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The State and Justice: An Essay in Political Theory Paperback – November 24, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0521389662 ISBN-10: 0521389666

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Editorial Reviews


"This is an important, ambitious book. Rather than continuing the debate about what Marx thought about justice or the state, Fisk has set out to construct a materialist theory of each, and their interrelation...He draws on concrete historical and contemporary experience to a degree rare among philosophers...Fisk is bold, unconventional, provocative. Few readers will agree with everything here; fewer still will come away without new ideas buzzing in the brain." David Schweickart, Radical Philosophy Review of Books

"The State and Justice demonstrates the continuing vitality and fruitfulness of Marxist approaches to social and political philosophy. It is lucidly written and replete with lively historical examples. It is essential reading for anyone interested in justice, the state, or theory of social explanation; the standard upper-division or graduate course on justice should henceforth feature Rawls, Nozick, and Fisk." The Philosophical Review

Book Description

Offering a new political theory combining elements from the Marxist and liberal traditions, this study presents a disturbing view of the internal conflicts of the contemporary state that stem from contradictory obligations.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (November 24, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521389666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521389662
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,929,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cutting-edge on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
The best book on justice in 25 years, May 6, 2007

Milton Fisk, emeritus prof of philosophy at the Univ. of Indiana, had written a genuinely profound and imaginative rethinking of the political theory of justice, perhaps the single most original and important contribution to the subject since Rawls and Nozick. This is not an exaggeration. Unlike much political philosophy since Rawls, Fisk is not content to either rehash or fine-tune Rawls; he is -- to my mind correctly -- dismissive of Rawls as offering an unrealizable "ideal justice" that fails to make contact with social and political reality. Writing from the left, he has as little tolerance for Nozick with his "fall from the sky" natural rights that offer defenses of the indefenisble. Instead, Fisk develops a socially grounded account of justice as a compromise between what the ruling groups can impose and what the ruled will put up with. Since this is variable there is no one correct theory of justice. Moreover Fisk envisages a radical justice, the compromise that would be imposed if the ruled were the ruling groups, and discusses how the impulse towards justice can help bring such a state of affairs about. Unlike a lot of academic philosophers, Fisk writes clear, unpretentious, accessible prose with lively examples. This book is in my mind abolsutely crucial for anyone seriously interested in justice as a topic. -- Andie Nachgeborenen, law professor in Chicago; Ph.D. (philosophy) Michigan.
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The State and Justice: An Essay in Political Theory
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