David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Ethics 14 (3-4):263-334 (2010)
G. A. Cohen's Rescuing Justice and Equality proposes that both concepts need rescuing from the work of John Rawls. Especially, it is concerned with Rawls' famous second principle of justice according to which social primary goods should be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution is to the benefit of the worst off. The question is why this would ever be necessary if all parties are just. Cohen and I agree that Rawls cannot really justify inequalities on the basis given. But he also thinks equality is the correct analysis of justice, though he provides no actual direct arguments for this. He does, however, provide a striking analytical argument claiming that fundamental principles of justice must be fact insensitive, and that Rawls's view of justice violates this requirement. I argue that the requirement is itself misconceived and that principles of justice cannot possibly be fact insensitive in the sense developed by Cohen. Few philosophers share this view of Cohen's—which I argue is due to several conceptual mistakes. With these ironed out, the contractarian view, broadly speaking, is seen to be plausible and powerful. Meanwhile Cohen appears to embrace intuitionism, a stance that cannot possibly be acceptable in social philosophy. In the end, Cohen is successful in arguing that Rawls cannot have what he wants, but neither is Cohen successful in claiming that justice is equality
|Keywords||Basic structure G. A. Cohen Constructivism Difference principle Egalitarian/egalitarianism/equality Ethos of justice Fact-sensitive/fact-insensitive Free market Incentive argument Incentive(s) Intuitionism Justice Libertarian Pareto/Paretian Principles John Rawls Rules of regulation Social contract|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (1971/2005). A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press.
Robert Nozick (1974). Anarchy, State and Utopia. Basic Books.
David P. Gauthier (1986). Morals by Agreement. Oxford University Press.
Aristotle (1941/2001). The Basic Works of Aristotle. Modern Library.
Citations of this work BETA
Richard Penny (2013). Incentives, Inequality and Self-Respect. Res Publica 19 (4):335-351.
Similar books and articles
Larry A. Alexander (1985). Fair Equality of Opportunity. Philosophy Research Archives 11:197-208.
Thomas Pogge (2008). Cohen to the Rescue! Ratio 21 (4):454-475.
Andrew Williams (2008). Justice, Incentives and Constructivism. Ratio 21 (4):476-493.
Ian Hunt (2011). How Egalitarian is Rawls's Theory of Justice? Philosophical Papers 39 (2):155-181.
William A. Edmundson (forthcoming). Ought We to Do What We Ought to Be Made to Do? In Georgios Pavlakos Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco (ed.), Practical Normativity. Essays on Reasons and Intentions in Law and Practical Reason. Cambridge University Press
Alistair M. Macleod (2010). G. A. Cohen on the Rawlsian Doctrine of the Basic Structure as Subject. Social Philosophy Today 26:153-163.
Nir Eyal (2005). ‘Perhaps the Most Important Primary Good’: Self-Respect and Rawls’s Principles of Justice. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (2):195-219.
Richard W. Miller (2010). Relationships of Equality: A Camping Trip Revisited. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 14 (3-4):231-253.
Helga Varden (2010). G. A. Cohen's Rescuing Justice and Equality - A Critical Engagement. Social Philosophy Today 26:175-189.
Added to index2010-07-31
Total downloads92 ( #43,455 of 1,793,190 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #118,939 of 1,793,190 )
How can I increase my downloads?