Must the Family Be Just?

Philosophical Papers 29 (3):189-221 (2000)
Abstract Susan Moller Okin has criticized Michael Sandel's view that the family is an example of an institution that is sometimes ?above? or ?beyond? justice, and for which justice is not, under the best conditions, a virtue. She argues that he both misses the point of justice as a virtue of social institutions and that he idealizes the family, and after undertaking this ?ground-clearing?, goes on to argue that families should be just. This paper offers a qualified defense of Sandel. I argue, first, that Sandel has not missed the point of justice as a virtue of social institutions. But I go on to argue, more centrally, that if we distinguish between what I call ?internal? and ?social? justice of the family, and look carefully at the conclusions of Okin's own arguments, we see that she has really argued for the social justice of the family, and that this can be maintained alongside Sandel's vision of the family as an institution within which considerations of justice are neither central, nor necessarily appropriate. I try to carve out space both for Sandel's vision of the family, and for Okin's substantive feminist conclusions about family-based gender injustice
Keywords justice family Okin Sandel
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Veronique Munoz-Darde (1999). Is the Family to Be Abolished Then? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1):37-56.
Joshua Cohen (1992). Okin on Justice, Gender, and Family. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):263 - 286.
Michael Sandel (2003). Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Routledge, in Association with the Open University 336-343.

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