Hobbesian Skepticism

Aaron James

in Fairness in Practice

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199846153
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933389 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Political Philosophy

Hobbesian Skepticism

Show Summary Details


This chapter challenges “realist” skepticism about the applicability of fairness in a politically decentralized global economy. It argues that trade relations are not a situation of anarchy that justifies the suspension of obligations of fair play. The trading system is now a relatively well-assured social practice that gives rise to a collective international responsibility to uphold fair terms of economic cooperation. Trade negotiations are subject to broadly legislative responsibilities. These are inconsistent with the dominant understanding of reciprocity in market access concessions. The chapter also challenges views that limit the scope of social justice to coercive relations found only or largely within the domestic state.

Keywords: Hobbes; neo-realism; anarchy; bargaining; assurance; fair play; reciprocity; coercion; power relations; parochial egalitarianism; collective responsibility; social justice

Chapter.  9687 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.