Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World
W.W. Norton & Co. (Wiley), $33.95 hb, 278 pp, 9780393063974
In a recent Prospect interview, distinguished Princeton and ANU scholar Philip Pettit described political philosophy as a conversation around various themes. Some voices focus on power or freedom, others on democracy or the nature of the state. The conversation should extend beyond the academy, argued Pettit, to embrace public intellectuals, journalists, commentators, political scientists, activists, and government.
Above all, Pettit suggests, political philosophy should be engaged. Aim to understand and move the world. Political philosophy is a guide to what we can do, alone and together. Hence Just Freedom, a volume with intentions captured in the subtitle: A Moral Compass for a Complex World. Amid the noise of political life, Pettit offers principles to shape decisions. For him, justice is freedom, freedom justice. Be clear about what constitutes justice, and you have a robust basis for decisions about life, political communities, and global sovereignty.