Event Detail

Tue Dec 6, 2011
Howison Library, 4:10–6 PM
Graduate Research Colloquium
Brian Berkey (University of California, Berkeley)
Institutionalism about Justice: A Critique

One of the most influential claims made by John Rawls in A Theory of Justice is that the principles of justice apply only to the institutions of the “basic structure of society,” and do not apply directly to the conduct of individuals. My aim in the talk will be to cast doubt on this view, which I call “Institutionalism about Justice,” by considering whether some of the prominent motivations for it offered by Rawls and others succeed in providing the support for the view that they claim. I’ll argue that all of the motivations are problematic as grounds for accepting Institutionalism, at least in part because they, and the Institutionalist view that they are thought to support, seem to misconceive what our concern about justice is fundamentally a concern about.