Two concepts of justice – and of its scope

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 19 (5):534-554 (2016)
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Abstract

The debate over the applicability of the concept of (distributive) justice to the international sphere appears to focus on practicalities in the agent of redistribution. The agency objection says there is no appropriate agent of (the equivalent of societal distributive) justice and its aims for the international sphere. A common response is that the agency question is merely a matter of practicality, the concepts of justice and injustice can apply to circumstances in which distributive justice may not currently be practically achievable. The paper argues that this response is based on a particular and contentious (in the debate) understanding of distributive justice as focused on outcomes rather than treatment by specific types of agents. A number of problems with that concept of justice are adduced and the alternative concept set out. Rejecting the agency objection based on an assumed concept of justice to which those making it would not obviously subscribed begs the question against them.

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Saladin Meckled-Garcia
University College London

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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.C. L. Ten - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):563-566.
Equality or Priority?Derek Parfit - 2002 - In Matthew Clayton & Andrew Williams (eds.), The Ideal of Equality. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 81-125.
Minimalism about human rights: The most we can hope for?Joshua Cohen - 2004 - Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (2):190–213.

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