approach to Measuring the Societal Impacts of Natural and Man-made Hazards in Risk Analysis,” American Society of Civil Engineers Natural Hazards Review, vol. 10 no.2 (2009), pp. 29-37.

This paper presents a Capabilities-based Approach to identifying and quantifying the expected overall societal impact of natural hazards in engineering risk analysis. A general methodology is discussed for practically implementing the proposed approach to quantifying the expected societal impact, modeled on the framework currently used by the United Nations to assess the level of development of societies around the world.

Recovery from Natural and Man-made Disasters as Capabilities Restoration and Enhancement,” International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, vol. 3, no. 4 (2008), pp. 317-333.

We propose a Capabilities-based Approach to disaster recovery and argue that it provides important theoretical resources for conceptualizing and promoting the ideal of sustainability in practice.

The Acceptability and the Tolerability of Societal Risks: A Capabilities-based Approach,” Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 14, no. 1 (2008), pp.77-92.

We describe and justify a Capabilities-based Approach to the acceptability and tolerability of the risks posed by natural hazards, where the likely impact of a hazard on individuals’ capabilities is compared against two separate thresholds of capabilities.

Determining Public Policy and Resource Allocation Priorities for Mitigating Natural Hazards: A Capabilities-based Approach,” Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 13, no. 4 (2007), pp. 489-504.

We present a Capabilities-based Approach to hazard mitigation which takes into account the acceptability and tolerability of risks and the likely affectability of various policy options and mitigation strategies.

The Role of Society in Engineering Risk Analysis: A Capabilities-based Approach,” Risk Analysis, vol. 26 no. 4 (2006), pp. 1073-1083.

We propose a new conceptual framework to account for the net societal impact of hazards in engineering risk analysis. In a Capabilities-based Approach, the potential benefits and losses due to a hazard are measured and compared in a uniform way by using individual capabilities (functionings individuals are able, still able, or unable to achieve) as a metric.

General Political and Legal Philosophy

Differentiating Moral Duties: a Response to ‘Valuing Foreign Lives,’” 2015 University of Illinois Law Review Slip Opinions, vol. 2015, no. 1 (2015), pp. 5-11.

Should democratic governments place a value on life? If so, should the valuation of foreign lives be the same as the valuation of domestic lives? This Article examines the profound moral issues present when assigning quantitative value to human life in response to Rowell and Wexler. Starting with the assumption that all lives, domestic or foreign, have equal, intrinsic moral value, this Article argues that a justification for disparate life valuations between foreign and domestic lives are a result of the long-recognized difference between act and omission, between imposing a harm on another and failing to render aid. Using the current philosophical debate surrounding the scope of global distributive justice principles as a backdrop, this Article highlights the morally salient distinctions among the various duties we have towards individuals.