Written by a group of distinguished philosophers, the Foundations of Philosophy Series aims to exhibit some of the main problems in the various fields of philosophy at the present stage of philosophical inquiry. This book is written from the viewpoint that although justice is the most important concept in political philosophy, it is also one of the most contested concepts in philosophy. Coverage begins with an overview of the concept of justice, arguing that justice is a vital part of political philosophy, which in turn is part of moral philosophy. The book outlines an objectivist view of moral philosophy, which holds that moral principles have universal validity. The material presents a philosophical map to navigate the plethora of confusing, competing theories and concepts regarding the importance of justice. The author distinguishes between formal and material concepts of justice and discusses the related issues of comparative/noncomparative justice and distributive versus commutative justice.
Table of Contents
The Circumstances of Justice.
Justice and Moral Philosophy.
Formal and Material Principles of Justice.
Is Justice Comparative or Noncomparative?
Law, Justice, and Equity.
Democracy, Capitalism, and Distributive Justice.
2. The Classical Theory of Justice as Desert.
The Classical Concept of Justice as Desert.
Natural and Institutional Desert.
The Bases for Desert.
Merit and Desert.
The Symmetry Argument.
Objections to Desert-Based Justice.
3. The Libertarian Theory of Justice: Robert Nozick.
Classical Liberalism and Justice: Rights and the Justification
Robert Nozick’s Libertarian Theory.
A Critical Assessment of Libertarianism.
Liberty and the Tragedy of the Commons.
4. The Liberal Theory of Justice: John Rawls.
John Rawls’s Theory of Justice as Fairness.
An Assessment of Rawls’s Theory of Justice as Fairness.
On Rawls’s Rejection of Preinstitutional Desert.
A Reconciling Egalitarianism.
5. Complex Justice.
Nine Spheres of Justice.
6. Equal Opportunity.
The Ideal of Equal Opportunity.
The Concept of Equal Opportunity.
Types of Equal Opportunity.
Arguments for Equal Opportunity.
7. Global Justice.
Introduction: Global Disparities.
Theories of Obligation to Distant People.
Justice: Theories of Rights and Duties.
Universal Duties of Justice.
The Cosmopolitan-Justice Imperative: The Possibility
of World Government.
8. Justice and Punishment.
Why Do We Have a System of Punishment?
The Definition of Punishment.
Theories of Punishment.
Desert and Retributive Justice.
Application to the Death Penalty.
For Further Reading.