Normative political theory

Research Projects:

Justice and democracy

Description: The research aims to examine the social and political nature in a democratic society. On the one hand, we will examine the principles of justice, particularly the notion of distributive justice, that best express the normative idea that it is central to a democratic society: the equality of conditions or status. Which conception of social and political justice is most appropriate to realise the form of equality with which we should concern ourselves in a democratic society, i.e., a society constituted by citizens who are conceived and treated by the basic institutions of their society as moral, free and equal people? On the other, we will examine the conditions under which it is at least more likely that democracy, now more strictly understood as a political decision-making procedure and its corresponding institutions, will guarantee the form of equal status that, in this project, will be understood as the normative ideal that is more fundamental in a democratic society.

Professor in charge: Álvaro de Vita ( )


International Justice

Description: The research aims to examine the arguments and evidences on which it is possible to defend the extension of liberal-egalitarian principles of justice to the international level. This study can be divided, for analytical purposes, into two broad areas. One of them may be designated by the term ‘tolerance’ and covers political justice issues. Given the diversity of the individual and collective good concepts and the moral and religious traditions, it aims to understand whether it is possible to establish the international society on principles similar to the classical liberal rights (civil rights) and to the democratic government rights. The other area covers the distribution of benefits and the issues of poverty and socioeconomic inequality internationally. ‘Distributive justice’ is the traditional name for this. A better understanding of issues relating to these two areas is required to formulate a theory of human rights that can be more widely accepted than it is today. The theory of human rights still faces serious objections from cultural relativism in the case of problems relevant to tolerance and, regarding distributive justice issues, serious doubts about who has the responsibility to ensure that everyone has their economic and social rights respected. In its longer-term horizon, the research aims to contribute to the formulation of a theory of human rights that is more solid in its normative foundations.

Professor in charge: Álvaro de Vita ( )