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

How Pure Should Justice Be?: Reflections on G. A. Cohen’s Rhetorical Rescue <p>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 (Platonic) 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.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy and Rhetoric Penn State University Press

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

Philosophy and Rhetoric, Volume 49 (3) – Aug 5, 2016

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1527-2079

Abstract

<p>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 (Platonic) 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.</p>

Journal

Philosophy and RhetoricPenn State University Press

Published: Aug 5, 2016

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