In this work, Matt Edge offers an innovative approach to political philosophy. He invites the reader to consider the question of political justice from an empathic perspective - if you were asked to construct a theory of justice acceptable to members of a community you were not yourself a part of, how would you succeed in making your proposal acceptable? What tools would you rely on to construct such a theory, and why? Equally, what would make anyone qualified to write such a theory?
Using empathy, this remarkable, natural, tool human beings possess for making moral and ethical decisions, and, thereby, placing yourself as someone on the receiving end of the very theory of justice you yourself are constructing, what would you come up with? What set of alterable human structures and systems would you deem acceptable, were you to find yourself in the position of a citizen living under such structures?
Political Philosophy, Empathy and Political Justice offers a unique and compelling account of the type of free system required to pass an empathic examination at the heart of these, and related, questions, matters which define all human eras, in the constant search for political and social justice on our diverse planet.
"Matt Edge’s Political Philosophy, Empathy and Political Justice is an important contribution to the growing body of literature on empathy and justice. Building on the works of John Rawls, Michael Slote, and others, Edge develops an intriguing thought experiment – the empathy test – for generating an empathic theory of justice. He then shows how empathy can provide a bridge between ideal theory and practical affairs. Altogether, the book provides a wide-ranging discussion of empathy and the role it can play in promoting equal concern and justice for all."—Daniel Engster, The University of Texas at San Antonio
"Edge’s style is informal and inviting. In an age when academic political discussion is largely dominated by various forms of liberalism and ethical rationalism, it is good to see a book that defends a crucial role for empathy in social justice." —Michael Slote, University of Miami
"Clearly written, original and concise, this book is a welcome addition to the growing body of work reminding us of the importance of empathy for a more ethical and compassionate world." —Anthony Clohesy, University of Essex, UK
"In Political Philosophy, Empathy and Political Justice, Matt Edge provides a compelling argument for placing the process of empathy at the heart of our understanding of justice. He masterfully synthesizes insights from philosophy, social psychology, political theory, neuroscience, history and (even) literature to make his case, his writing is accessible and transparent, and this work should interest both scholars and general readers. Even those who disagree with his particular theory of empathic justice will find absorbing ideas that should prod further reflection on what a just society requires."—Michael E. Morrell, University of Connecticut
Introduction 1. Empathy and Political Philosophy 2. Empathy 3. The Empathy Test 4. Radical Concern: Political Philosophy on Foot 5. Freedom and Empathy 6. A Theory of Freedom Conclusion