7th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Critch

Raymond Critch

Three Types of Solidarity /Solidarity and Autonomy

In this essay I explain how to reconcile a form of solidarity with the kind of autonomy at the heart of contemporary liberalism. First, I explain the essential features of an account of solidarity. I define solidarity as the principle of generating strong pro tanto reasons for action from identifying another’s interests as one’s own. I favour interest-based accounts of solidarity over identity-based accounts, and will explain this difference and my preference. I distinguish between the obligation to enter into solidaristic relationships and the obligations that arise once such a relationship forms. I then discuss the normative requirements involved these two aspects of solidarity. Ultimately, Second, I set out three possible approaches to solidarity. A weak approach that grounds solidarity in self-interest fails because it cannot adequately explain the kind of alterity solidarity requires. A second approach fails because it is incompatible with autonomy. I believe a third, Kantian, approach can adequately meet the demands of solidarity while remaining reconcilable with liberal autonomy. I conclude by demonstrating the plausibility of this account of solidarity. I show how it can piggyback on many of our basic moral and political obligations, particularly consideration.