Evading the Demands of Justice?

Kok-Chor Tan

in Justice, Institutions, and Luck

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588855
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738586 | DOI:
Evading the Demands of Justice?

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This chapter develops and clarifies the institutional account proposed in the previous chapter by posing it against some of the important criticisms leveled against the institutional approach. Special attention will be given to objections of the form advanced by G. A. Cohen, as well as to Cohen’s recent replies to his own critics. The chapter invokes and reinforces the idea advanced in Chapter 2, that in light of value pluralism the institutional focus provides a plausible understanding of the site of egalitarian justice, whereas a more encompassing trans-institutional approach does not provide proper space for valued and valuable personal pursuits. The latter thus contradicts the end of liberal justice, namely that of providing the appropriate framework within which persons may freely and equally, but permissibly and fervently, pursue their ends. It stresses that the institutional approach is not a compromise of justice against personal pursuits; in fact, the primacy of justice is preserved on this approach, for the rules of just institutions set the range of personal ends that persons may permissibly pursue and the means by which they can pursue them.

Keywords: institutions; basic structure; distributive justice; egalitarianism; value pluralism; ethos of justice; incentives; the difference principle; moral division of labor; freedom of occupation; well-ordered society; John Rawls; Samuel Scheffler; G. A. Cohen

Chapter.  14878 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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