Justice, Equal Opportunity and the Family

James S. Fishkin

View Inside Price: $23.00


September 10, 1984
200 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
ISBN: 9780300032499
Paper

Three common assumptions of both liberal theory and political debate are the autonomy of the family, the principle of merit, and equality of life chances.  Fishkin argues that even under the best conditions, commitment to any two of these principles precludes the third.
“A brief survey and brilliant critique of contemporary liberal political theory…. A must for all political theory or public policy collections.” –Choice
“The strong points of Fishkin’s book are many.  He raises provocative issues, locates them within a broader theoretical framework, and demonstrates an urgent need for liberals to set certain priorities.  His main message—that liberalism has radical implications for ordinary life—needs to be heard by many.”  --Virginia L. Warren, Michigan Law Review
“A highly original and powerfully argued book…. Fishkin is undoubtedly right, and his warning needs to be taken seriously…. This is not a book that catechizes us about what we should believe concerning the practicalities of distributive justice.  It is a book that advises us about how we need to think about beliefs that are already popular dogmas, in the interest of making sense.” –James Gaffney, America
James S. Fishkin is associate professor of political science at Yale University.  He is also the author of The Limits of Obligation and Beyond Subjective Morality

"Carefully argued and well organized. . . . A very significant and important work in political and social philosophy and must be read by all those for whom the question of the viability of liberalism is still open."—George Schedler, Heythrop Journal

“A brief survey and brilliant critique of contemporary liberal political theory…. A must for all political theory or public policy collections.”—Choice

 

“A highly original and powerfully argued book. . . . Fishkin is undoubtedly right, and his warning needs to be taken seriously. . . . This is not a book that catechizes us about what we should believe concerning the practicalities of distributive justice.  It is a book that advises us about how we need to think about beliefs that are already popular dogmas, in the interest of making sense.”—James Gaffney, America

“The strong points of Fishkin’s book are many.  He raises provocative issues, locates them within a broader theoretical framework, and demonstrates an urgent need for liberals to set certain priorities.  His main message—that liberalism has radical implications for ordinary life—needs to be heard by many.”—Virginia L. Warren, Michigan Law Review

"This is a lucid, informed, and engaging book. Unlike so many others, Fishkin is not content to condemn or praise liberalism but is determined to test its grasp on those hard choices. Not only will the book enlighten its readers, but it will also provoke discussion."—M. W. Jackson, American Political Science Review

 

"Fishkin has accomplished an extremely useful and, especially at the present time, important task in showing in fairly excruciating detail that contemporary liberals are whistling in the dark: the fact is, they cannot have what they want, and there is nothing for it but to rethink 'intuition'!"—Jan Narveson, Ethics

"Fishkin has written a helpful work for thoughtful democrats and republicans, with both small and capital 'ds's and r's.' He shows that values are always in play in public policy, and that the making of public policy forces us, to use his phrase, to have 'ideals without an ideal.'"—Joseph Amato, Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science 
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