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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Staff and Governance

To contact the IMEMS administrative office please use the following details:


T: 0191 334 2974

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details for Dr Maria Dimova-Cookson

Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2011). Justice as a secondary moral ideal: the British idealists and the personal ethics perspective in understanding social justice. European Journal of Political Theory 10(1): 46-70.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper aims to show the advantages of the personal ethics perspective employed by the British idealist in the analysis of justice. In the context of Green’s and Bosanquet’s political theory, justice is a secondary moral ideal. Yet, it is argued here, their moral philosophy leads us, through a longer path, to the philosophical grounds we already occupy today: those of thinking about human rights as fundamental, not derivative, i.e. thinking about justice as a primary, not secondary moral ideal. There are three related yet distinct philosophical claims here. First, the British idealists saw clearly the stand off between justice and virtue. Secondly, the personal ethics of Green and Bosanquet, with some reconstruction offered here, outlines the way in which this stand off can be resolved without undermining its significance. Thirdly, the personal ethics perspective is beneficial for resolving some of the difficulties surrounding the institutional approach of implementing of social justice.

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