Saturday, January 22, 2011

A new collection of essays by Joshua Cohen

The Arc of the Moral Universe
and Other Essays

by Joshua Cohen

(Harvard University Press, 2011)

426 pages


In this collection of essays, Joshua Cohen locates ideas about democracy in three far-ranging contexts. First, he explores the relationship between democratic values and history. He then discusses democracy in connection with the views of defining political theorists in the democratic tradition: John Locke, John Rawls, Noam Chomsky, Jürgen Habermas, and Susan Moller Okin. Finally, he examines the place of democratic ideals in a global setting, suggesting an idea of “global public reason”—a terrain of political justification in global politics in which shared reason still plays an essential role.

All the essays are linked by his overarching claim that political philosophy is a practical subject intended to orient and guide conduct in the social world. Cohen integrates moral, social-scientific, and historical argument in order to develop this stance, and he further confronts the question of whether a society conceived in liberty and dedicated to equality can endure.



Part I. Justice in History

1. The Arc of the Moral Universe [preview] (1997)

Part II. Reflections on the Democratic Tradition

2. Structure, Choice, and Legitimacy: Locke's Theory of the State (1986)
3. Democratic Equality (1989)
4. A More Democratic Liberalism (1994)
5. For a Democratic Society (2003)
6. Knowledge, Morality and Hope: the Social Thought of Noam Chomsky (1991)
7. Reflections on Habermas on Democracy [preview] (1999)
8. A Matter of Demolition? Susan Okin on Justice and Gender (2009)

Part III. Global Justice

9. Minimalism about Human Rights: the Most We Can Hope For? (2004)
10. Is There a Human Right to Democracy? [pdf] (2006)
11. Extra Republicam Nulla Justitia? [pdf] (2006)

Joshua Cohen is Professor of Ethics in Society at Stanford University. He is editor of Boston Review. His books include "Philosophy, Politics, Democracy: Selected Papers" (Harvard University Press, 2009) and “Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals” (Oxford University Press, 2010).

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