Best political philosophy/theory papers

by Chris Bertram on May 17, 2004

I know that a largish number of political theorists and philosophers read Crooked Timber, and some of them even write for it! I’m interested in opinions about the most significant journal papers in the field over the past 10 years (we can start with 1994 to keep things simple. I’m especially interested to hear about papers that others consider fine, but which have not received the attention they deserve. Here are five suggestions from me to start us off, some well known, others less so (post other ideas in comments):

Thomas Pogge, “An Egalitarian Law of Peoples”, Philosophy and Public Affairs (1994).
G.A. Cohen, “Where the Action Is” , Philosophy and Public Affairs (1997).
Michael Ridge, “Hobbesian Public Reason”, Ethics (1998).
Elizabeth Anderson, “What is the point of equality?” Ethics (1999).
David Schmidtz, “How to Deserve”, Political Theory (2002).

UPDATE: With the permission of my co-bloggers, I’m moving this post up to the top again in the hope of getting a few more submissions. On a related note, I’m happy to see that two of my own selections (Anderson and Cohen) and a different paper from another one of my chosen authors (Pogge) are included in Matthew Clayton and Andrew Williams (eds) Social Justice , my copy of which arrived in this morning’s post.



Russell Arben Fox 05.14.04 at 4:57 pm

Are you restricting us to articles which appeared only in print journals? I hope not. Anywhere, here are a few I’ve read, and cited, multiple times:

Michael Walzer, “On Negative Politics,” in Liberalism Without Illusions, Bernard Yack, ed. (1996).

Amitai Etzioni, “A Moderate Communitarian Proposal,” Political Theory (May 1996).

Sheldon Wolin, “What Time Is It?” Theory & Event 1:1 (1997).

Charles Taylor, “Living With Difference,” in Debating Democracy’s Discontent, Anita Allen and Milton Reagan, eds. (1998).

George Kateb, “Aetheticism and Morality,” Political Theory (February 2000).

Bernard Yack, “Popular Sovereignty and Nationalism,” Political Theory (August 2001).


Chris Bertram 05.14.04 at 5:00 pm

I had limited myself to that, but there’s no obligation on others.


adm 05.14.04 at 5:17 pm

While I like much of Anderson’s stuff, I have to disagree on this Ethics article –its about twice as long as it needs to be and many of the arguments just seem to amount to (implausible) assertions.


asg 05.14.04 at 5:42 pm

John Hasnas, “Reflections on the Minimal State”, 2 Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 115 (2003) (

Anthony D’Amato, “On the Connection Between Law and Justice,” 26 UC Davis Law Review 527 (1993).(

Michael Huemer, “Why People Are Irrational About Politics” (I don’t know if/where this one has been published) (


Aeon Skoble 05.14.04 at 5:46 pm

Here’s one journal article and one philosophical piece from a law review:
Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen, “Ethical Individualism, Natural Law, and the Primacy of Natural Rights,” Social Philosophy and Policy vol. 18 no. 1, Winter 2001.
John Hasnas, “The Myth of The Rule of Law,” Wisconsin Law Review 1995.
Also, I concur with your Schmidtz selection. Like the three people I cite above, he’s very underrated and underappreciated.


asg 05.14.04 at 5:55 pm

I had trouble deciding between “Reflections” and “Myth” by Hasnas, so I’m glad someone else decided to cite the one I didn’t pick. ;)


Douglass Carmichael 05.14.04 at 7:00 pm

It would be very helpful, when possible, to add electronic links if the papers, even if first appeared in print, are now on the net.


Brett 05.14.04 at 7:12 pm

Sheldon Wolin, “The Liberal-Democratic Divide:on Rawls’s Political Liberalism,” Political Theory, 24 (1) 1996

A little off topic and a shameless plug for my advisor:

Rogers Smith, “The Inherent Deceptiveness of Constitutional Discourse: Diagnosis and Prescription,” NOMOS XL (1998)


asg 05.14.04 at 7:42 pm

It looks like a lot of these papers are not available in electronic form. Since I’m no longer a student and have no JSTOR or Nexis access, seeing cool paper titles is like the Tanthalas story in Greek mythology.


Cathal Copeland 05.14.04 at 7:46 pm

What about taking a walk on the wild side and familiarising yourselves with Richard Posner’s ‘The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory’?

Though I suppose that’s on your index librorum prohibitorum.

Reviewed here:


DJW 05.14.04 at 8:29 pm

I disagree with ADM on the Anderson article; all the arguments may not pan out, but many important ones do, and it’s quite rich–even the arguments that don’t quite pan out reward serious contemplation.

I also agree with Russell Arben Fox w/r/t that Taylor piece.

I’d also put in a vote for Christine Di Stefano, “Autonomy in Light of Difference” in Revisioning the Political: Feminist Reconstructions of Traditional Concepts in Western Political Theory, Hirschmann, Di Stefano, Jaggar, eds., Westview, 1997.

Jeffrey Issac, “Oases in the Desert: Hannah Arendt on Democratic Politics” American POlitical Science Review March 1994.

Nancy Fraser, “From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a ‘Postsocialist’ Age.” New Left Review no. 212 (July/August 1995): 68-93.

And while it’s not a explicitly a political theory article by a political theorist, I think the following is important for political theorists to read (but don’t try to write about it, because I’m working on that article!):

Harriet McBryde Johnson, “Unspeakable Conversations,” NYT Magazine, Feb. 13 2003.

I could go on and on, this is just off the top of my head.

And thanks for the pointer on How to Deserve, what a great article.


Matt 05.14.04 at 9:50 pm

While G.A. Cohen’s “…action” paper has surely been influential, I also think it’s pretty clearly all wrong as well. What seems to me to be the definitive rebutal is Josh Cohen’s paper “Taking People as they Are” in Philosophy and Public Affairs 2003. (There are several other good attacks on Cohen’s project, which seems a total failure to me, but this one seems the strongest.)


micah 05.14.04 at 11:41 pm

On my list of underappreciated papers, I’d include:

Michael Hardimon, ‘The Project of Reconciliation: Hegel’s Social Philosophy,’ Philosophy & Public Affairs 21 (Spring 1992): 165-195.

Larry Krasnoff, ‘Consensus, Stability, and Normativity in Rawls’s Political Liberalism,’ Journal of Philosophy (June 1998): 269-293.

Larmore, ‘The Idea of a Life Plan,’ Social Philosophy & Policy (Winter 1999): 96-112.

These might not make anyone’s list of the best papers from the last decade, but I learned a lot from them.


Andersonite 05.15.04 at 12:57 am

DJW is dead on about Anderson. It’s a genuinely important paper, in that it takes on what had become a standard interpretation of Rawls, and a theory of equality in its own right–one subscribed to by many major theorists, most notably perhaps Dworkin–and argues explicitly that the theory is cockeyed and implicitly that it mistakes Rawls’ own views.
If justice is the first virtue, and the view Anderson takes on had taken hold as firmly as I think it had, then Chris is right to rank it as he does.


vivian 05.15.04 at 1:04 am

Chris, you got three of my favorites (Anderson, Cohen, Pogge) – thanks. I really enjoyed this one, what do you all think of:

– Partha Dasgupta & Karl-Göran Mäler”Wealth as a Criterion for Sustainable Development” World Econ (2001)?

Not underrated, but there was the Rawls/Habermas exchange in Journal of Philosophy 1995.

Friends disagree, but I really enjoyed
– Martha Nussbaum “Duties of Justice, Duties of Material Aif: Cicero’s Problematic Legacy” J Pol Phil 2001
(not sure if it is either Very Important or unjustly underrated, but it was worth mentioning)

Also at least half of the articles in Metaphilosophy from Jan 2001

But definitely this deserves to be more widely known:

– Michael Blake “Distributive Justice, State Coercion and Autonomy”, Philosophy and Public Affairs 2001


Colin Farrelly 05.15.04 at 1:15 am

Great post Chris! I think the following are excellent papers that deserve greater attention:

Pauline Kleingeld “Kantian Patriotism.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (2000).

Jeremy Waldron “Judicial Review and the Conditions of Democracy” Journal of Political Philosophy, 1998.

Allen Buchanan “Genetic Intervention and Equal Opportunity” Socil Philosophy and Policy, 1995.


Douglass Carmichael 05.15.04 at 1:32 am

Not sure how it fits. I am not in agreement with much of the conclusions, but he certainly raises the issues that inform the present. The work of Eric Voegelin , such as his eight volume history of political ideas.


Jacob T. Levy 05.15.04 at 1:38 am

A very nice question! The two articles that sprang immediately to mind, before I saw your list, were the Anderson and the Schmidtz. Will think about the others,,,


Jon Mandle 05.15.04 at 2:45 am

Not so easy:

I second Vivian’s inclusion of Michael Blake’s “Distributive Justice, State Coercion and Autonomy.”

Matt mentions Josh Cohen’s “Taking People as they Are” – I also like David Estlund’s , “Liberalism, Equality, and Fraternity in Cohen’s Critique of Rawls,” The Journal of Political Philosophy, (March, 1998).

More Josh Cohen: “Procedure and Substance in Deliberative Democracy” in Deliberative Democracy, James Bohman, ed.

Nobody has yet mentioned Rawls’s “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited” (reprinted in his The Law of Peoples).

In the more obscure category is Walter Schaller’s excellent piece, “Rawls, the Difference Principle, and Economic Inequality,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (Dec., 1998).


Bill Edmundson 05.15.04 at 4:29 am

John Simmons, “Justification and Legitimacy,” Ethics 109:739-71 (1999) should be on the list. Less attended to but deserving is an exchange: Jeremy Waldron, “Kagan on Requirements: Mill on Sanctions,” Ethics 104:310-24; and Shelly Kagan, “Defending Options,” Ethics 104:333-51.


fox force five 05.15.04 at 6:23 am

Derek Parfit, “Equality and Priority”, Ratio, 1997.

I reckon this is pretty good; dunno if it’s what you had in mind by “political philosophy” though.


Pablo Stafforini 05.15.04 at 6:48 am

Alan Carter, ‘Analytical Anarchism’, Political Theory 28, 2 (2000): 230–53.


harry 05.16.04 at 2:58 pm

Richard Miller ‘Cosmopolitan Respect and Patriotic Concern’ PPA 1999. Terrific piece, barely seems to have been noticed.

Also, A.J. Julius ‘The Basic Structure and Equality’ PPA 2003 — in my view the best refutation of Cohen on the basic structure issue (too early to tell whether it has been neglected!)


AI 05.17.04 at 4:09 am

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, “Arneson on Equality of Opportunity for Welfare”, Jounral of Political Philosophy 7, 1999: 478-87.

Shelly Kegan, “Equality and Desert”, Louis P. Pojman and Owen McLeod, eds., What Do We Deserve? Oxford University Press, 1999: 298-314.


Jon 05.17.04 at 12:40 pm

I would strongly second Micah’s nomination of the Krasnoff article – I think it changed more than a few people’s views of Political Liberalism. I would also say that, for my money, the definitive rebuttal of Cohen’s article, ‘Where the Action Is,’ is in fact the piece by Andrew Williams, ‘Incentives, Inequality, and Publicity,’ Philosophy & Public Affairs 27 (1998). I would also nominate Joseph Chan’s article, ‘Legitimacy, Unanimity and Perfection,’ Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (2000) as an important contribution to the neutrality/perfectionism debate.


Will Wilkinson 05.17.04 at 3:15 pm

Edward F. McClennen, “The Strategy of Cooperation,” Christopher W. Morris and Arthur Ripstein, eds., Practical Rationality and Preference, CUP, 2001: 189-208

Methodological, but with very important normative implications.


Lwandile 05.17.04 at 3:20 pm


You might not be aware, but Cohen is working on a response to Williams, some of which is contained here:


Will Wilkinson 05.17.04 at 3:22 pm

John Tomasi, “Should Political Liberals be Compassionate Conservatives?: Philosophical Foundations of the Faith-Based Initiative,” Social Philosophy & Policy 21/1 (January 2004).


Jacob T. Levy 05.17.04 at 4:38 pm

Some that aren’t nearly as well-known as they ought to be (at least in the U.S.):

Wayne Norman, “‘Inevitable and Unacceptable?’ Methodological Rawlsianism in Anglo-American Political Philosophy” 46(2) Political Studies 276-294

Margaret Canovan, “Sleeping Dogs, Prowling Cats and Soaring Doves: Three Paradoxes in the Political Theory of Nationhood,” 49(2) Political Studies 203-215

Steven Wall, “Freedom, Interference and Domination,” 49(2) Political Studies 216-230


Russell Arben Fox 05.17.04 at 5:07 pm

Ditto to Jacob’s comment on the Canovan article on nationalism and political theory; a very nice and thoughtful piece. Two other very good essays on the general meanings of nationality for political thought are Catherine Frost, “The Worth of Nations,” The Journal of Political Philosophy, 9(4), 2001; and Erica Benner, “Is There a Core National Doctrine?” Nations and Nationalism, 7(2), 2001.


Jacob T. Levy 05.17.04 at 5:26 pm

I notice via trackback that Chris Lawrence writes: “Theorists agree: the APSR sucks…I roughly estimate two dozen nominations so far. Exactly one of them appeared in The American Political Science Review. Open question: is there any subfield of political science that is well-represented by the travesty that is the contemporary APSR?”

The APSR is getting better on theory; the last three years seem to me to have been much better than any previous time. Not very good yet, mind you, but getting better.

It seems to me (but see qualification below) that the APSR can’t ever be a very top journal in political theory, for the perfectly good reason that political theorists in political science departments want our work to also be read by philosophers, approximately none of whom will shell out for an APSA membership just to read an occasional important theory article. The work that we don’t care about philosophers reading, especially history of political thought work, we might care about intellectual historians reading– and so a top article that’s not suited for Ethics, PPA, or JPP might go to HPT or JHI instead. (Political Theory would publish either sort.)

[The qualification: I don’t quite understand how Political Studies, which should face precisely the same issues, consistently maintains such a strong theory component.]

Some of this affects Comparative as well; at least a fair amount of comparative work is of greater interest to area-studies people in other disciplines than it is to the rest of political science. And so some comparative work automatically selects away from the APSR, and the APSR gets a reputation as being not a top place for comparative, and the spiral continues.

I’m surprised to see Chris ask the question in just that way; he’s an Americanist-methodologist, which is supposed to be the audience that the APSR *is* well-designed to serve.


harry 05.17.04 at 5:57 pm

That’s an interesting diagnosis Jacob. Shouldn’t the increasing availability of online access through university libraries affect the quality of submissions to APSR — because philosophers no longer need either to shell out for APSR or even visit a library for it?

Your parenthetical comment about Political Studies must be answered by path-dependency considerations. Political philosophy was long disvalued by Brit philosophy departments so political philosopher/theorists were much more likely to be in Politics departments, were happy to publish in Political Studies, so that it became a journal that American political philosophers in philosophy departments routinely looked at; and it has kept that up. Anecdotal evidence: Sometime in the 80s in graduate school (Philosophy, US) I was advised to send something there; I’d never have been advised to send one to any US PS journal. (I didn’t do it — it joined the pile of papers I never sent anywhere, and a good thing too).


Craig Duncan 05.17.04 at 6:31 pm

I second the votes for Anderson’s “What is the Point of Equality?” as well as the Cohen article.

I’d add:

Martha Nussbaum, “The Feminist Critique of Liberalism” reprinted in her Sex and Social Justice.

Brian Barry, “Statism and Nationalism: A Cosmopolitan Critique” in the NOMOS volume titled Global Justice (1999).

Allen Buchanan’s “Political Legitimacy and Democracy” (Ethics 112/4 2002)is also quite good.

A side question. I haven’t kept up well with the literature in the wake of Anderson’s article. Has there been much further development of her positive proposal, viz. “democratic equality”?

I’m aware of some earlier work that foreshadows her article (e.g. some material in Walzer’s Spheres of Justice + some of David Miller’s writings: “Equality and Justice,” Ratio Dec 97; “Equality and Market Socialism,” in Market Socialism: The Current Debate). I’m not, however, aware of any further defenses of “democratic equality” as such since Anderson’s article. Any advice?


DJW 05.17.04 at 7:28 pm


Anne Phillips short book Which Equalities Matter? strikes me as a rather Andersonian argument. It came out in the same year, I think, and I don’t recall if she cites or explicitly discusses Anderson’s article.


loren 05.17.04 at 7:51 pm

craig: “I’m not, however, aware of any further defenses of “democratic equality” as such since Anderson’s article. Any advice?”

When you say “defense” what exactly do you have in mind? I guess I’ve defended it in passing against GA Cohen and Robert Nozick (although you probably meant: “has it been defended by any famous people who I’ve actually heard of?”).

I doubt I’m alone in taking this general approach to considerations of equality and fairness. Also, I seem to recall that Josh Cohen was using the term “democratic equality” with reference to Rawls back in the late 1980s, and his reading seems to me consonant with Anderson’s position (but that’s a rough impression — haven’t revisited the Anderson paper for a while now).

Good papers mentioned so far — a few more that are either fun, good, or both:

James Johnson’s delightful in-your-face piece from the American Journal of Political Science in 2000, “Why Respect Culture?” heh!

Robert Taylor’s tight analysis of the priority of liberty in Theory of Justice, from P&PA in 2003.

Peter Vanderschraaf’s clear and constructive review essay on Skyrms and Binmore, again from P&PA, in 2000.

Oh, particular to the United States, three recent contributions to the category: “is this political sociology? empirical political science? normative political theory? applied political theory?” …

Archon Fung’s studies of deliberation on the ground in Chicago, from Politics and Society in 2001 (now part of a longer book, just out from Princeton UP).

Eric Oliver on class, race, boundaries, and civic attitudes in U.S. metropolitan areas, from the American Journal of Political Science in 1999, and the American Political Science Review in 2000 (also part of a recent book, again from Princeton UP).

And in the same rough category:

Scott et. al. on “Just Deserts: an experimental study of distributive justice norms” from the American Journal of Political Science in 2001.


Jacob T. Levy 05.17.04 at 8:35 pm

Ah, yes. I’d forgotten about Taylor’s PPA piece; I’ll second that one.

Hayyr asked: “Shouldn’t the increasing availability of online access through university libraries affect the quality of submissions to APSR — because philosophers no longer need either to shell out for APSR or even visit a library for it?”

I dunno. I’m pretty computer-addicted, and I don’t as routinely scan the tables of contents for journals that I don’t subscribe to. Back before CARL Uncover got acquired and screwed up I did; but part of the point of continuing to subscribe to hard-copy journals is that those are the journals whose contents I’ll scan when they come in, the journals thatwill sit on my shelves for immediate consultation when I’m looking something up, etc. It’s got to make some marginal difference which journals we still get in hard copy, doesn’t it? Or am I being uncharacteristically Luddite here?


Tano 05.17.04 at 9:56 pm

May I suggest compiling this list on a page and linking to it from the main page?


Matt 05.17.04 at 11:16 pm

On “Democratic Equality”, that’s how Norman Daniels characterizes Rawls’s position in his (very good, I think) article “Rawls’s Complex Egalitarianism” in the Cambridge Companion to Rawls. I can’t say for sure what it’s relationship to Anderson’s view is, but both oppose luck egalitarianism. (Rightfully so, I think.)


vivian 05.18.04 at 1:42 am

Crain writes: “I’m not, however, aware of any further defenses of “democratic equality” as such since Anderson’s article. Any advice?”

Well, there’s Samuel Scheffler’s “What Is Egalitarianism?” from PAPA Jan 2003. The reasoning is similar, but more of a positive explanation of the value of equality than a rollicking critique of a spectrum of thought (which made the Anderson article so much fun, as well as interesting).

“Fairness, Respect and the Egalitarian Ethos” by Jo Wolff (who commented in another post very recently) PAPA Spring 1998 (so technically it precedes Anderson, but they read as if independently derived).

I Second Tano’s suggestion, namely, that someone else compile all the recommendations into a convenient list for folks like me to peruse as needed. (then again, you CTers do lots of other things to make readers’ lives easier, so perhaps it isn’t a greedy thing to request.)


vivian 05.18.04 at 1:55 am


I wouldn’t call you a Luddite, but perhaps you (and I and many others) have not yet optimized our “keeping up” strategies for the evolving online libraries. I subscribe to a couple of journal notification email lists (yes, the Uncover ones used to be better, but they still work), even for journals that I don’t subscribe to, including a couple way out of my fields. I’m not sure if APSR has notification for non-subscribers, but it might. It’s pretty easy to wander into the Political Science department waiting room and browse the table of contents while waiting for a coffee or a friend though. I suspect that you find it easier to skip these steps because you’re more productive and less prone to waste time; adding that to your blog and the case for Luddism is blown completely.


TheLastDJ 05.18.04 at 1:50 pm

Anderson’s article is certainly amusing. It’s a shame it has no arguments.


Alex Fradera 05.18.04 at 3:50 pm

If this was to be compiled, I vote for a subcategory of good, important papers that are particularly accessible for non-specialists. This could include particularly good reviews of issues, or theoretical problems that are given a strong grounding in real-world examples so the non-philosopher can get through it if they persevere.


Jacob T. Levy 05.18.04 at 4:07 pm

“accessible to non-specialists”

Hm. Unfortunately it’s kind of in the nature of the thread [“significant journal papers in the field “] that there won’t be many of those. We’ve tended to list articles that made some real progress in some existing debate, refined old issues in a particularly important way, etc. Most of the articles are in some way dependent on having followed the Rawls literature since Political Liberalism (or, for some, the even-more-recent Law of Peoples). There are good overview/ review essays as well (I really like Charles Larmore’s New Republic review essay of Law of Peoples/ Collected Papers), but they’re different from these.

It’s typically the case that books do more than peer-reviewed articles do to set the broader picture, connect the particular argument in the literature with the bigger problems in the world, and introduce the reader to the topic. Articles often depend on the thought that you’ve at least read some of the books under discussion, or have a working familiarity with what they say. I think non-specialists interested in a field (this field, at least) are better off with a couple of books than with a pile of journal articles. Review essays in places like LRB, NYRoB, and TNR can also be very valuable.


DJW 05.18.04 at 4:30 pm

I’ve taught Anderson’s essay to students with little background in philosophy and political theory and they did pretty well with it. Ditto what Jacob said about having to follow at least the broad contours of Rawls debates, and the value of substantive reviews in the publications he mentions.


Alex Fradera 05.18.04 at 5:07 pm

Fair enough. The book point I readily take – I would be totally unequipped had I not read up on Rawls recently, thanks to Crooked Timber no less (Jon Mandle’s ‘WLOL?’), so I suppose the next step would be to find related and complimentary tomes. Had I the time, I would, but philosophy and politics are my guilty ‘pleasures’ and I have other realms of knowledge competing to get inside my head: neuropsychology thesis to write up in 12-14 months and closing.

So articles are an ideal way to go about it; moverover, they’re something I’m accustomed to reading anyway. And certainly in my field there are cases of important work being achieved within the boundaries of an accessible, well-written article that assumes little and explains as it goes. I was just looking for any exemplars of those. Of course, the intersect between ‘accessible’ and ‘important’ probably varies from academic domain, due to the epistemological tools brought to bear, the formal approach of the area, and the temperament of the community members…


Alex Fradera 05.18.04 at 5:10 pm

… but I think there’s already some good pointers on this thread I will take up. Thanks for that.


vivian 05.19.04 at 1:04 am


Although Jacob is generally right about the book/article distinction, what you might find most useful would be a list of the best Review Articles. (They probably have these in neuropsych journals too. In case you use the words differently, I refer to articles that summarize recent developments (10/30 yrs) a particular debate, or subfield, for people in other subspecialties. For example, Beitz summarized three approaches to international justice in World Politics in 2000, a journal for the international relations community.)

Perhaps we could start a new thread recommending the best political theory/philosophy/something else review articles. These would be useful for people in other fields, for teaching, and heck, for the dedicated professional.


Alex Fradera 05.19.04 at 11:42 am

Thanks Vivian. I’ll check the paper out; moreover I second your suggestion for a review thread. Oh that this were a real committee! Actually, maybe not.


DJW 05.19.04 at 7:11 pm

That Beitz paper is very good, and helpful, although a touch outdated given the rate at which that field is advancing.

Here’s a review essay I’d strongly recommend–Ellis Goldberg’s “Regarding the Imperial State” in Political Theory April 2004. It’s not long enough to really make substantial arguments, but I think it covers a really important set of issues for liberal theorists. It reviews James Scott’s most recent book, Seeing Like a State, Sen’s Development as Freedom (he gets a nice dig in here–what’s wrong with Political Scientists such that they pay more attention to Douglass North on political economy than they do Sen?), and Mehta’s excellent Liberalism and Empire.

He uses these three books to begin the process of making the case that liberal theorists (and comparativists) have seriously undertheorized and the concept of ‘state capacity,’ and Burke (who looms behind all three of these books) could certainly help them. I’m pretty convinced he’s on to something.


artclone 05.25.04 at 6:06 am

For anyone looking:

G. A. Cohen’s “Taking People . . .” article mentioned above is in the Fall Philosophy and Public Affairs, not 2003.

The article does not derail Josh Cohen’s “project”, in fact the only real departures are the belief that institutions can change an ethos and that people need to be able to connect their identity to their relative social postion to be free. I’m not convinced.


artclone 05.25.04 at 6:07 am

For anyone looking:

G. A. Cohen’s “Taking People . . .” article mentioned above is in the Fall Philosophy and Public Affairs, not 2003.

The article does not derail Josh Cohen’s “project”, in fact the only real departures are the belief that institutions can change an ethos and that people need to be able to connect their identity to their relative social postion to be free. I’m not convinced.

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