The Enigma of Justice: Freedom and Morality in the Work of Immanuel Kant, G.W.F Hegel, Agnes Heller, and Axel Honneth offers a novel perspective on the idea of justice. Claire Nyblom argues that justice is a cultural and historical constant, routinely summoned as if it were a foundational concept to legitimate or challenge social arrangements. Instead, justice is characterized by a plurality of theories, containing regulative and critical dimensions that are in tension. Nyblom argues that the categorical imperative can be positioned as a strong evaluative standard that mediates plurality, creating a revisable idea of justice resistant to relativism. After identifying the originating architecture of Immanuel Kant and G.W.F Hegel, the discussion engages with the work of Agnes Heller and Axel Honneth, using the “pivots of justice” as an analytic lens focused on commonalities rather than differences. This framework leads to a dialogue between Heller and Honneth that strengthens their respective positions. The Enigma of Justice provides a valuable study and insight into the contemporary nature of justice. The book provides a useful orientation for students and scholars interested in debates about justice, and to those working in the areas of European philosophy, social and political theory, sociology, and the law.
Claire Nyblom is Honorary (Fellow) in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Melbourne.
Chapter 1. The Enigma of Justice
Chapter 2. Kant and Hegel: The Orienting Theorists
Chapter 3. Agnes Heller: The Formality of Justice and Values
Chapter 4. Axel Honneth: Justice, Context, and Ethical Life
Chapter 5. Heller and Honneth: An Unusual Dialogue
Chapter 6. Introducing a Contemporary Idea of Justice
Picture this: you are invited to a salon; a symposium in the company of Immanuel Kant, GWF Hegel, Agnes Heller and Axel Honneth. Could be in Jena, or Frankfurt, or Budapest. Now add the presence of the genial host, or interlocutor, Claire Nyblom. You have entered the labyrinths of this book, to discuss justice and its philosophical aporias. Nyblom is at home in these worlds, but also steps into them from the outside, from the world of injustice that prevails outside. The project that ensues beckons us forward.