How Pure Should Justice Be? Reflections on G. A. Cohen's Rhetorical Rescue

Philosophy and Rhetoric 49 (3):323-342 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this article I argue for two closely related conclusions: one concerned more narrowly with the internal consistency of G. A. Cohen's theorizing about justice and the unique rhetoric in which it is couched, the other connected to a more sweeping set of recommendations about how theorizing on justice is most promisingly undertaken. First, drawing on a famous insight of G. E. Moore, I argue that although the purity of Cohenian justice provides Cohen a platform from which to put some extremely challenging criticisms to Rawls and Rawlsian liberals, at the same time it generates a sort of self-referential paradox for many of the theses about the concept of justice to which Cohen himself is committed. I go on to conclude, using Rawls's theory of justice as a model, that it would serve political philosophy well to conceive of justice with less purity than Cohen conceives of it.

Author's Profile

David Rondel
University of Nevada, Reno


Added to PP

117 (#58,035)

6 months
68 (#23,530)

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?