Philosopher Gerald A. Cohen died on the 5th of August 2009. His initial contribution focused on Marx’s thought. It appeared on the intellectual stage in 1978 with the publication of Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence, and established Analytical Marxism. Later, he gradually departed from Marx’s theory. He discussed the libertarian concept of self-ownership and its possible association with the Marxist approach, before entering the normative debate around Rawls’s Theory of Justice. Based on Kantian philosophy, his critique of Rawls was that Rawls’s theory gave too little autonomy to individual choice. This paper discusses the consistency of Jerry Cohen’s intellectual journey through his relationship with Marx’s work.
The aim of this paper is twofold: to argue that the theory of justice of left-libertarianism implies that the entrepreneur—a notion rarely mentioned and yet central to understand this theory of justice—is a “gray eminence,” and to challenge the criticisms aimed at this theory.
The concept of self-ownership is central in debates on philosophical groundings of liberal theories of social justice. This article discusses the relevance, the originality, and the scope of Serge-Christophe Kolm’s original position (2005) regarding this key concept. Indeed, dismemberment of self-ownership is one of Kolm’s major proposals, which has far-reaching consequences in terms of income redistribution, and of individual freedoms of choice equalization.