Friday, August 10, 2007

Another Not-So Innocent Question

So far as I can remember, G. A. Cohen's defence of the ethos he claims, against most Rawlsian egalitarians, is demanded by Rawlsian egalitarianism, when pressed on the claim that the basic structure is the proper subject of theories of social justice, has been that the ethos could be a part of the basic structure. Assuming that the basic structure is the proper subject of theories of social justice, even if Cohen is right that the ethos would be a part of the basic structure, that does not seem to exhaust the potential objections derived from that claim. This is because the lack of an ethos may not be a part of the basic structure, which, if the basic structure restriction is well-motivated, would mean that the lack of an ethos could not demand an ethos as a matter of social justice. The lack of an ethos might not be part of the basic structure because the absence of co-ordinated behaviour is not generally a public political institution. The question, then, is whether it is important for Cohen's defence of his ethos that the lack of the ethos, as well as the ethos itself, is a part of the basic structure.

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