Cohen on Rawls: Personal Choice and the Ideal of Justice

Social Philosophy Today 29:135-49 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

G.A. Cohen is well known within contemporary political philosophy for claiming that the scope of principles of justice extends beyond the design of institutions to citizens’ personal choices. More recently, he’s also received attention for claiming that principles of justice are normatively ultimate, i.e., that they’re necessary for the justification of action guiding principles but are unsuitable to guide political practice themselves. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between these claims as they’re applied in criticism of John Rawls. It argues that ascribing normative ultimacy to justice entails its application to personal choice. However, it also argues that if Cohen’s right about Rawls’s difference principle being regulatory rather than ultimate, then his earlier claim that Rawls must extend it to personal choice on pain of inconsistency is refuted

Author's Profile

Kyle Johannsen
Trent University

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-12-17

Downloads
797 (#8,939)

6 months
11 (#61,814)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?