What is this blog about?

What is this blog about?

I am a political philosopher. My 'political philosophy' is a form of 'liberal egalitarianism.' So in this blog I reflect on various issues in political philosophy and politics (especially Canadian and American politics) from a liberal egalitarian perspective.

If you are curious about what I mean by 'liberal egalitarianism,' my views are strongly influenced by the conception of justice advanced by John Rawls. (So I sometimes refer to myself as a 'Rawlsian,' even though I disagree with Rawls on some matters.)

Astonishingly, I am paid to write and teach moral and political philosophy. I somehow manage to do this despite my akratic nature. Here is my faculty profile.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Justice and leisure time

In a recent piece in the Washington Post (25 April 2018), Elizabeth Bruenig helpfully explains the importance of free time: "America is obsessed with the virtue of work. What about the virtue of rest?"

Bruenig's article coheres nicely with my view, outlined in a couple of academic articles now, that leisure time should be regarded as a basic requirement of justice -- a 'primary good' in 'Rawls-speak'.

Specifically, Rawls acknowledges that leisure time could be treated as a primary good -- one interchangeable with income/wealth, and thus distributed via the different principle. (See Justice as Fairness, p.179.) My argument is that a certain amount of leisure time should be regarded as a 'basic right' -- to be included as part of the 'basic needs' principle (which has lexical priority over even the first principle of justice). (On the 'basic needs' principle, see Political Liberalism, p.7.) Above that threshold, though, it should be distributed via the difference principle. (So I partially agree with Rawls.)

For a longer explanation of my view, see section 4 of my article, "'The Kids are Alright': Political liberalism, Leisure Time, and Childhood."

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