2017 CPA Book Prize Winners Announced

The CPA is Pleased to Announce the Winners of the 2017 Edition of its Biennial Book Prize

 

Moore, Margaret. A Political Theory of Territory. Oxford University Press, 2015

Our world is currently divided into territorial states that resist all attempts to change their borders. But what entitles a state, or the people it represents, to assume monopoly control over a particular piece of the Earth’s surface? Why are they allowed to prevent others from entering? What if two or more states, or two or more groups of people, claim the same piece of land?

Political philosophy, which has had a great deal to say about the relationship between state and citizen, has largely ignored these questions about territory. This book provides answers. It justifies the idea of territory itself in terms of the moral value of political self-determination; it also justifies, within limits, those elements that we normally associate with territorial rights: rights of jurisdiction, rights over resources, right to control borders and so on. The book offers normative guidance over a number of important issues facing us today, all of which involve territory and territorial rights, but which are currently dealt with by ad hoc reasoning: disputes over resources; disputes over boundaries, oceans, unoccupied islands, and the frozen Arctic; disputes rooted in historical injustices with regard to land; secessionist conflicts; and irredentist conflicts. In a world in which there is continued pressure on borders and control over resources, from prospective migrants and from the desperate poor, and no coherent theory of territory to think through these problems, this book offers an original, systematic, and sophisticated theory of why territory matters, who has rights over territory, and the scope and limits of these rights.

Margaret Moore is Professor in the Political Studies department at Queen’s University.

 

 

Narbonne, Jean-Marc. Antiquité critique et modernité. Essai sur le rôle de la pensée critique en Occident. Les Belles Lettres, 2016

Un nouveau mode de rapport au monde est né en Grèce ancienne : l’attitude critique, laquelle a marqué durablement l’histoire occidentale pour ensuite s’imposer mondialement. Dès ce moment inaugural, beaucoup s’est joué, car l’indépendance de la pensée, le rapport questionnant au monde, la tradition de la discussion critique et du franc-parler — c’est-à-dire la tradition du rapport critique à la tradition — allaient pénétrer à l’intérieur des doctrines juive, chrétienne et musulmane pour en infléchir le cours, puis gagner à l’époque moderne leur espace propre dans la Cité. Inventeurs de la démocratie et de la philosophie, les Grecs ont donné naissance à cet éthos-critique dont le pli culturel n’allait plus nous quitter.

Le présent essai propose donc une lecture du Monde moderne fondé sur un réinterprétation de l’input antique grec, une analyse qui tient compte de la nouvelle humanité, critique et réfléchie, découverte en Grèce, et qui prend ses distances vis-à-vis des approches proposées par des auteurs comme Hans Blumenberg (la Modernité relève d’une auto-affirmation absolument originale), Marcel Gauchet (le désenchantement du monde est un phénomène essentiellement tardif; la démocratie d’aujourd’hui tout autre chose que la démocratie antique), et Rémi Brague (l’Occident tient davantage de la Rome hellénisée et christianisée que d’Athènes).

Notre civilisation a sans doute rompu avec certains aspects de sa tradition, mais elle n’a pas rompu avec son passé, celui plus ancien qu’elle redécouvre maintenant de manière plus libre. Le but de l’ouvrage n’est d’ailleurs pas de sacraliser l’hellénisme, mais de montrer que le potentiel critique, inscrit dans la dynamique même de cette culture, peut nous aider à mieux comprendre – et à mieux défendre – la société ouverte d’aujourd’hui.

Jean-Marc Narbonne is Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Université Laval.

 

Kolers, Avery. A Moral Theory of Solidarity. Oxford University Press, 2016

Accounts of solidarity typically defend it in teleological or loyalty terms, justifying it by invoking its goal of promoting justice or its expression of support for a shared community. Such solidarity seems to be a moral option rather than an obligation. In contrast, A Moral Theory of Solidarity develops a deontological theory grounded in equity. With extended reflection on the Spanish conquest of the Americas and the US Civil Rights movement, Kolers defines solidarity as political action on others’ terms. Unlike mere alliances and coalitions, solidarity involves a disposition to defer to others’ judgment about the best course of action. Such deference overrides individual conscience. Yet such deference is dangerous: a core challenge is then to determine when deference becomes appropriate.

Kolers defends deference to those who suffer gravest inequity. Such deference constitutes equitable treatment, in three senses: it is Kantian equity, expressing each person’s equal status; it is Aristotelian equity, correcting general rules for particular cases; and deference is ‘being an equitable person’, sharing others’ fate rather than seizing advantages that they are denied. Treating others equitably is a perfect duty; hence solidarity with victims of inequity is a perfect duty. Further, since equity is valuable in itself, irrespective of any other goal it might promote, such solidarity is intrinsically valuable, not merely instrumentally valuable. Solidarity is then not about promoting justice, but about treating people justly.

A Moral Theory of Solidarity engages carefully with recent work on equity in the Kantian and Aristotelian traditions, as well as the demandingness of moral duties, collective action, and unjust benefits, and is a major contribution to a field of growing interest.

Avery Kolers is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisville.

 

The CPA would like to thank warmly the members of the jury and its sponsors, the Cambridge University Press and Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal.