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Publication detailsDimova-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.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1474-8851, 1741-2730
- DOI: 10.1177/1474885110386005
- Keywords: Bosanquet, Justice, Moral action, Recognition, Rights, T. H. Green.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
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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