Does the kind of socialist ideal articulated by G. A. Cohen in Why Not Socialism? add anything substantial to the Rawlsian conception of justice? Is it an ideal that Rawlsians should want to take on board, or is it ultimately foreign to their outlook? I defend a mixed answer to these questions. On the one hand, we shouldn’t underestimate the extent to which Rawls's theory already addresses the concerns that motivate Cohen’s appeal to the socialist ideal. Within the bounds of a society living up to Rawls’s two principles of justice, I maintain, there would be little room left for an ideal of social relations to do any independent work. On the other hand, Cohen’s ideal may still have an important role to play within Rawlsian theory – not within the confines of a given society but on the international stage, beyond the liberal state as we know it. This asymmetry between the domestic and the international case stems from the fact that Rawls's principles of justice apply in full strength only at the domestic l...
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DOI 10.1177/1470594X17721481
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Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.

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