Reason and Justice
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This is a finely argued, detailed, and comprehensive systematic theory of justice, brilliantly extending Hegelian ethics much as Rawls's Theory of Justice rehabilitated and extended classical Liberalism. Winfield argues that justice, like reason, must be self-grounding, and that to achieve this, it must be self-determined. The theory of justice must therefore abandon its appeal to metaphysically given or transcendentally constituted norms and instead determine the institutions of freedom. In pursuit of this task, Winfield offers insightful discussions of property relations, morality, the family, capital and commodity relations, economic and social justice, and the state. In contrast to Liberalism, which sees the state as instrumental to non-political ends, Winfield defends the democratic state as the just realization of freedom. Throughout, it is argued that justice is defined interactively, where one's freedom is determined by how one's interactions respect and foster the institutional freedom of others.
Although the author's arguments proceed systematically, at each stage he deals adroitly with the relevant major thinkers in the Western tradition—not only with Hegel, but with the ancients, the classical liberals, Marx, and contemporaries such as Rawls.
Richard Dien Winfield is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Georgia. He is also the author of The Just Economy.
"This book is a rigorously argued and uncompromising presentation of the neo-Hegelian view that a foundation-free philosophy is possible, that normative validity derives only from self-determination, and that justice is tied to reason and consists in the reality of freedom. As such, it presents a minority view that is powerful and controversial. In this age when many neo-Hegelians have lost a uniquely Hegelian character by abandoning the system and stressing intersubjectivity and interpretation, Winfield adopts an opposite point of view, presenting a systematic political philosophy based on self-determination, reason, and logic. " — Peter G. Stillman, Vassar College
"There are several things I like about this book: first, the breadth of the discussion covering the major figures, including Plato, Aristotle, Contractarians, Hegel, and Marx, and their different approaches in the history of philosophy; and, second, the systematic argument sustained through the whole manuscript. Winfield grounds his social philosophy in a new theory of epistemology and of metaphysics. Finally, I like the breadth of topics covered in Winfield's own systematic theory of justice. " — Wilfried Ver Eecke, Georgetown University