New Directions in Political Philosophy: Global Justice after Rawls

By Carol Nicholson.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will discuss two different ways of dealing with an impasse in the recent debate about the social contract theory and global justice. John Rawls defines the original social contract as limited to members of a nation whose representatives subsequently contract with others to form principles of international justice. On the other hand, critics of Rawls maintain that a just social contract would have to be global from the beginning and include all human beings. I discuss the two most prominent solutions to the problem offered by Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen, and I identify their styles of reasoning as Kantian and Hegelian, respectively. I argue that Nussbaum’s criticisms of Rawls are strong, but but by rejecting the social contract theory as a whole, she throws out the baby with the bath. Sen’s approach is a more promising model of global justice that moves beyond Rawls while retaining the insights of the social contract tradition.

Keywords: Global Justice, John Rawls, Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.105-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 531.346KB).

Dr. Carol Nicholson

Professor of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

Dr. Nicholson was trained as a generalist in philosophy at Bryn Mawr College, and her teaching and research reflect her broad interests in the history of philosophy as well as contemporary philosophical and interdisciplinary issues. She has published in Educational Theory, History and Theory, Philosophy Now, and other journals, encyclopedias, and anthologies. Her most recent publications include Three Philosophical Views of Multiculturalism, Elegance and Grass Roots: The Neglected Philosophy of Frederick Law Olmsted, and Why I am Not a Patriot. Her latest conference presentation was on A Philosophical View of the Clash of Civilizations.


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