Miriam Ronzoni


During my tenure of a Corti Fellowship, I intend to pursue two lines of research.

The first aim consists in gathering feedback on and further revising three papers on global justice broadly construed (which is also my main area of research). The first is a paper on what the correct implications of the neo-republican account of non-domination for global justice and global institutional design should be. Should republicans be cosmopolitans, statists, or somewhere in between? I argue that the answer to this question is not obvious because three desiderata of republican theory (which apply both domestically and globally) pull in different directions in this respect. The second is a paper on whether the duty to establish not yet existing supranational institutions can be regarded as a duty of justice proper, given that it cannot be construed as a perfect duty, and the dominant view on these matters considers only perfect duties to be duties of justice. In the paper, I argue that we should not think of imperfect and perfect duties as a dichotomy, but as a spectrum, and that some duties of justice are not perfect without being fully imperfect. Finally, the third paper explores the implications of the coercion view on social justice for international and global obligations of justice. I argue that, even if Michael Blake is right in claiming that egalitarian obligations of social justice only apply among those who are subjected to the same coercive system, this approach has more demanding global implications than coercion theorists readily acknowledge.

The second aim consists in initiating research on a new paper, in an area on which I have been having an ongoing teaching interest, but on which I have not conducted active research so far – namely, feminist political philosophy. My aim is to write a paper on the feminist debate on pornography as an act of silencing. In particular, I am interested in Rae Langton’s argument that pornography is not only a form of speech – which as such should be protected regardless of how objectionable we regard its content to be –, but a speech act in Austin’s technical sense. According to the theory of speech acts, every speech constitutes a specific kind of action - which depends on, and is made possible by, certain felicity conditions. For instance, saying “I do” constitutes the act of marrying someone if and only if I am in a certain setting (a church or a registry office), I am in front of someone who can perform the act of marrying two people (a priest or a registrar) and I am the kind of person who may marry the person in front of me (I am an adult; I intend to marry a person of the opposite sex or a person of the same sex in a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is legal; the person in front of me also wants to marry me and also performs the speech act of marrying me; etc.). Otherwise, saying “I do” does not constitute the act of marrying somebody. Austin calls this the illocutionary dimension of a speech act. Langton argues that, if certain felicity conditions hold, pornography constitutes the act of subordinating and silencing women. Langton’s argument has encountered several criticisms. I intend to explore the possibility of putting forward a novel, and relatively sympathetic, critique of it. The line of argument is that, even if pornography constitutes an illocutionary act of subordinating and silencing women, the appropriate response to it is not censorship because of the specific features of the kind of illocutionary act that it constitutes.