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 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

The late Jerry Cohen struggled to reconcile his egalitarian political principles with his personal style of life. His efforts were inconclusive, but instructive. This comment locates the core of Cohen’s discomfort in an abstract principle that connects what we morally ought to be compelled to do and what we have a duty to do anyway. The connection the principle states is more general and much tighter than Cohen and others, e.g. Thomas Nagel, have seen. Our principles of justice always put our personal integrity to the test, unless those principles are designed not to. But to craft principles with an view to avoiding that test is, as Cohen argued, itself to undermine both justice and our integrity.

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William A. Edmundson
Georgia State University

Citations of this work

Distributive Justice and Distributed Obligations.A. Edmundson William - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (1):1-19.

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