Motives and Modus Vivendi
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.
- Dauenhauer, B. P. (2000). A good word for a modus vivendi. In V. Davion & C. Wolf (Eds.), The idea of a political liberalism: Essays on rawls (pp. 204–220). Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Edyvane, D. (2013). Civic virtue and the sovereignty of evil. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Gray, J. (2000). Two faces of liberalism. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
- Gutmann, A., & Thompson, D. (1996). Democracy and disagreement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Gutmann, A., & Thompson, D. (2012). The spirit of compromise: Why governing demands it and campaigning undermines it. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Kühler, M. (2018). Modus vivendi and toleration. In J. Horton, M. Westphal, & U. Willems (Eds.), The political theory of modus vivendi. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
- McCabe, D. (2018). Modus vivendi as a global political morality. In J. Horton, M. Westphal, & U. Willems (Eds.), The political theory of modus vivendi. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
- Menkel-Meadow, C. (2016). Ethics of compromise. In A. Farazmand (Ed.), Global encyclopedia of public administration, public policy, and governance (pp. 1–8). Basel: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
- Putnam, R. D., Feldstein, L. M., & Cohen, D. J. (2004). Introduction. In R. D. Putnam, L. M. Feldstein, & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Better together: Restoring the American community (pp. 1–10). New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
- Rawls, J. (1996). Political liberalism. (Expanded ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Rossi, E. (2010). Modus vivendi, consensus, and (Realist) liberal legitimacy. Public Reason, 2(2), 21–39.Google Scholar
- Rossi, E. (2018). Can modus vivendi save liberalism from moralism? A critical assessment of John Gray’s political realism. In J. Horton, M. Westphal, & U. Willems (Eds.), The political theory of modus vivendi. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
- Wendt, F. (2016). The moral standing of modus vivendi arrangements. Public Affairs Quarterly, 30(4), 351–370.Google Scholar
- Westphal, M. (2018). Institutions of modus vivendi politics. In J. Horton, M. Westphal, & U. Willems (Eds.), The political theory of modus vivendi. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar