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.