JSI Seminar Series: Just voting procedures under non-ideal circumstances

26 September 2019



Just voting procedures under non-ideal circumstances

Speaker: Dr Piero Moraro, Charles Sturt University

Majoritarian rule is often defended as an "intrinsically just" procedure which, by granting equal voting powers to all citizens, respects all members as equals. In this talk, Piero Moraro raises some issues with this claim; in doing so, he has no intention to undermine the democratic project, rather, he seeks to emphasise another value usually associated with democracy, i.e. justice. He draws attention to a morally relevant way in which citizens, under non-ideal circumstances, are not equal: they face different levels of risks in relation to the electoral outcome. For example, citizens from socially disadvantaged backgrounds risk losing more (in terms of basic needs) compared to their wealthier fellows, from a change in government; a just procedure should be able to capture these different degrees of vulnerability, when they are morally significant. Applying an argument sketched by Harry Brighouse and Marc Fleurbaey (2008), Dr Moraro contends that voting power should be granted in proportion to what one has at stake: those who have more to lose should have more power to influence the outcome. By focusing on social life under neo-liberal regimes, he claims that the votes of economically disadvantaged citizens should be afforded more weight, in comparison to those of their wealthier peers. Having presented his argument, he will consider some objections.

About the speaker

Piero Moraro is a lecturer in the Centre for Law and Justice at Charles Sturt University. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Stirling, Scotland, and a Master in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics. He has had papers published in Law and Philosophy, The Philosophical Quarterly and the Journal of Applied Philosophy. His book Civil Disobedience: a Philosophical Overview has just been published by Rowman and Littlefield International.

CPD Points: 1.5

The JSI Seminar series is hosted by the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at The University of Sydney Law School.


Time: 6-8pm

Location: Common Room, Level 4, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown, University of Sydney

Cost: Complimentary, however registration is essential.

Contact: Professional Learning & Community Engagement

Phone: 02 9351 0429

Email: 281438540d382a0f5f3e231f13015a004a602b28364c1102