Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review essay of G.A. Cohen's "Rescuing Justice and Equality"

Forthcoming in Social Theory and Practice, a review essay of G.A.Cohen's "Rescuing Justice and Equality" (Harvard University Press, 2008):

"Justice Beyond Equality"

by Jonathan Quong.


"It is, I think, Cohen’s deepest, and most important contribution to political philosophy, and it should be required reading for everyone working in our field. It is certainly the most insightful and powerful critique of Rawlsian political philosophy ever written. That said, I don’t agree with Cohen about either the content or the concept of justice. Unlike Cohen, I don’t think the content of distributive justice is reducible to a particular luck egalitarian conception of equality: I think distributive justice includes many other considerations such as freedom, reciprocity, and certain deontic injunctions against treating persons in particular ways. Because I disagree with Cohen about the content of justice, I also think he’s mistaken regarding how we should reason about justice, and so I think Rawlsian constructivism is much more plausible than he does."

Jonathan Quong is Lecturer in Political Philosophy at University of Manchester.

See my previous posts on G. A. Cohen:
- Critical Essays on G. A. Cohen
- G.A. Cohen: The socialist’s guide to camping
- G.A. Cohen (1941-2009)
- Podcasts from G.A. Cohen conference January 2009.

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