Saturday, January 05, 2013

New Book: "Justice for Earthlings" by David Miller

Justice for Earthlings
Essays in Political Philosophy

by David Miller

(Cambridge University Press, January 2013)

264 pages


In the past few decades social changes have impacted how we understand justice, as societies become both more multicultural and more interconnected globally. Much philosophical thought, however, seems to proceed in isolation from these developments. While philosophers from Plato onwards have portrayed justice as an abstract, universal ideal, Miller argues that principles of justice are always rooted in particular social contexts, and connects these ideas to the changing conditions of human life. In this important contribution to political philosophy, it is argued that philosophers need to pay more attention to the way that people actually think about what's fair, and only defend principles that are feasible to apply in the real world. To understand equality of opportunity, for example, we must explore the cultural constraints that people face when presented with life choices. Justice for Earthlings also explains how national boundaries make justice at global level different from social justice.

Contents [preview]

Introduction [pdf]

1. Political Philosophy for Earthlings
2. Two Ways to Think About Justice [abstract]
3. Social Justice in Multicultural Societies [preview]
4. Liberalism, Equal Opportunities and Cultural Commitments
5. Equality of Opportunity and the Family
6. Justice and Boundaries [paper, pdf]
7. Social Justice versus Global Justice?
8. 'Are They my Poor?': The Problem of Altruism [abstract]
9. Taking Up the Slack? Responsibility and Justice in Situations of Partial Compliance
10. A Tale of Two Cities, or Political Philosophy as Lamentation

All the essays have been published previously.

David Miller is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford. He is the author of "On Nationality" (Oxford University Press, 1995), "Principles of Social Justice" (Harvard University Press, 1999), and "National Responsibility and Global Justice" (Oxford University Press, 2007).

See also David Miller's paper "The Responsibility to Protect Human Rights" (pdf, 2007).

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