Law and Philosophy

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 75–104 | Cite as

Political Liberalism, Ethos Justice, and Gender Equality

Article

Abstract

Susan Okin criticizes John Rawls’s ‘political liberalism’ because it does not apply principles of justice directly to gender relations within households. We explain how one can be a ‘political liberal feminist’ by distinguishing between two kinds of justice: the first we call ‘legitimacy justice’, conceptions of which apply to the ‘legally coercive structure’ of society; the second we call ‘ethos justice’, conceptions of which apply to citizens’ ‘non-coercive’ relations. We agree with Okin that a society in which most persons act in accordance with ‘gender equal’ ethos justice is morally superior to one in which most persons do not. A shared commitment to a particular conception of ethos justice, however, cannot be required by a conception of legitimacy justice. A political liberal feminist is committed to promoting gender equality with respect to both legitimacy justice and ethos justice, but recognizes that different means are necessary to do so.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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