Is the Basic Structure Basic?

Samuel Scheffler

in The Egalitarian Conscience

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199281688
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603747 | DOI:
 Is the Basic Structure Basic?

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This essay focuses on Cohen’s recent arguments for extending the scope of justice beyond Rawls’s formulation. It argues for the merits of Rawls’s argument that the primary subject of justice should be restricted to social institutions. It contends that whether or not one agrees with Rawls’s view of what should count as the subject of justice, Cohen is wrong to understand the upshot of this to be either a paltry measure of redistribution or the accommodation of the untrammelled pursuit of selfish interests.

Keywords: Rawls; basic structure; equality; incentives; fairness; justice; choice; family; personal prerogative; responsibility

Chapter.  13981 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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