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Motives and Modus Vivendi

  • Katharine Schweitzer
Chapter

Abstract

John Rawls rejected modus vivendi political outcomes as normatively deficient because he believed that the participants are not motivated by moral reasons. Contemporary defenders of modus vivendi reject the importance of distinguishing between moral and nonmoral reasons for constructing terms of peaceful coexistence. Theorists have highlighted peace and security as values that are integral to a modus vivendi. I argue that the idea of mutuality ought to be included in an account of how a modus vivendi emerges between parties who have opposed views about how to decide jointly a matter of common concern.

A modus vivendi is a compromise, and the creation of a modus vivendi requires the parties to understand themselves as facing a situation to which they ought to respond together. I argue that mutuality is a value that is presupposed in their effort to create a modus vivendi. How and why parties regard each other as having standing to shape the resolution of a political conflict remains unexplored in the literature on modus vivendi. Although parties to a modus vivendi are unlikely to regard each other as deserving equality of standing, they nevertheless recognize each other in a manner that is morally salient. Mutuality involves viewing people whom one opposes or considers to be a rival as nevertheless having standing to participate in a shared political life.

Inquiry into the origin of a shared commitment to mutuality can help scholars understand what conditions facilitate willingness to coexist and to participate in a modus vivendi.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NevadaRenoUSA

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