Liberty and Justice

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"What is justice?" asked Socrates, some 2,500 years ago. As Liberty and Justice makes clear, we're still asking—and arguing. The contributors to this volume draw from a wide range of classical and modern philosophers—including Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Rawls, Rand, and others—to analyze the interdependence of justice and liberty and attempt to define the most sensible, reasonable principles of justice as they relate to equality, property, gender, and other factors.

They compare the libertarian approach of an equal right to liberty for all to the modern liberal focus on "capability," or entitlements. Anthony de Jasay questions whether justice requires fairness and whethre fairness requires immunity from simple bad luck or circumstances, and Jonathan Jacobs looks at the moral psychology of justice. Jennifer McKitrick offers a libertarian slant on feminism, showing that liberty for all is not incompatible with justice for women. If sexist attitudes are ingrained enough to make nongovernmental solutions unworkable, she reasons, it is hard to see why they would not make governmental solutions equally unworkable. Tibor Machan explains a "natural rights" approach to justice. The authors also examine other key underlying questions such as, How do we recognize justice and where does it come from? Does the state have the power to enforce morality? And are the natural rights that libertarianism upholds just a myth—simply an ideological invention and plainly untenable?

Tibor R. Machan is the R. C. Hoiles Professor at Chapman University, Orange, California, and a Hoover Institution research fellow.

Contributors: Anthony de Jasay, Jonathan Jacobs, Tibor R. Machan, Jennifer McKitrick

Copyright 2006.