«СТАВРОПОЛЬСКИЙ АЛЬМАНАХ РОССИЙСКОГО ОБЩЕСТВА ИНТЕЛЛЕКТУАЛЬНОЙ ИСТОРИИ Выпуск 13 Ставрополь УДК 943 ББК 63.3 (2) С 76 Редакционная коллегия: А.В. Гладышев, Т.А. Булыгина, В.П. Ермаков, ...»
(According to phenomenological reduction): everything transcendent (everything not given immanently to me) is to be assigned the index of zero, that is, its existence, its validity is not to be assumed as such, except as at most the phenomenon of validity. I may have recourse to the sciences only as phenomena, and therefore not as systems of valid truths, or as premises, or even as hypotheses that I could use as points of departure – for instance, the whole of psychology or the whole of the natural sciences. (Husserl 1907/1999: 63-64).
This definition says: when we investigate the mind in a phenomenological manner, we must be especially careful not to be influenced by our common sense opinions and scientific convictions about the mind. In the course of phenomenological research we must – as the saying goes – «put into brackets»
all of these. Only in this way can we focus on the intrinsic characteristics of the subject’s experience – that is, on those characteristics which characterize the experience of the subject from the point of view of the subject.
But to focus on the experience is not enough in itself. The phenomenology of mind is not about describing particular experiences from the point of view of the subject, but is about revealing the phenomenological nature of certain types of experience. This distinguishes phenomenology from mere introspection. For example in the case of visual experience the phenomenological analysis should not be like: «this thing appears to me visually in such-and-such a way and that other thing in such-and-such a way» but rather it has to reveal the essential phenomenological characteristics of visual experience itself. It has to reveal those phenomenological marks, which are shared by every visual experience, and which at the same time distinguish visual experience from all other kinds of experience. In short: it has to reveal the inherent and distinctive phenomenological marks of visual experience. This research process is called in the phenomenological literature eidetic phenomenology – or, to use an expression with not-too-fortunate connotations
– Wesenschau. As Husserl put it:
Phenomenological psychology in this manner undoubtedly must be established as an «eidetic phenomenology»; it is then exclusively directed toward the invariant essential forms. For instance, the phenomenology of perception of bodies will not be (simply) a report on the factually occurring perceptions or those to be expected; rather it will be the presentation of invariant structural systems without which perception of a body and a synthetically concordant multiplicity of perceptions of one and the same body as such would be unthinkable. (Husserl 1929/1997: 165).
To summarize these two methodological principles of phenomenology,
built on each other:
If the phenomenological reduction contrived a means of access to the phenomenon of real and also potential inner experience, the method founded in it of «eidetic reduction» provides the means of access to the invariant essential structures of the total sphere of pure psychical process. (Husserl 1929/1997: 165).
What is the relation between the phenomenological essence-oriented classification of mental experiences and the folk psychological classification of mental entities (like bodily sensations, moods, emotions, perceptual experiences, etc.)? I think the following: the folk psychological classification of mental entities is all right from a phenomenological point of view. It is rather sketchy, but not fundamentally mistaken. Furthermore I think that the folk psychological classification of mental entities is proper and satisfying, because the types of mental entities it distinguishes really do have
– inherent and distinctive – phenomenological traits. In other words: the folk psychological classification of mental entities fundamentally reflects phenomenological differences between these entities, which all of us experience in the course of our mental life.
Thus, if there is a view which I, as a phenomenologist, must reject, it is the view of the later Wittgenstein; what he wants to say with the «private language argument» (Wittgenstein 1953: 243-315.§.). One of the intended conclusions of the private language argument is that the identity of sensations are partly constituted by the rules of language use. Wittgenstein so argues (surely his argument is wrong – see Ayer 1985: 74-77, Robinson 1994: 91that without a firmly established linguistic practice we wouldn’t be able to identify our different bodily sensations. Wittgenstein’s «picture» of language thus suggests that when we try to define the different types of experience, we should give priority to folk psychological practice over phenomenology.
I don’t have conclusive arguments against the Wittgenstein an approach.
But nor do I believe that such arguments are possible. I think that in this case – as in most cases of priority issue – we could argue only in a circular way. I say: the folk psychological classification of mental entities reflects phenomenological facts; it classifies mental entities in the way it does, because the types of mental entities in question have just those inherent and distinctive phenomenological marks as they do. The Wittgenstein an says: it appears to you that the different types of mental entities have suchand-such inherent and distinctive phenomenological marks, because they are classified by folk psychology in such a way as they are. Which is prior, phenomenology or folk psychology? For me it is trivially phenomenology, for the Wittgenstein an it is trivially folk psychology. I believe that the Wittgenstein an is in error, he believes that I am.
2. The prevailing metaphysical theories of mind in analytic philosophy Most of the prevailing metaphysical theories of mind in analytic philosophy do not care about phenomenological facts. They establish their views on the nature of the mind in such a way that they ignore the phenomenology of mind.
The slight of phenomenology is perhaps best illustrated by the dispute on mental causation over the last 40-45 years or so. The debate on mental causation is briefly the following. (1) It is our natural conviction that the mind is a causally efficacious entity: mental events can cause physical events. (2)
According to the natural sciences the physical world is causally closed:
physical events have sufficient physical causes. (3) It is plausible to suppose that there is some difference between causally relevant and irrelevant properties of causes. (4) Therefore, mental properties are identical to neurophysiological (physical) properties. In broad outlines this is the argument for type-identity (Lewis 1966, Armstrong 1968). (5) However, due to multiple realizability, typeidentity is empirically implausible: it is implausible to think that pain in a human and in an octopus is realized by the same type of neurophysiological states (Putnam 1967/1991). (6) One possible solution: let’s not identify mental properties with physical properties; rather let’s claim that mental properties supervene (globally or locally) on physical properties. (7) But if we do not identify mental properties with physical properties, then – given the exclusion argument (Kim 1989/1993), which presupposes (3) – we must either accept epiphenomenalism (which we don’t want at all, because of (1)), or else must say that mental and physical properties jointly over determine their physical effect, some overt action, which is again implausible.
Similarly simply put, the following strategies have been devised to circumvent the above problems. Some (like Davidson 1970/1980, 1993) deny that we have to distinguish the causally relevant and irrelevant properties of a cause, and argue that it is the only way to evade the exclusion argument and also maintain (1). Others (like Lewis 1972/2004) claim that multiple realizability is not a conclusive objection to the type-identity theory, because we must identify mental and physical (neurophysiological) properties within species. Still others (like Jackson 1998: 1. chapter) argue that we don’t need the type-identity theory in order to maintain the causal efficacy of mental properties: mental and physical properties are different, but the latter necessarily determine the former. Yet again others (like Shoemaker 2001, 2007) hold that not every kind of over determination is wrong; they distinguish between redundant and non-redundant over determination, and argue that with the latter we can solve the problem of mental causation which does not have any of the above defects.
I won’t carry on, for it should be clear that phenomenological considerations do not appear in the main premises of the contemporary debates about mental causation. (This debate has about as much to do with phenomenology as the debate about perdurantism-exdurantism-endurantism, or the especially sexy problem of the existence of arbitrarily detached parts.) The simple fact is that the participants of this debate consider exclusively the property of the mind (of mental events) that it is able to exert a causal influence in the world, and they make their standpoint on the question of such a great importance as the relation between «mental» and «physical»
on the basis of the analysis of this one property of the mind.
Of course one could say that our natural conviction that the mind has causal influence on the world really does have phenomenological roots, and to this extent the different theories of mental causation are all about the phenomenological mind. I have to admit that the question is a little bit more complicated than that. For it is really a phenomenological fact that the mind is able to cause things in the world, given the fact that our conscious actions do have a phenomenology (we experience our conscious acts.). However, the phenomenology of our conscious actions does not show – what is presupposed by all the participants of the debate – that in the course of the action a mental event causes a non-mental (physical) event. Rather it shows that the subject itself (or rather the body of the subject, the body as the subject experiences it) causes it. Thus the subject itself (or her experienced body) is the relatum of the causal relation, not some event in her mind. So metaphysically or ontologically the real cause is a different kind of thing.
Thus (although I’m not totally sure of it), the phenomenology of conscious acts rather fits with a metaphysics of agent-causation (Taylor 1966: chapter 8-9, Chisholm 1976, O’ Connor 2000: chapter 3-4), but this type of metaphysics is almost universally rejected by contemporary philosophers.
Almost all contemporary philosophers think about these problems in terms of event-event relations without questioning it.
Of course, not only the metaphysical theories of mental causation have ignored phenomenology, and are about something other than the experiencing mind, but generally most of the philosophical theories of mind in analytic philosophy. As far as I can see, neither logical behaviourism, regarding mental entities as behavioural dispositions (Ryle 1949), nor functionalism, individuating the types of mental entities in a causal way (Putnam, 1967/1991, Fodor 1968, Harman 1973), nor eliminativism (Rorty, 1979; chapter 2., Paul Churchland 1981/1991, Stich 1983, Patricia Churchland 1986) or fictionalism (Dennett 1971), or the causal (Fodor, 1987) and teleological (Millikan, 1984) theories of intentionality have anything to do with the phenomenology of mind, not to mention the theories of cognitive science, such as computationalism (Pylyshyn
1984) and connectionism (Clark, 1989). They have nothing to do with what it is for the subject to experience, and how things are given, how they appear for the subject from a subjective point of view. The object of the aforementioned theories is simply not the phenomenological or experiencing mind, but something else.
3. The metaphysics of the phenomenological mind What I mean by the metaphysics of the phenomenological mind is the metaphysics of facts revealed by the phenomenology of mind. Unlike the prevailing metaphysical views in analytic philosophy, the metaphysics of the phenomenological mind does not have to fit our common sense or scientific beliefs about the mind, which are alien or independent of the phenomenology of mind (such as the causal closure of the physical world), but has to conform to the phenomenological facts about the mind.
Make no mistake. I do not merely say that a metaphysics of phenomenological mind must take phenomenological facts seriously. More precisely: I do not merely say that beside other respects, phenomenological respects has to be considered too, just because it is not right that a metaphysical theory of mind is phenomenologically implausible. I am not just saying what, for instance, John Searle says: «You cannot say anything that is phenomenologically false» (2005: 335). Seeing it in this way, the phenomenology of mind would only have a restrictive role – it would merely serve to rule out certain phenomenologically implausible theories. I make a much stronger claim: the phenomenology of mind delivers the phenomenological facts about the mind, and the metaphysics of the phenomenological mind is the metaphysics of these delivered phenomenological facts.
I do not contend that contemporary analytic philosophers are not doing phenomenology in a restrictive sense. For instance, the transparency argument (Harman 1990/1997, Tye 1995, 2000) against sense-datum theory (and non-intentional qualia theory), or the inverted spectrum argument (Block-Fodor 1972) or inverted earth argument (Block 1997) against functionalism are phenomenological types of arguments. Such arguments aim to show that the theories in question are unacceptable, because they cannot account for certain phenomenological features of our experience.
I want to say the following. Take functionalism. It’s quite clear that functionalism is not a phenomenologically motivated theory, because it individuates mental events with their relational (causal-functional) properties.
In other words: it takes these relational properties to be the essential properties of mental events, and not their intrinsic (phenomenological) characteristics.
Since then opponents of functionalism have raised many objections to functionalism, some of which happen to be phenomenological. In this context phenomenological facts were not brought up with the aim to develop a comprehensive metaphysics which fits with these facts, but rather were just brought up – like I said before – as certain respects among many to argue against functionalism. It is this sort of thing that I have in mind when I say that phenomenology usually has a mere restrictive role in analytic philosophy.
Let’s see now the metaphysics of phenomenological mind at work! In the next two sections I want to show how it may work through some examples.
4. First illustration: phenomenology and the metaphysical theories of mind Suppose that complete phenomenology establishes that every mental event is directed at something and every mental event has the characteristic of what it is like for the subject. (If you protest against «complete phenomenology», then please also protest against «complete physics»!) Thus contrary to the orthodoxy of separatism, every mental event (including bodily sensations, moods and feelings) is intentional and every mental event (including thought processes) is phenomenally conscious.
Suppose also that complete phenomenology establishes that the relation between these two aspects of mental events is not contingent, but necessary.
That is, it is not the case that a mental event is directed at something due to a certain property and has the characteristic of what it is like for the subject due to a certain other property. Hence it’s false that the mind instantiates two different and independently existing properties, and that it is possible for the mind to instantiate only one of them, although as a matter of fact it instantiates both.
I think that based on this insight of complete phenomenology, we can refute the knowledge argument (Jackson 1982, 1986/1997) and the conceivability argument (Chalmers 1996) for qualia-based property dualism.
I begin with the knowledge argument. Suppose that from her birth Mary lives in a black-and-white room, and acquires knowledge of the external world from a black-and-white TV screen and black-and-white books. (For the sake of the thought-experiment we could also assume that there are no mirrors in Mary’s room, that her skin is white, her hair is black, that she does not cut herself and she does not menstruate.) Otherwise Mary is a super scientist: in her black-and-white room she learns every relevant physical facts (complete physics) about human vision. She learns the physics of light, the optics of the eye, the anatomy and neurophysiology of the whole visual system. In short: Mary knows every physical fact about human vision. Now suppose that one day Mary is released from her black-and-white room. She then sees a red tomato and exclaims: «Hurray, now I know what it is like to see red!».
That’s the thought-experiment, now comes the argument. The supposition was that in her black-and-white room Mary knows every relevant physical fact about human vision. However when she left her room, she learned something new, something which she did not know before – namely, what it is like to see red. Now, since (1) Mary knew every physical fact about human vision, and since (2) after she left her room she has learned something new about human vision, it follows that her prior physical knowledge was not complete. Therefore, physicalism is false, because not all facts are physical.
What sort of mind-body theory does the knowledge argument imply?
The answer is: Qualia-based property dualism. For the intended conclusion of the argument that there are non-physical facts should be understood as the claim that the mind instantiates non-physical properties. (This conforms to the standard definition of «fact» according to which a fact is a particular’s property instantiation.) That is: the quale of redness, which Mary gets to know upon leaving her room is not a physical property.
How can we argue against the knowledge argument based on thesis of complete phenomenology seen above? This way: the knowledge argument implies property dualism which is a kind of epiphenomenalism. Since if (1) the causal closure of the physical world is true, that is, if every action has a sufficient physical cause (and the argument does not question this), and if (2) phenomenal properties are not physical properties – which the argument intends to prove – then phenomenal properties are causally inert.
This sort of epiphenomenalism is possible only if we separate the intentionality and phenomenal character of mental events. That is, only if we say that intentional properties are physical (which they must be, because they have causal efficacy), but phenomenal properties are causally inert (which they must be, because they are not physical). But since complete phenomenology has shown that there is a necessary connection between intentional and phenomenal properties, the knowledge argument which treats them separately is unacceptable from a phenomenological perspective.
The conceivability argument stands in even starker opposition to the thesis of complete phenomenology than the knowledge argument. Here is the conceivability argument: we can conceive zombies. These creatures are our perfect physical duplicates (they have the same physical properties we do), which have exactly the same intentional properties we do, but they live their mental life in complete „darkness”. When the traffic light switches to red, seeing it the zombie brakes like you or me. When the zombie sips from a tepid coffee he tuts like you or me. When the zombie is stung he shouts like you or me. It’s just that for the zombie there is no such thing as seeing red, no such thing as tasting coffee, no such thing as feeling pain.
Now since (1) everything that is consistently conceivable is metaphysically possible, and since (2) zombies are consistently conceivable, it follows that zombies are metaphysically possible. But if zombies are metaphysically possible, then physicalism is false, because not all mental properties necessarily supervene on physical properties – given the metaphysical possibility of creatures which have the same physical properties we do, yet do not have phenomenal properties we do.
The majority of contemporary analytic philosophers reject premise (1), saying:
from the consistent conceivability of zombies no way follows the metaphysical possibility of zombies. From the perspective of complete phenomenology premise (2) is to be rejected. According to complete phenomenology zombies cannot be consistently conceived, because it would require the separation of the intentional and phenomenal properties of mental events. That is something we cannot do, given the necessary connection between them.
5. Second illustration: phenomenology and the metaphysical theories of perception Suppose that complete phenomenology shows that our perceptual experience has two basic phenomenological characteristics. One is that in perceptual experience the things which we are aware of (that is: the objects we perceive) are transcendent, or exist independently of our actual perceptual experience. The other is that in perceptual experience the way in which (intentional) objects are given to us – as opposed to other kinds of intentional events – is robust, presentative, not just representative.
«Conjoining» these two phenomenological characteristics of perceptual experience, this is what we get: from a phenomenological perspective, in perceptual experience things that exist independently of our actual perceptual experiences (transcendent entities) are presented to us. To put it in another way, and perhaps more vividly: the qualitative feature of our perceptual experience is experienced in the world outside, on the perceived mindindependent/transcendent object itself. When we perceive a red tomato, for instance, we experience the way it appears to us outside, on the mindindependent/transcendent red tomato itself. To use a slogan: from a phenomenological perspective in the case of perceptual experiences «qualia ain’t in the head» (Byrne – Tye 2006).
We could also put it this way: perceptual experience consists of mental events whose qualitative features are experienced on entities that exist independently of our actual perceptual experiences, outside in the world. This peculiar phenomenology is the distinctive mark of perceptual experience. These phenomenological characteristics are what distinguish perceptual experience from other types of mental events: thinking, feeling, moods, bodily sensation, after-images and their ilk. These two phenomenological characteristics belong exclusively to perceptual experience. These two characteristics define the inherent and distinctive mark of perceptual experience. It follows from all of this that if some mental event does not have both phenomenological
characteristics, then it is not a perceptual experience, but something else:
thinking, mood, bodily sensation, or maybe even after-image.
How can the metaphysics of perception be connected to these phenomenological facts? By taking this phenomenology at face value and by raising the question in the following form: what kind of metaphysics must we accept in order for the subject to have the perceptual experience with this phenomenology which she has? It has to be downright Kantian, because it must reveal the transcendental conditions of possibility of the phenomenological characteristics of perceptual experience.
What must we claim? We must claim that the perceived mind-independent object and its properties «shape the outline of the subject’s conscious experience» (Martin 2004: 64), where «shaping» is to be understood not in the causal sense, but in the sense that the perceptual experience’s phenomenal character depends constitutively on the nature of the perceived object.
Consequently, the metaphysical theory which takes at face value the phenomenological characteristics of perceptual experience is externalist; it individuates perceptual experiences relationally. Still, it differs considerably from the standard Putnam/Burge type of externalism (Putnam 1975, 1988, Burge 1979, 1986). For contrary to their version, this externalism is rooted in the phenomenology of perceptual experience. This externalism is based not on the traditional Twin-Earth arguments, but on the phenomenological facts. Accordingly, we have to individuate broadly/relationally the content of our perceptual experience because phenomenology dictates us to do so.
From a phenomenological perspective, in our perceptual experience things existing independently of our experiences are presented to us; we experience the qualitative features of our perceptual experiences in the world outside.
Let’s not stop! Two more things clearly follow. If the phenomenologically plausible metaphysical theory of perception must be externalist, which has to state that the phenomenology of perceptual experience is constituted partly by the properties of the perceived object, then this metaphysical theory must reject the thesis of local supervenience, according to which the phenomenology of mental states is determined only by the subject’s inner states. The phenomenologically plausible theory of perception is only compatible with the thesis of global supervenience.
Furthermore, because it is metaphysically possible that there are hallucinations which are from a subjective perspective indistinguishable from veridical perceptual experience, and because from a phenomenological perspective veridical perceptual experience are to be individuated broadly/relationally, therefore, the phenomenologically plausible theory of perception must say that veridical perceptual experiences are a different type of mental event than the hallucinations which are indistinguishable from them, given that by definition they are not relations to mindindependent/transcendent objects. It must therefore commit itself to the disjunctive theory of perception (Tzsr 2005, 2009).
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PROS AND CONS FOR RESOURCES AND CAPABILITIES
IntroductionThe concept of well-being is one of the most interpreted topics in economics and political theory. What society or policy decision makers think about the notion of well-being in general can influence policy decisions about distribution of material resources, common goods or creating institutions.
Consequently these beliefs about what matters as well-being can seriously affect policy decisions and the society’s everyday-life.
In order to say something about the structure of society and about different social groups policy makers have to make interpersonal comparisons and say something about the well-being level of these groups. They have to compare people in different situations in society and on different scales of well-being.
Therefore policy makers have to decide on what level and in what dimensions are these people or social groups different. Policy making needs a scale to decide which people are worse off or better off. For instance: am I better off than my neighbor? Are pensioners worst off than unemployed young people? This scale, which is the base for interpersonal comparison, I call later in my paper the metric of social advantages or the metric of well-being. In my paper I compare two – nowadays most influential – ideas about these metrics in political theory, namely: resourcism (Dworkin 2000), and capabilities (Sen 1999).
I start my examination by our two very basic moral intuitions. The first insight is that in society everybody should be treated equally and every member in a society should be equally well-off in some respect. Therefore I will study these concepts of metrics in an egalitarian framework. I accept egalitarianism only for the sake of the argumentation and not because there egalitarian arguments are the most convincing1.
I start my examination in the first chapter by introducing the concept of resources by Dworkin (Dworkin 2000). Dworkin has the most comprehensive theory about resources; however thinking in a resourcist framework has several explanations in social sciences, especially in economics. Then I in the second chapter I examine the capability approach and take into consideration Dworkin’s criticism against it. In the summary I compare the handicaps and advantages of the concepts and conclude that although capability approach contains more information about well-being, the concept misses such instruments like the insurance market by Dworkin ________________________
There are other patterns in the literature also: prioritarianism (Parfit 1997) or sufficientarianism (Frankfurt 1987).
to equalize justice in society. But both concepts have important implication to applied sciences like economics, political economics or political science.
Resources The concept of resources by Dworkin Dworkin’s concept is the most well-known theory about social advantages as resources in the literature. Resourcist theorists state that the metric of interpersonal comparison is privately owned resources2. These resources are impersonal goods, such as natural assets or manufactured properties. If we are egalitarian, we can say that no one should be able to have more resources than any other individuals. We can even state this claim in market values: no individual should possess resources with higher market value than those available by other individuals.
The fact that resources are impersonal has an important role in Dworkin’s theory. He states that personal endowments or tastes are not a basis for interpersonal comparison. All that matters is the envy-test: the distribution is just if nobody prefers any other individual’s resource bundle to her own3.
In Dworkin’s words: «No division of resources is an equal division if, once the division is complete, any immigrant would prefer someone else’s bundle of resources to his own bundle» (Dworkin 2000, 67).
To satisfy the envy-test a simple equal distribution of impersonal resources is not enough. Dworkin has two arguments for this. First of all, this is because in practice the resources can not always be distributed equally. With a very simple example: there are fewer domestic animals around than people. The second argument reveals a shortcoming of the simple envy-test: even if nobody envies any other bundle of goods, some citizens may be unsatisfied with the distribution. If everybody has exactly the same package of goods – for instance: the same amount of oranges and apples –, obviously nobody can envy any other bundle because everybody has the same. But still there may be citizens who are unsatisfied because they hate oranges. They are not envying any other apple-orange bundle, but they would prefer a different distribution: a bundle of just apples4.
According to Dworkin commonly owned resources are a question of equal political power and not equality of resources (Dworkin 2000).
However we connect Dworkin’s name to the envy-test in contemporary literature, as far as I know the first framing of some kind of envy-test was done by an economist called Hal R.Varian (Varian 1974).
Obviously the person who hates oranges could trade his oranges into apples after the initial distribution. But in this trade he would be handicapped, because it can happen that nobody prefers oranges to apples so he is just not able to trade his oranges.
Dworkin’s suggestion to solve this shortcoming of the envy-test is a hypothetical auction. Let’s assume a situation where shipwrecked people get on an island. There is very little chance of being rescued soon, so the wrecked society faces the task of distributing the resources of the island and start the economy. But instead of allocating the goods equally among the individuals (which is anyway almost impossible as we have seen before) they organize an auction. Everybody gets the same amount of clamshells and they can bid for goods offered in the auction.
In the auction every distinct item on the island is a subject for distribution.
But the items also can be split if someone informs the leader of the auction. For instance: the land itself is part of the auction but it can be divided into different parts if the citizens would want it. Then the auctioneer proposes a set of prices.
If there is only one purchaser for an item at these prices then the prices clear the market. This process is repeated until nobody is envying any other’s bundle, and everybody is satisfied. Now, as Dworkin writes: «No one will envy another’s set of purchases because, by hypothesis, he could have purchased that bundle with his clamshells instead of his own bundle» (Dworkin 2000, 68).
Obviously this auction is hypothetical and not a real one, like in the case of the original position by Rawls (Rawls 1971).
What is the difference between the auction described by Dworkin where everybody starts with the same amount of seashell, and a simple market mechanism, where everybody has the same amount of goods and they can freely exchange goods between each other? Although Dworkin does not answer exactly this question, in my opinion there is a well-defined important distinction here: the value of the seashell is equivalent (technically equally zero), but the value of goods differs from type to type and also according to the owners marginal rate of substitution. So probably the result would be different from an auction with seashells and from a free-trade market mechanism starting with equal resources.
But even if the envy-test is satisfied and the auction was successful, we still face a problem with fair distribution of goods. Because after the auction people are left alone with their resources and they start to produce and trade with more or less success. Inequalities occur and the envy-test would shortly fail because the less successful people would desire the more successful people’s bundle. I think this is the point, where the question of responsibility comes into the theory. From a moral point of view there is a difference between the following situations: if somebody is hardworking and gains more wealth than others, or just get lucky and wins the lottery. Also there is something different between people who are lazy and are wasting their money and between people who are hardworking but have bad luck with production.
And the difference is the responsibility for their success.
One solution in Dworkin’s theory about the differences in pattern is the second step of the envy-test. If somebody is hard-working (and lucky in some way) – like Adrian in Dworkin’s example – and after the equal distribution he can produce more wealth than others. The envy-test seems to fail, because the others would envy Adrian’s bigger amount of goods.
But at this point Dworkin introduces the second step of the test: the envytest is now valid both for the impersonal resources and for ambitions and life-style. Would other people envy Adrian’s resource and hard-working ambitions together? Well, I agree with Dworkin, generally the answer is no. And because Adrian is liable for the resulting differences in outcomes, then it are a result of option luck, therefore it is just. This feature of Dworkin’s theory is called ambition-sensitivity.
To solve the problem about responsibility, Dworkin makes a distinction between option luck and brute luck. Option luck is a calculated, perceived luck, like playing the lottery. In Dworkin’s words: «Option luck is a matter of how deliberate and calculated gambles turn out» (Dworkin 2000, 73).
But brute luck is the result of some unforeseen happening, «is a matter of how risks fall out that are not in that sense deliberate gambles» (Dworkin 2000, 73). In my opinion, the distinction is clear theoretically, although Dworkin himself admits that it is just a matter of degree.
Both option luck and brute luck can have an effect on the distribution of resources. I think the distinction is important from two perspectives. First, we have the moral intuition that society has to compensate for the misfortune from the brute luck, but it is not necessary to have to compensate for the miserable situation resulting from option luck. For instance: we do not compensate people who were gambling away their money on poker. Second and this is Dworkin’s argument: we are not allowed to take away the resources from the winners in option luck to compensate the losers because in that case nobody would choose a risk-taking life and for Dworkin this case is too paternalistic.
Dworkin claims that the solution to the problem how to compensate the result of brute luck is a fair insurance market. It is a hypothetical insurance market where citizens can buy insurance for brute luck. Therefore they can transform brute luck into option luck. For instance: if I buy insurance for car accidents, then I am secure against that brute luck, because I will be compensated in case of accident. Thus the brute luck becomes option luck. I can even have «bad option luck» – although the notion sounds weird
– if I was buying the insurance against car accidents for nothing, but I did not have a car accident in my whole life.
The insurance market is setting the prices of the insurance so it is capable of reflecting the different risk-sensitivity of people. With Williams and
(Dworkin) argues bad brute luck should be redressed to the extent required to mimic the operation of counterfactual insurance market in which equally wealthy individuals, aware only of the distribution of luck rather than their personal fortunes, purchase coverage against suffering relatively bad brute luck guided by their own values and attitudes to risk (Williams and Otsuka 2004, 134).
If everybody had the same opportunity to get insurance, then brute luck would not be a problem for society. However there are several problems about this insurance market: what about people born with handicaps and did not have the opportunity to insure against it? Dworkin suggests that this situation should be treated as a lack of resources, because those people are missing personal resources therefore according to the equality of resources principle they should be compensated5.
As a summary, Dworkin argues that the right metrics of the interpersonal comparison are resources which should be distributed equally among the members of society. To rule out the consequences of bad luck, Dworkin suggest a fair insurance market to transform brute luck to option luck. In my opinion Dworkin’s concept is especially responsibility-sensitive because he can make a difference between chosen, deliberate gambling and brute bad luck. Thus Dworkin starts from equality of resources, but allows inequalities from option luck.
Objection from the perception of disability However there are other objections against this theory of resources, which are harder to avoid. I call these arguments in brief coming from the ________________________
In my opinion Dworkin is vague about this question. There are several problems around this solution. He makes a difference between ambition and features of body and mind and states that ambition – like expensive tastes – should not be compansated, but lack of normal features should. But what counts as normal? And where is exactly the difference between ambition and a simple feature? Dworkin himself admits that insurance market is not the solution which could solve every problem, but it is still the best possible option.
perception of disability, because all that matters in these objections is how people perceive their (dis)ability.
Dworkin makes a distinction between personal resources and impersonal resources. Impersonal resources are natural and manufactured goods in the outside world. But personal resources are personal powers and endowments.
With Dworkin’s word: «Personal resources are qualities of mind and body that affect people’s success in achieving their plans and projects: physical and mental health, strength, and talent. Impersonal resources are parts of the environment that can be owned and transferred: land raw materials, houses, television sets and computers, and various legal rights and interests in these» (Dworkin 1990, 34). Personal resources are not part of the envy-test at the first level, because obviously they can not be distributed. But Dworkin admits that people, who were born with disability – with less personal recourse – should be compensated somehow and should be given more impersonal resources.
But are we not back to the expensive tastes problem, where expensive tastes can be considered as a disability and should be compensated? Dworkin’s answer is no, because he makes another distinction between handicaps and preferences or tastes as I mentioned above. A mental feature can be considered as a handicap only if the person wishes not to have it. As Dworkin writes: «(These people) regret that they have these tastes, and believe they would be better off without them, but nevertheless find it painful to ignore them. These tastes are handicaps;
though for other people they are rather an essential part of what gives value to their lives» (Dworkin 2000, 82). As a consequence, a personal feature is considered as a disability, only if the person himself considers it as a handicap or a craving. This distinction also has a consequence that disability has to be compensated only if it is considered as a disability.