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What is Justice?: Classic and Contemporary Readings

What is Justice?: Classic and Contemporary Readings

ISBN 9780195128109
Edition 2 Rev ed
Publisher Oxford University Press Inc
Publication Date
"What is Justice?" was one of Socrates' most provocative and to this day unresolved questions. What is Justice? is an attempt to bring together many of the most prominent and influential writings on the topic of justice, both before and after Socrates, with particular emphasis on questions of justice in the modern world, especially in (more or less) egalitarian, democratic societies. The book places special emphasis on "social contract" theories of justice, both ancient and modern, culminating in the monumental work of John Rawls and various responses to his work. This book also puts special emphasis on questions of retributive justice and punishment that are typically excluded from volumes concerned with civil and "distributive" justice. In this new edition the editors expand and bring up-to-date both the readins on justice and punishment and more recent responses to Rawls' work, including Rawls' own most recent work. This book is designed to be flexible for use in very different courses and contexts and comprehensible to a wide variety of students and readers. It presupposes no philosophical or specialized background. The book is divided into five parts, together with a general introduction to the subject and an updated bibliography. Part One includes classical sources from Homer, Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, the Koran, Aquinas, and Mencius. Part Two includes readings on the state of nature and the social contract from Hobbes and Locke to Rawls, Nozick, Gauthier, and Baier. Part Three includes the Declaration of Independence and Amendments to the US Constitution and discussions of property and social justice from Locke, Hume, and Adam Smith to Engels, Marx, Mill, von Hayek, and some contemporary authors. Part Four includes a wide variety of readings on punishment, several with specific concerns about the death penalty. Part Five begins with selections from Rawls' work and includes responses from Dworkin, Nagel, Nozick, MacIntyre, Sandel, Walzer, Okin and Rawls himself. Every selection is preceded by a brief introduction, providing some biography, history, and context for the reading, and each of the five parts begins with an introduction to the topics to be discussed. Every selection, however, is self-contained, so that the readings can be selected in virtually any order to suit the needs of the instructor or reader.

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