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By Paul Kelly

Brian Barry's Justice as Impartiality confronts matters on the middle of recent political philosophy. this significant assortment examines numerous facets of his argument and expands the dialogue past the textual content to discover wider concerns on the heart of latest debates concerning the nature and theories of distributive justice. It brings jointly responses from quite a lot of Barry's critics together with feminists, utilitarians, mutual virtue theorists, care theorists and anti-contractarians. compatible for either undergraduates and teachers operating in political and criminal thought, this article serves as a terrific spouse quantity to Barry's paintings. the growth of every contributor's concentration past the problems raised through Barry capacity this article additionally stands as a contribution to political proposal in its personal correct.

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Extra resources for Impartiality, Neutrality and Justice: Re-reading Brian Barry's Justice as Impartiality

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But Weale argues that Barry also departs from this British tradition by introducing an 'unnecessary epicycle' into his argument by using a contractarian justification. In a complex and detailed argument Weale assesses what the contract method adds to Barry's argument and concludes that it contributes nothing that cannot be achieved by the kind of normative theorizing found in Barry's earlier book Political Argument. Weale's broader point is to redirect normative political theory away from this preoccupation with method and to concentrate instead on substantive arguments for political principles.

18 J. F. Nash, 'The Bargaining Problem', Econometrica, 18 (1950), 15562; R. B. Braithwaite, Theory of Games. Page 16 according to Barry, is that principles for solving such problems must advance the interests of all of the parties involved. From this central claim there flow a number of corollaries. One of these is that for there to be the possibility of mutual advantage, there must first be a non-agreement point as the status quo, providing the baseline from which individuals can judge the acceptability of potential gains.

The 'circumstances of impartiality' apply in the original position, with equal representation of all points of view. 4. Interests are aggregated. 4. Arguments are weighed. 20 Barry regards the desire to be able to justify one's conduct as an original principle of human behaviour, and affirms that 'the equation of rationality with the efficient pursuit of self-interest is . . 21 The key idea in this formulation, therefore, is that free and equal persons, placed in a situation in which they will have to defend the justice of their material and other possessions by argument, can be thought of as constrained by the notion of a reasonable agreement, in such a way that determinate principles of social justice will emerge from the process of discussion and debate.

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