The Content of Justice: Freedom and Equality

Laura Valentini

in Justice in a Globalized World

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593859
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731457 | DOI:
The Content of Justice: Freedom and Equality

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This chapter discusses how to move from a general concern with the justification of coercion to particular substantive principles of justice. It argues that a social system is just only so long as it respects the right to freedom of those subject to it, namely their right to the social conditions necessary to lead autonomous lives. For this to be the case, the distribution of freedom engendered by the system has to be justifiable in the eyes of all those who are subject to it. Focusing on domestic societies in particular, the chapter concludes that a multiplicity of principles of economic justice might instantiate mutually justifiable distributions of freedom, not all of which are egalitarian in form. In other words, contrary to most contemporary liberal theorists’ arguments on the view defended in this chapter, economic equality is not a fundamental, non-negotiable demand of justice.

Keywords: Key words: freedom; non-interference; non-domination; hypothetical consent; autonomy; equality; basic rights; modal robustness; context-sensitivity; power-relations

Chapter.  11674 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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