Facing Up to Scarcity: The Logic and Limits of Nonconsequentialist Thought

Barbara H Fried, Facing Up to Scarcity: The Logic and Limits of Nonconsequentialist Thought, Oxford University Press, 2020, 269pp, $70.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198847878. Barbara H Fried (a law professor at Stanford) has published extensively on theories of distributive justice. This book consists of revised versions of ten previously published articles (1995-2020) plus three new chapters. The main focus is on presenting arguments against the following: (1) attaching much moral significance to highly simplified thought experiments (eg, trolley problems), (2) John Rawls’ contractualist account of justice, especially his appeal to maximin/leximin reasoning behind the veil of ignorance, (3) TM Scanlon’s contractualist account of moral permissibility, (4) social (ie, Hobbesian or quasi-libertarian) contractarian accounts of moral permissibility or justice, (5) Robert Nozick’s right-libertarian theory, and (6) left-libertarianism. These critiques are largely internal in that they accept the core commitments of the view addressed and argue either that those views are inconsistent or that commonly assumed implications do not follow … (more)

[Peter Vallentyne, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 1 June]

First posted 2021-06-17 08:45:44

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