FileRonald_Dworkin_at_the_Brooklyn_Book_Festival

A sad report. For those of you who don’t know know, Ronald Dworkin was one of the most prominent American political philosophers of the later 20th century. In the minds of some, he was second only to Rawls. Dworkin was especially prominent for his famous debate with H.L.A. Hart on the nature of law and legal interpretation, his prominent role in the “Equality of What?” debate (as the defender of the equality of resources view) and his defense of luck egalitarianism

Save Rawls’s death, Dworkin’s passing is perhaps the major event in the passing of the Rawls generation into the history books. I understand the Rawls generation to include those egalitarian liberal political philosophers who rose to prominence soon after Rawls led the revival of political philosophy in analytic philosophy (Dworkin’s famous Taking Rights Seriously was published in 1978, only seven years after A Theory of Justice). The Rawls generation has had extraordinary influence over the direction of the profession and will surely be remembered as such. 

I have spent a lot of time with Dworkin’s work, especially with Sovereign Virtue and Justice for Hedgehogs. I am not sure I had ever agreed with him on, well, anything, but I have learned a great deal from his work. 

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  • Fernando Teson

    I second Kevin. Ronald Dworkin had great influence in my thinking, even while I much disagreed. A true giant.

    • Daniel Shapiro

      I also second (or perhaps I should say “third.” Dworkin had a significant influence on my thinking and I hope to write a blog post on his contribution to BHL thought. Those who have read my book know that I think the Dworkinian version of egalitarianism can provide significant support for market based institutions.

  • Tibor Machan

    One of my fondest memories is a long car trip with Dworkin, Raz, Nozick and Wasserstrom in Boston, from the APA hotel to a restaurant. I was driving and the chatter was memorable.

    • Daniel Shapiro

      Wow, what a car trip!

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