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Sociology: Research


Paper Details

Author: Stanley Raffel

Title: Recent Social and Political Theory and the Problem of Justice

Year: 1995

ISBN: 1-900522-15-2

In political philosophy, work by the communitarians (Macintyre, Sandel, Taylor, Walzer) has shown that thinking about justice has certainly not ceased with Rawls. But little has been done yet to relate these developments to a possible sociological theory of justice. This paper is best described as part of this emerging work. In particular, I borrow (from Macintyre) the anti-Rawlsian insight into the continuing link between desert and justice, but I also try to suggest how Macintyre's version of desert (as consequences) is not cognizant of recent sociological thinking because Macintyre is implicitly accepting an outmoded image of the actor as governed by shared rules. The paper argues for another way of conceptualizing the idea of desert which makes theories of justice available for the currently important problem (to Habermas, to anti-postivists, etc.) of the possibility of developing a moral, reflective social actor.