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Philosophy of Justice: Extending Liberal Justice in Space and Time

  • Lukas H. MeyerEmail author
  • Pranay Sanklecha

Abstract

In this chapter, we introduce and sketch central themes in the contemporary political philosophy of justice. We restrict ourselves to one particular tradition, namely the one that can loosely be called “analytical political philosophy,” and for reasons we explain in the chapter, we take the work of John Rawls as the starting point of our interpretation. Even with this restriction, it is not possible to take into account all important modern developments within this tradition. Therefore, we further restrict our focus to some specific questions and areas. In particular, we first discuss the Rawlsian claim that the basic structure is the first or primary subject of justice. Discussions of the basic structure and the implications of this Rawlsian view have been central and agenda-setting in the modern development of analytical political philosophy. Consequently, we examine prominent and differing interpretations of both (a) how the basic structure is to be understood and (b) what it means for the basic structure to be the primary subject of justice. On this basis, we then discuss different claims regarding the scope of principles of justice, in particular distributive justice. This then leads to a discussion of the extensions of justice in space and time, of whether and, if so, how principles of justice developed to apply within single societies could apply to relations between people who are not members of the same state or who belong to non-overlapping generations. In recent years, these two areas of international (or global) and intergenerational justice have seen a comparatively large increase in interest. We conclude by outlining a few additional research questions that we think are, and ought to be, of central importance in thinking philosophically about justice, in particular when the research is meant to contribute to an understanding of the relevance of ideals of justice in addressing the reality of a less-than-just status quo.

Keywords

Basic structure International justice Intergenerational justice Justice John Rawls 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GrazGrazAustria

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