Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality Trade Paperback Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 9 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0674008106
ISBN-10: 0674008103
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Editorial Reviews


“Many philosophers would not be offended by the charge that philosophy is not a practical pursuit. Dworkin, a professor at New York University and University College in London, is deeply offended. He insists that philosophers can clarify the foundations of law to build a better world...In Sovereign Virtue, Dworkin attempts...first to establish principles and then apply them to today's vexing issues, including health care, campaign finance and affirmative action.”Mitchell Goodman, Raleigh News & Observer

“There is much that is brilliant in Dworkin's development of [his] themes. He reconceptualizes egalitarianism corrects only inequalities for which people are not responsible...[Dworkin] presents an original and comprehensive political theory that claims to unite equality not only with freedom but also with other allegedly competing values, such as democracy, community and the good life. And he repeatedly connects his abstract speculations to specific controversies from contemporary political life. This is what political philosophy should do, and Dworkin does it better than anyone else now writing.”Thomas Hurka, Toronto Globe and Mail

“Dworkin's aim in Sovereign Virtue is to rescue the 'endangered' value of equality and to accommodate it to personal responsibility...[His] position is what he calls an 'ethical individualism' embodying two principles: it is equally important, for each human life, that it be successful; and every person has a special responsibility for the success of his own life. If you take both these ideas seriously, you will be driven, so Dworkin argues, to demand equality of resources. This ideal is the core of the book, and he defends it in impressive detail against its main rivals--equality of welfare and equality of opportunity.”The Economist

“This is a work of the first importance, by an outstanding philosopher of politics and law who is the most eloquent, thoughtful and judicious spokesman of the new centre-left-liberal position which in recent years has come to be called 'the third way'--a label conferred and expounded by lesser minds, but here given what is not only the deepest and most compelling statement it has yet received, but a statement which is, in addition, genuinely deep and compelling.”A.C. Grayling, Financial Times

“Dworkin is that rare creature, a public intellectual. He writes with clarity and economy, and while he is not hard to understand, he demands maximum concentration from his readers…He sets out not just to persuade us to think differently, but also to act differently. He wants to change not just our beliefs but our behavior too…Sovereign Virtue is a book rich in arguments. Every objection is debated into submission; every alternative is pondered until its inadequacy becomes clear to the author.”Anthony Julius, Sunday Telegraph

Sovereign Virtue…is…extraordinarily impressive: supple, suave and enviably deft, like all his work, and in its cumulative effect quite exceptionally illuminating…[Dworkin] has been in many ways the most systematic moral, political and legal thinker of the past three decades in the Anglophone world. He may lack the personal authority or the singularity of mind of John Rawls. But on this evidence he has a substantially broader range of ambition, a set of forceful moral intuitions, a speed and boldness of intellectual manoeuvre, and a combination of energy and sheer pertinacity that are all his own.”John Dunn, Times Higher Education Supplement

“For Dworkin fans, indeed for any analytical political philosopher who rejects the 'new pragmatism' linguistic turn and relishes a complex argumentative structure, this book will provide many hours of intellectual stimulation. Just as we who are not ourselves great chess players or mathematicians can admire the minds of great chess players or mathematicians, so even skeptical readers may admire Dworkin's elegant and complex sense of how philosophers can do their work.”Lief Carter, Law and Politics Review

“For the last two decades, Ronald Dworkin has been developing answers to...questions [of public policy] as part of a powerful and surprising response to the larger question of how we should reconcile liberty with equality. Unlike many partisans of equality, he thinks conservatives are right to hold individuals largely responsible for their own fates. But unlike many partisans of liberty, he nevertheless believes in substantial governmental intervention to bring about more equality. And, unlike both, he argues that, in the deepest sense, equality and liberty are never truly at odds. In Sovereign Virtue, Dworkin has brought together this surprising theory and some of its applications...If we care about having a rational public discourse about the many contests that seem to pit liberty against equality, we owe his book a careful reading.”K. Anthony Appiah, New York Review of Books

“With Sovereign Virtue, Ronald Dworkin finally presents his political theory in a form convenient for the general reader, stripped of the specialized arguments about jurisprudence on which he has built his reputation. The issue in Sovereign Virtue is not how judges should decide cases, but what kind of equality between individuals government should secure and maintain.”Daniel Choi, Independent Review

“[Dworkin] explodes the platitudes that have traditionally been used to determine whether someone's views on equality were "sound" and he manages to map out a terrain on which [an] honest and respectable argument about equality can be conducted. These are major achievements, and the papers collected in Sovereign Virtue must be regarded now as classics in political philosophy.”Jeremy Waldron, London Review of Books

About the Author

Ronald Dworkin was Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.62 pounds
  • Paperback : 528 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0674008103
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0674008106
  • Product Dimensions : 6.14 x 1.18 x 9.21 inches
  • Publisher : Harvard University Press; Trade Paperback Edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9 ratings