Discussion Paper: “Doing Justice: The Politics and Economics of International Distributive Justice” by Joel Trachtman

 

We just posted a discussion paper by Prof. Joel Trachtman. This paper was presented at a recent ASIL conference on distributive justice and international economic law. (See https://fletcherfila.wordpress.com/2008/10/26/asil-symposium-on-distributive-justice-and-international-economic-law/) To an extent, this short piece is like the interdisciplinary law scholar’s manifesto. Essentially, Trachtman sketches out the different roles that political science, economics and sociology can play in distributive justice discourse.

 

Importantly, he identifies each discipline’s strengths and weaknesses as analytical tools and where one discipline can cover the weaknesses of the other. His point? The endeavor of distributive justice is itself interdisciplinary. Has Trachtman taken morality discourse away from the exclusive domain of the moral philosopher and placed it in all our hands?

 

I don’t think so. If anything, Trachtman has provided a framework in which moral discourse which finds itself in a legal framework can be critiqued. For example, suppose one argues that Law A should be enacted because it provides distributive justice in a strictly Rawl-sian sense. Trachtman would point out that this argument suffers from “limited consensus”; “limited knowledge of causation”; “limited knowledge of remedies”; or “limited inducement”. Read the paper to find out what he means by this.

 

Different disciplines simply bring different notions of normativity. Moral normativity and legal normativity are merely pieces of the human puzzle. Maybe the complexity of human thought makes it difficult for us to wantonly rule out anything analytical tool. Yet, thanks to Trachtman, at least we have a framework in which we can evaluate the utility of those tools.

 

The paper can be found at http://fletcher.tufts.edu/FILA/pdf/FILADiscussionPaperNo0108.pdf.

 

As always, please feel free to respond or comment.

  

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: