A Theory of Ecological Justice

By Brian Baxter | Go to book overview

7

Liberal theories of justice and the non-human

In many ways the theory of justice which Rawls developed and refined is not obviously any more promising as a basis for developing a theory of ecological justice than are those of Nozick and Walzer. It, too, seems to presuppose that justice is something which fundamentally can obtain only between fully fledged moral persons. As was the case with Nozick and Walzer, Rawls barely discusses the morality of relations between humans and non-humans. Also, Rawls and Nozick share at least one point in common, namely the Kantian starting point that justice concerns the relations between autonomous beings capable of mutual recognition as moral equals. However, it has from time to time appeared possible to find materials within Rawls's approach to facilitate the construction of a theory of justice which allows a natural place for non-persons. To understand these possibilities we need to say a bit more about the development of Rawls's ideas.

As is well known, Rawls's theory went through various stages of development, among which some of the most important occurred after the publication of A Theory of Justice. The crucial move here involved the reconceptualization of Rawls's theory by its author as a political rather than a comprehensive, or metaphysical, doctrine. By this he meant that he offered it as a way of understanding how, within pluralist societies, it would be possible to find an 'overlapping consensus' between citizens with different value commitments on fundamental constitutional matters so as to enable a well-ordered society to exist, rather than as a doctrine of the ideal society which could only ever hope to attract the adherence of a limited number of people (Rawls 2001).

Corresponding to these two stages are two ways of looking for room to embody a theory of ecological justice within Rawls's theory. The first is to examine whether his device of the Original Position could allow non-humans entry into the debate on justice, by a suitable thickening of the veil of ignorance behind which the participants in the Original Position are supposed to engage in their deliberations. The second is to analyse the concept of the overlapping consensus within political liberalism in order to find room for the idea that non-humans can have a claim to be treated justly within Rawls's well-ordered society. As it turns out, the former approach has the great advantage, from the point of view of ecological justice, that if it succeeds then non-humans can be given some form of constitutional protection for their interests. However, unfortunately it does not succeed. The latter

-95-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Theory of Ecological Justice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 207

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.