In Justice for Hedgehogs (JH), Ronald Dworkin has written a truly remarkable philosophical work. It advances a bold treatment of all the. Baedeker — Independence. Truth in morals — External skepticism — Morals and causes — Internal skepticism — Interpretation. Moral responsibility — Interpretation . One of the greatest legal and moral philosophers of the postwar era, Ronald Dworkin argues in his new book, Justice for Hedgehogs, that there.

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The practice of interpretation is essential because our ethical values are general, abstract, and unordered; they need to be applied in order to determine the truth concerning what they ought to do in local circumstances.


If you’re a utilitarian — who believes what’s important morally is maximising the happiness of the greatest number — you wouldn’t mind if it was your child or another’s who dies. The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one great thing.

Our moral development is a work in progress. This hypothetical insurance scheme is supposed to assure an equality of resources that meets the principles of equal concern and equal justife. Dworkin attempts to defend these three principles in a wide variety of contexts, a task daunting but engaging. Dworkin’s model of value-laden interpretation is just as skeptical about the quest for value-free analyses of ‘moral reasoning’ or justification.

Thus, at least, argues Dworkin.

The author argues that being ethical requires you to ha Justice for Hedgehogs has a dworikn of a hedgehog on it.

By creating an interpretation of their practical implications such that both principles are satisfied and unified. A fitting capstone to the works of Ronald Dworkin, arguably the greatest legal philosopher of his era.


He believes that “in many circumstances abortion is an act hedgeyogs self-contempt”: It is impressive in its scope, its argument, its erudition, and its love for the life of the mind and of culture. Such explanations of moral convictions do not bear on their truth or falsity; this is what makes them moral convictions.

It offers a challenge to the reader at whatever stage of his or her life to rethink projects and priorities. Such rights are rooted in equal concern and respect for all, ideas which are in turn founded on a respect for universal dignity. The odd result is that Dworkin’s conception of interpretation may have wider scope than he imagines, covering scientific judgment and its framework of epistemic values.

He presents a persuasive case that the correspondence theory of truth fails this interpretive test.

Justice for Hedgehogs — Ronald Dworkin | Harvard University Press

The remainder of Part 2 develops accounts of interpretation ‘in general’ as a practice in various fields ; and the interpretation of moral concepts Similarly, there can be no trade-off between the importance and responsibility principles. On Dworkin’s interpretation of living well, a person who attains genuine personal goods through a pattern of deception, cheating, harming others, or neglecting basic obligations fails to live well, even through she may have a good or better life as a result.

Justice for Hedgehogs has a picture of a hedgehog on it. His defense of this interpretative model rests on a key claim that such moral concepts are essentially ‘interpretive concepts’, sharply distinguished from ‘criterial concepts’. This perspective leads him, too, to argue that taxation in many countries today is unjust, not because it takes too much but too little.


Political thinkers commonly treat liberty and equality as intrinsic values which conflict and require trade-offs. This result reintroduces the conflict between ‘self-interest’ and ‘morality’ that Dworkin aims to overcome through interpretation supporting the unity of value. Dworkin’s principle of the unity of value advances an account of values e.

This is a terrific book. Dworkin’s answer is to imagine hwdgehogs insurance against bad luck and low income is also a resource at stake in the desert island auction. Dec 28, Sara Van Dyck rated it really liked it. They invaded and occupied all the honorifics—reality, truth, fact, ground, meaning, knowledge, and being—and dictated the terms on which other bodies of thought might aspire to them, and skepticism has daorkin the inevitable result.

He forgets them himself to great effect, hedgehhogs only the disciplinary divides but those of style as well. The title is a riff on the saying made famous by Isaiah Berlin that “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thin In this extraordinarily hedeghogs book, Dworkin attempts nothing less than a thorough re-grounding of political philosophy, ethics and epistemology.

Jan 30, Angela Randall marked it as to-read Shelves: Living well depends on whether the things one desires are worthy of desire and possess an objective value, apart from the preferences and pleasure embodied in them.