Social Philosophy and Policy 30 (1-2):352-372 (2013)

Thomas Sinclair
Oxford University
The argument from background justice is that conformity to Lockean principles of justice in agreements and transactions does not preclude the development of inequalities that undermine the freedom and fairness of those very transactions, and that, therefore, special principles are needed to regulate society's “basic structure.” Rawls offers this argument as his “first kind of reason” for taking the basic structure to be the primary subject of justice. Here I explore the background justice argument and its implications for questions about the scope of distributive justice. As it turns out, the background justice argument can offer no independent support for conclusions about the scope of distributive justice. For the special principles that it justifies inherit their scope from conclusions that must be established or assumed in advance. These prior conclusions are precisely what is at issue in debates about global justice.
Keywords Justice  Libertarianism  Rawls
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DOI 10.1017/s0265052513000174
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References found in this work BETA

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.C. L. Ten - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):563-566.
The Law of Peoples.John Rawls - 2001 - Philosophical Quarterly 51 (203):246-253.
Extra Rempublicam Nulla Justitia?Joshua Cohen & Charles Sabel - 2006 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (2):147–175.

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