On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy

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G. A. Cohen was one of the most gifted, influential, and progressive voices in contemporary political philosophy. At the time of his death in 2009, he had plans to bring together a number of his most significant papers. This is the first of three volumes to realize those plans. Drawing on three decades of work, it contains previously uncollected articles that have shaped many of the central debates in political philosophy, as well as papers published here for the first time. In these pieces, Cohen asks what egalitarians have most reason to equalize, he considers the relationship between freedom and property, and he reflects upon ideal theory and political practice.

Included here are classic essays such as "Equality of What?" and "Capitalism, Freedom, and the Proletariat," along with more recent contributions such as "Fairness and Legitimacy in Justice," "Freedom and Money," and the previously unpublished "How to Do Political Philosophy." On ample display throughout are the clarity, rigor, conviction, and wit for which Cohen was renowned. Together, these essays demonstrate how his work provides a powerful account of liberty and equality to the left of Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, and Isaiah Berlin.

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Editorial Reviews

Political Studies Review - Richard Mullender
While alerting his readers to the difficulties faced by philosophers, Cohen is a source of guidance to those seeking to find their way in the field of political philosophy.
From the Publisher
"While alerting his readers to the difficulties faced by philosophers, Cohen is a source of guidance to those seeking to find their way in the field of political philosophy."—Richard Mullender, Political Studies Review

"Cohen wrote with incredible clarity, analyzed with great insight, and argued with the utmost rigor. He did all this while addressing fundamental problems of political philosophy. It will thus be a joy for those interested in these topics to read, or reread, these essays."—Peter Vallentyne, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691148717
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/24/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 974,419
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

G. A. Cohen (1941-2009) was the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, University of Oxford, from 1985 to 2008. At the time of his death, he held the Quain Chair in Jurisprudence at University College London. His books include "Karl Marx's Theory of History" and "Why Not Socialism?" (both Princeton). Michael Otsuka is professor of philosophy at University College London.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Preface vii
Acknowledgments xiii

Part One: Luck Egalitarianism

Chapter One: On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice 3
Chapter Two: Equality of What? On Welfare, Goods, and Capabilities 44
Afterword to Chapters One and Two 61
Chapter Three: Sen on Capability, Freedom, and Control 73
Chapter Four: Expensive Taste Rides Again 81
Chapter Five: Luck and Equality 116
Chapter Six: Fairness and Legitimacy in Justice, And: Does Option Luck Ever Preserve Justice? 124

Part Two: Freedom and Property

Chapter Seven: Capitalism, Freedom, and the Proletariat 147
Chapter Eight: Freedom and Money 166
Two Addenda to "Freedom and Money" 193

Part Three: Ideal Theory and Political Practice

Chapter Nine: Mind the Gap 203
Chapter Ten: Back to Socialist Basics 211
Chapter Eleven: How to Do Political Philosophy 225
Chapter Twelve: Rescuing Justice from Constructivism and Equality from the Basic Structure Restriction 236
Works Cited 255
Index 263

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