Reparations, Responsibility, and Formalism: A Reply to Carnes
5 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2021
Date Written: July 1, 2020
In a recent paper, Thomas Carnes develops a novel argument for reparations for historical injustices, like American slavery. He argues that reparations may be permissible, even if we grant that contemporary people did not cause those injustices and should not be made to pay for injustices they did not commit. On Carnes's view, the State, which is non-identical with its citizenry, should be made to pay. This Reply shows that Carnes succeeds only at the cost of invoking an implausible formalism. The Reply also presents in brief a simpler argument for reparations.
Keywords: Attributive responsibility, Cost-spreading, Formalism, Functionalism, Reparations. Substantive responsibility
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