In Justice for Hedgehogs (JH), Ronald Dworkin has written a truly remarkable philosophical work. It advances a bold treatment of all the. Baedeker — Independence. Truth in morals — External skepticism — Morals and causes — Internal skepticism — Interpretation. Moral responsibility — Interpretation . One of the greatest legal and moral philosophers of the postwar era, Ronald Dworkin argues in his new book, Justice for Hedgehogs, that there.

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Justice for Hedgehogs // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

Don’t have an account? Thus, at least, argues Dworkin. How directly is the agent confronted by the victim’s need? Dworkin insists many interpretations are true or false. Dworkin’s account of interpretation takes aim against the view that moral concepts possess criteria which philosophers can discover through analysis, then utilize to guide moral decisions. This ethical framework sets the key interpretive challenge: Freddie Ayer argued that moral judgments are just grunts of approval or disapproval.

Morality and Duties to Others Dworkin’s interpretation of duties to others aims to establish the unity of value. I felt similarly reading Justice for Hedgehogs, the year-old professor of philosophy’s grand, perhaps culminating, statement of what truth is, what life means, what morality requires and justice demands.

Dworkin interprets the equal importance principle and the personal responsibility principle to determine the extent of these duties. To answer this question we require an interpretation that identifies some more fundamental value that underlies and fixes the value of liberty and thus can determine which concrete liberties have this value and which do not. But I am loathe to deter you from reading what is a very fine book, especially given my distracted state reading it. Can moral interpretation ground a single true account of justice?

Yet at the same time, my dignity grounds the recognition that the lives of others and their self-respect possess equal and objective importance, so that they ought not be a matter of indifference to me.

The Right to Justification: Now morality is perceived as being about self-sacrifice. Dworkin’s discussion of interpretive judgment covers various fields of inquiry. Probalistic refers to choices a reasonable person would make for themselves. Dworkin’s basic claim is for what he calls the “unity of value” and the claim that people can work to ethical truth rather than to a variety of competing claims to the truth.

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This is the familiar idea that a just society based on equal concern insures its members against poverty, hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, illness, unemployment, drudgery, idleness, etc. The price of disconnecting the concept of a good life from human dignity may be a disunity between the value of a good life and both that of living well and moral duties to others.

A critic may hold that Dworkin’s morality of aid simply reduces to 1 a trade-off between the importance of others’ lives and responsibility for one’s own life based on 2 a metric of three variables: The Galilean revolution once made the theological world of value safe for science.

Basically, ethical truths were viewed as analogously to discovering “things” “out there” in the way a scientist studies bodies or a theologian studies God. Mr Brendel’s wife of 31 years, Irene, is stepping out with Professor Dworkin. This is a striking and inspiring result of Dworkin’s interpretive paradigm of the unity of value! Half of JH is devoted to a meta-ethical inquiry in which Dworkin establishes the autonomy of moral judgment, true moral convictions as the aim of such judgment, and ‘interpretation’ as the sole and sufficient guide to truths about value.

Dworkin treats truth as an interpretive concept, not a criterial one. He understands political rights as protections of interests of persons that are so weighty that they trump other social goals, such as economic growth.


Metalinguistic Negotiations and The Methodology of Philosophy. Secondly, he advances the view that all interpretation is a value-laden practice in that it makes judgments about 1 the value of the object being interpreted and 2 the value of interpretation itself in a given domain of inquiry.

The upshot is that equal concern should focus on resources of general value such as wealth because their distribution allows personal responsibility for determining one’s ends or notion of well-being, as well as the conduct one chooses to use such resources to attain one’s ends. Every now and again the book morphs into an essay on some recent legal or policy issue in the US that seems to have wandered in from the New York Review of Books, politely insisting that it is only fair that it should now occupy a few pages here and there.

Article PDF first page preview. Living well is the ethical responsibility of the person whose life is at stake. He reclines, suave and donnish, in his grey armchair.

It shows a healthy skepticism of any claim to know the single truth. Interpretation and Moral Responsibility Dworkin treats interpretation as a practice in the lives of individuals essential to the achievement of moral responsibility.


Most intellectuals thought effectively that moral or legal judgments were just emotional expressions with no basis in cognition.

He develops original theories on a great variety of issues very rarely considered in the same book: Our moral development is a work in progress. R onald Dworkin is wondering about what his friend Alfred Brendel does when he dworkkn the piano.

Book review: Justice for Hedgehogs by Ronald Dworkin | New Humanist

Issues of justice and law are trumped for them by personal desires or fears. Dworkin’s principle of the unity of value advances an account of values e.

In reading this book, as with many philosophical works, it is best to read the introductory chapter carefully and return to it together with the concluding epilogue. And the man can write a snappy sentence, even if he does so sparingly. There is a wealth of additional arguments concerning causation, motivation, supervenience, etc. Internal skeptics draw on some moral convictions to undermine our belief in the truth or falsity of others, whereas external skeptics seek to stand outside every framework of moral convictions in order to raise doubts about all of them.

Dworkin’s system holds that you’re justified in saving your child. Dworkin’s title derives from a famous essay by Isaiah Berlin “The Hedgehog and the Fox” taken in its turn from the Greek poet Archilocus who said: But here we must recall that the duties of aid are also supposed to rest on human dignity — in particular the principle of self-respect and thus respect for the objective importance of others’ lives. Dworkin’s answer is to imagine that insurance against bad luck and low income is also a resource at stake in the desert island auction.

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But he is faithful to the composition. Be the first to ask a question about Justice for Hedgehogs. Dworkin, who used to argue these points at University College, Oxford, with Mackie in the late 70s, says: Take the example of deciding what to tell a colleague concerning her book.