Michael Walzer's Situated Justice

Journal of Religious Ethics 22 (2):375 - 399 (1994)
Abstract
Even though widely praised for its historically situated concreteness and its perceptive criticism of varieties of forms of domination, Michael Walzer's theory of justice has been criticized as relativist in the sense that it rests on the conventional or dominant view of justice held in each particular society. This misreads his argument. His method of "deep interpretation" is grounded transculturally. It produces and demonstrates the persuasiveness of two principles (mutual respect for all persons and their communities, and opposition to domination) and three sets of rights (the right to life, to liberty, and to community, each understood in both a negative and positive way). These transcultural principles combine with respectful attention to different understandings of goods within different communities to produce a highly attractive synthesis, with the advantages of both communitarianism and liberalism and without their disadvantages.
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