Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What would it mean to govern so that members of a society can 'enjoy the goods to which they have a right'?

The Immanent Frame
Secularism, religion, and the public sphere
New at The Immanent Frame, a discussion about Nicholas Wolterstorff's book, Justice: Rights and Wrongs, with responses from the author:

Kevin den Dulk: “Justice and rights-talk in liberal democracies
“Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Justice: Rights and Wrongs is a profoundly ambitious book. His normative aspiration is nothing less than 'speaking up for the wronged of the world' by reorienting contemporary thinking on rights and justice. … But what about the practice of liberal democracy? What would it mean to govern so that members of a society can 'enjoy the goods to which they have a right'? Justice is not a book of practical application, but it is clearly on Wolterstorff’s mind.” View den Dulk's full post.

Jonathon Kahn: “Nicholas Wolterstorff's fear of the secular
“The truly dynamic discussion in America today about religion and politics is not between 'wall of separation' secularists and Christian political theologians attempting to turn American into a theocracy. Instead, the promising but fledgling discussion is between religious and non-religious democrats who are acutely aware of the two horns of this essential American dilemma. First, one has a right to express one’s convictions in whatever terms one holds them, including religious terms; second, one cannot assume that one’s fellow citizens’ convictions are shaped by the same terms.” View Kahn's full post and see Wolterstorff's response.

John Schmalzbauer: “Rehabilitating religious rights talk
“Wolterstorff critiques the notion that rights talk is an offshoot of modern individualism. Questioning Stanley Hauerwas’ claim that the language of rights 'underwrites a view of human relations as exchanges,' he presents an account of justice that is irreducibly communal. Wolterstorff also takes on those philosophers who would ground their accounts of justice in the classical Greek and Roman descriptions of the well-lived life. In his judgment, such approaches fail to take into account the inherent worth of human beings.” View Schmalzbauer's full post.

David Johnston: “Justice and theism
“Wolterstorff’s book is a challenging, serious, sustained reflection on the foundations of justice. He wrestles with a wide range of difficult issues, often with considerable success. Yet the net result with which the reader is left seems to amount to something less than the sum of its parts. I shall point to a handful of difficulties, touching on both his historical narrative (which occupies roughly half the book) and his philosophical argument.” View Johnston's full post and see Wolterstorff's response.

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