Thomas Pogge on Studying Under John Rawls

John Rawls is my hero, but I never met him. So, I love hearing personal experiences like that of Thomas Pogge. And to think...I have been accused of hero worship. :)Source: The Carnegie Council's Ethics Matters Series.I tend to side more with Pogge on the idea of global justice than I do Rawls. However, as Pogge mentions, many ideas about global justice, including the amazing work of Pogge himself, have been directly influenced by the Rawlsian concept of justice.  … [Read more...]

Israel, Mourning, and Longing for Justice

Today, Boston Review shared a talk delivered by the philosopher Martha Nussbaum in 2008 when she became a bat mitzvah. The full talk, titled "The Mourner’s Hope: Grief and the foundations of justice" can be found hereNussbaums talk very much resonated with me, particularly given some of the questions I had raised yesterday. We appear, then, to be moving in two very different worlds: the inner world of the longing heart, of suffering that needs the consolation of an embrace; and the world of … [Read more...]

Care and Obedience (Mormonism and Feminist Theory)

The care perspective was first identified by Carol Gilligan who argued that there are two moral voices: justice and care. Justice, the masculine approach to morality, focuses on universal abstract principles such as equality, impartiality, and universality. Within a Mormon context, I think the principle of agency, as well as obedience would be added to this list.The classic justice perspective is Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative. The categorical imperative asserts that we should act a … [Read more...]

Care and the Liberal Theory of Justice

The feminist idea of care is both a response to the canon of ethical and political theory as well as an alternative approach to that canon. In this essay, I contend that caring relationships are a valuable and necessary component of a just society, and as a result necessary in any theoretical argument about social justice. Yet, it could be asked whether the theory of social justice advanced by the philosopher John Rawls adequately incorporates the idea of care. I will argue here that the concept … [Read more...]

Feminism and the Social Contract

IntroductionA feminist analysis of any major thinker or school of thought within the historical canon of political theory is bound to find many problems. This is surely the case when considering the social contract tradition and the most prominent modern thinkers within this tradition: Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacque Rousseau. To a certain extent these thinkers make many of the same mistakes that classical and other modern moral and political theorists made. First, women are often … [Read more...]

Freedom and Socialism

“How can the freedom of citizens be secured in a socialist state?” asked political theorist William Connolly. In Free to Choose, Milton Friedman makes an automatic connection between the economic freedom and political freedom, implying that socialism by its very existence denies freedom to its citizens. Economic freedom, as defined by Friedman, is laissez—faire capitalism or market activity with very minimal government assistance or regulation. Political freedom, as defined by Friedman, includes … [Read more...]

Sandel’s Introduction to Rawls and Distributive Justice

Rawls is not easy to understand. This is largely because of how Rawls presents his ideas, though this difficulty creates opportunities for debate within political philosophy.Below is a lecture by Harvard Government Professor Michael Sandel on Rawls and issues of wealth, inequality, and distributive justice. While I disagree with much of Sandel's academic criticism of Rawls, I think that he does an excellent job in this lecture and in his recent books looking to present the concept of justice … [Read more...]