Between allegiance and responsiveness: Law, justice and public philosophy

This paper offers an account of two political traditions. The first tradition is that of allegiance to abstract principles and procedures; the second is that of responsiveness to the needs of persons and communities. The first two parts of the paper describe some of the basic features of each tradition, while also paying attention to the problems and difficulties within them. The third part of the paper shows how we can see the same tension, i.e., between allegiance and responsiveness, at play in the practice of public philosophy. The paper argues for the importance of maintaining a tension between the two traditions. Ultimately, the paper calls for more attention to be paid to the relationship between, on the one hand, how we understand law and pursue justice, and, on the other, how we practice public philosophy.
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