This week’s acquisitions

History and Truth in Hegel’s Phenemology by Merold Westphal

Selections from Cultural Writings by Antonio Gramsci

The Philosophies of F.R. Tennant and John Dewey by J. Oliver Buswell Jr.

The Pragmatic Movement in American Philosophy by Charles Morris

Ethical Theory from Hobbes to Kant by William Curtis Swabey

The Politics of Aristotle (Modern Library edition)

From Kant to Nietzsche by Jules de Gaultier

Philosophia: The thought of Rosa Luxemburg, Simone Weil, and Hannah Arendt by Andrea Nye

Martin O’Neill and Thad Williamson on Rawls’ property-owning democracy in the Boston Review

I am not much of a fan of property-owning democracy in Rawls, as I still think incentives are screwed up, but it contains a terrific critique of the welfare state from the perspective of the left. Martin O’Neill and Thad Williamson take up POD in the Boston Review. Here’s a teaser.

Boston Review — Martin O’Neill and Thad Williamson: Beyond the Welfare State (John Rawls, Property-Owning Democracy):

Merely as a matter of political psychology, relying on redistribution is a decidedly uphill battle. The well-off are inclined to think they have earned their (pre-tax) income—that it’s their money—and to resent giving up some of that income in order to help others who did not earn it. Even societies with a robust sense of social justice would struggle to realize anything like the difference principle via after-the-fact taxation. For societies with a weaker sense of social justice, such taxation typically fails to generate enough funds even to meet the basic needs of the worst-off. Worse still, dependence on redistributive, tax-and-transfer mechanisms opens the door for conservatives to drive a wedge between the “just-getting-by” working class and the out-and-out poor, undercutting the sense of solidarity needed to sustain a just society.

Ultimately, redistribution is a strategy employed too late in a game that is already being lost.


Worth reading all of it.