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On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy$
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G. A. Cohen and Michael Otsuka

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148700

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.001.0001

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Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

(p.203) Chapter Nine Mind the Gap
On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy

G. A. Cohen

, Michael Otsuka
Princeton University Press

This chapter considers Thomas Nagel's approach to political philosophy and argues that his various statements about reasonable rejection generate an inconsistency at a politically sensitive point. Nagel is aware that his endorsement of rich people's opposition to radical redistribution “may seem to authorize pure selfishness,” but, he says, “that is too harsh a word for resistance to a radical drop in the standard of living of oneself and one's family.” That word might be too harsh, but Nagel's verdict that the rich need accept only a moderate (that is, nonradical) drop in their wealth is too soft. Officially, and, in Cohen's view, rightly, he depreciates the moral weight of the status quo, but the status quo seems, in the end, to preponderate in his judgment.

Keywords:   Thomas Nagel, G. A. Cohen, rich people, moral theory, political philosophy, redistribution

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