Description : In this work of political philosophy, Cohen sets out to rescue the egalitarian thesis that in a society where distributive justice prevails, people’s material prospects are roughly equal. Arguing against the Rawlsian version of a just society, Cohen demonstrates that distributive justice does not tolerate deep inequality.
Description : This collection critically engages with a number of recurrent themes from the work of G.A. Cohen, and most especially with arguments and positions advanced in his Rescuing Justice and Equality. A critical discussion of the work of the contemporary political theorist G.A. Cohen, an egalitarian and a critic of John Rawls Offers a critical perspective on his significant work on equality and constructivism, including his eagerly anticipated new book Rescuing Justice and Equality The contributors to this volume are noted for their own work on these topics Challenges Cohen s view of the centrality of equality to justice, of the scope for free choice of occupation and economic incentives, as well as his view that fundamental principles of justice are insensitive to facts
Description : Unless considered on a practical level, where a precise distribution of social goods is chosen, John Rawls’s and Gerald Cohen’s approaches to social justice cannot be complementary. Their disagreement about justice and its principles calls for a choice, which opts either for the Rawlsian theory or for the Cohenian one. What is the more plausible approach to social justice? This work compares both approaches and aims to defend Cohen’s position in the light of two considerations. It answers the philosophical question about the analysis of the idea of justice, which puts the virtue of justice in its philosophical context. It, however, presents a method everyone can apply in order to arrive at the fundamental principles of justice by employing the power of reason. An analysis of the concept of justice based on the power of reason should seek to uncover the ultimate nature of justice, which is independent of facts and of other virtues. Once exposed, the understanding of justice arrived at should inform social institutions and determine people’s daily decisions. A just society is therefore a society where just persons and just institutions exhibit the virtue of justice.
Description : Whether it is a result of nature, the consequence of a choice to escape the state of nature, or the outcome of some other process of deliberation, the fact of human association gives rise to recurrent themes in political and social philosophy. The character and requirements of justice, the profile of political legitimacy, and the relationship between the powers of government and the rights of the governed are some of the subjects of ongoing consideration and debate in the disciplines of philosophy, political theory, economics, and law. This volume represents a contribution to the investigation of these issues of perennial interest and import, featuring essays whose authors hope to extend, deepen, and, in some cases, move in new directions, the current state of discussion.
Description : G. A. Cohen was one of the most gifted, influential, and progressive voices in contemporary political philosophy. At the time of his death in 2009, he had plans to bring together a number of his most significant papers. This is the first of three volumes to realize those plans. Drawing on three decades of work, it contains previously uncollected articles that have shaped many of the central debates in political philosophy, as well as papers published here for the first time. In these pieces, Cohen asks what egalitarians have most reason to equalize, he considers the relationship between freedom and property, and he reflects upon ideal theory and political practice. Included here are classic essays such as "Equality of What?" and "Capitalism, Freedom, and the Proletariat," along with more recent contributions such as "Fairness and Legitimacy in Justice," "Freedom and Money," and the previously unpublished "How to Do Political Philosophy." On ample display throughout are the clarity, rigor, conviction, and wit for which Cohen was renowned. Together, these essays demonstrate how his work provides a powerful account of liberty and equality to the left of Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, and Isaiah Berlin.
Description : Is socialism desirable? Is it even possible? In this concise book, one of the world's leading political philosophers presents with clarity and wit a compelling moral case for socialism and argues that the obstacles in its way are exaggerated. There are times, G. A. Cohen notes, when we all behave like socialists. On a camping trip, for example, campers wouldn't dream of charging each other to use a soccer ball or for fish that they happened to catch. Campers do not give merely to get, but relate to each other in a spirit of equality and community. Would such socialist norms be desirable across society as a whole? Why not? Whole societies may differ from camping trips, but it is still attractive when people treat each other with the equal regard that such trips exhibit. But, however desirable it may be, many claim that socialism is impossible. Cohen writes that the biggest obstacle to socialism isn't, as often argued, intractable human selfishness--it's rather the lack of obvious means to harness the human generosity that is there. Lacking those means, we rely on the market. But there are many ways of confining the sway of the market: there are desirable changes that can move us toward a socialist society in which, to quote Albert Einstein, humanity has "overcome and advanced beyond the predatory stage of human development."
Description : Debates about global justice have traditionally fallen into two camps. Statists believe that principles of justice can only be held among those who share a state. Those who fall outside this realm are merely owed charity. Cosmopolitans, on the other hand, believe that justice applies equally among all human beings. On Global Justice shifts the terms of this debate and shows how both views are unsatisfactory. Stressing humanity's collective ownership of the earth, Mathias Risse offers a new theory of global distributive justice--what he calls pluralist internationalism--where in different contexts, different principles of justice apply. Arguing that statists and cosmopolitans seek overarching answers to problems that vary too widely for one single justice relationship, Risse explores who should have how much of what we all need and care about, ranging from income and rights to spaces and resources of the earth. He acknowledges that especially demanding redistributive principles apply among those who share a country, but those who share a country also have obligations of justice to those who do not because of a universal humanity, common political and economic orders, and a linked global trading system. Risse's inquiries about ownership of the earth give insights into immigration, obligations to future generations, and obligations arising from climate change. He considers issues such as fairness in trade, responsibilities of the WTO, intellectual property rights, labor rights, whether there ought to be states at all, and global inequality, and he develops a new foundational theory of human rights.
Description : Egalitarians have traditionally been suspicious of equality of opportunity. But the past twenty five years or so have seen a sea-change in egalitarian thinking about that concept. 'Luck egalitarians' such as G. A. Cohen, Richard Arneson, and John Roemer have paved a new way of thinking about equality of opportunity, and infused it with radical egalitarian content. In this book, Shlomi Segall brings together these developments in egalitarian theory and offers a comprehensive account of 'radical equality of opportunity'. Radical equality of opportunity (EOp) differs from more traditional conceptions on several dimensions. Most notably, while other accounts of equality of opportunity strive to neutralize legal and/or socio-economic obstacles to one's opportunity-set the radical account seeks to remove also natural ones. Radical EOp, then, aims at neutralizing all obstacles that lie outside individuals' control. This has far-reaching implications, and the book is devoted to exploring and defending them. The book touches on four main themes. First, it locates the ideal of radical EOp within egalitarian distributive justice. Segall advances there three claims in particular: that we ought to be concerned with equality in individual holdings (rather than merely social relations); that we ought to be bothered, as egalitarians, with unequal outcomes, and never equal ones; and that we ought to be concerned with disadvantages the absolute (rather than relative) badness of which, the agent could not have controlled. Second, the book applies the concept of radical equality of opportunity to office and hiring. It demonstrates that radical EOp yields an attractive account both with regard to justice in the allocation of jobs on the one hand, and discrimination, on the other. Third, the book offers an account of radical EOp in education and upbringing. Segall tries to defend there the rather radical implications of the account, namely that it may hold children responsible for their choices, and that it places quite demanding requirements on parents. Finally, the book develops an account of radical equality of opportunity for health, to rival Norman Daniels's Rawlsian account. The proposed account is distinguished in the parity that it creates between social and natural causes of ill health.
Description : This text explores the place to locate the cut between those inequalities for which it is fair to hold one responsible, and those for which it is not. The argument traces a thread of intellectual history, identifying a rejection of strong property rights which we inherit from Locke, and find in contemporary defenders of entitlements such as Nozick.