Distributive Justice as a Matter of Love: A Relational Approach to Liberty and Property

In Ingolf Dalferth & Trevor Kimball (eds.), Love and Justice. Mohr Siebeck. pp. 339-352 (2019)
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Usually a relational approach, such as one appealing to care or love, is contrasted with an account of justice. In this chapter, however, I argue that distributive justice is well conceived as itself a matter of honouring people in virtue of their capacity to love and to be loved. After spelling out a familiar conception of love, I explain how treating people with respect in light of this capacity provides a plausible basis for human rights, one that rivals influential individualist foundations such as Kantian respect for autonomy and Catholic honor of human life. I also articulate an egalitarian conception of how to allocate wealth that I argue is also a function of treating people's ability to love as special and that can compete against views salient in Anglo-American political philosophy such as cost-benefit analysis and John Rawls’ difference principle.

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Thaddeus Metz
University of Pretoria


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