Glen Newey’s Brief Against Comprehensive Justification

Anno LIV, n. 225-226, maggio-dicembre 2019

Anno LIV, n. 225-226, maggio-dicembre 2019
Centro Einaudi
Articolo completo/Full text


For Glenn Newey, the abiding temptation of the moral philosopher (which the year 1989 seemed almost to affirm on the political front) was to believe in the idea of a comprehensive moral settlement, a “permanent politico-juridical order” arising with the dawn of a new day. This was for Newey to overplay the only cards that had been dealt. The gamble on finding legitimate moral consensus too frequently turned up the hand of power. Rogue Theodicy became for Newey a symbol for overreaching rationality blind to the effects of power in moral argument and blind to the sheer appeal of ‘wild freedom’. The debate between Creppell and Newey, between the utopia of ‘mutuality’ and the realism of ‘murality’ now can be taken to illustrate the historical arc of the last 30 years. In a similar post-revolutionary moment gone sour, Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1821) exhibited how to combine ‘comprehensive justification’ with ‘wild freedom’.