Social Justice on Trial: The Verdict of History

  • William L. McBride
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 31)


I am very pleased that the World Phenomenology Institute has been devoting special attention to the issue of justice. This issue has, as we all know very well, dominated much of the field of discussion in American social philosophy for more than a decade and a half — at least since the time of publication of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice in late 1971, if not even earlier. What seems to be occurring right now — and I must speak mainly for myself, of course — is a move towards reburial of the topic of justice. Or, if that metaphor is excessive, let me suggest something military like “reduction in rank” — a demotion of justice from the rank of supreme conceptual concern in the field of social and political philosophy.


Social Justice Nicomachean Ethic Ethical Domain Normative Social Theory Perfect Justice 
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  1. 3.
    J. J. Rousseau,Du Contrat Social ou Principes du Droit Politique.(Paris: Editions Garnier Frères, 1954), p. 258.1 have cited the original French text here because in my opinion no English translation can capture its clarity and simplicity.Google Scholar
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    Norberto Bobbio,Giusnaturalismo e positivismo giuridico(Milan: Edizioni di Comunità, 1965), pp. 71–72 (transi, mine).Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    G. W. F. Hegel,The Philosophy of History,transi. J. Sibree ( New York: Dover Publications, 1956 ), p. 457.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Aristotle,Nicomachean Ethics,transi, by M. Ostwald (Indianapolis: The Library of Liberal Arts, 1962), 1129a, V,p. 111.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • William L. McBride
    • 1
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityUSA

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