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Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor$
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Gina Schouten

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198813071

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198813071.001.0001

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The Family and the Basic Structure

The Family and the Basic Structure

Chapter:
(p.114) 4 The Family and the Basic Structure
Source:
Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor
Author(s):

Gina Schouten

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198813071.003.0004

This chapter begins the work of defending my own approach to justifying gender-egalitarian interventions. The first step is to defend against a line of thought according to which the interventions are categorically illegitimate due to the restriction of justice to institutions. The traditional liberal view holds that institutions and structural features of society are the primary subject matter of justice, and that principles of justice apply to individuals’ behavior only derivatively. Critics of this “basic structure” view maintain that it too narrowly construes the purview of justice, and that principles of justice can also apply directly to the behaviors of individual agents. If the basic structure view is vindicated, that would apparently condemn gender-egalitarian interventions as illegitimate on their face. I argue that some version of the restricted view is defensible, but that such a version will not categorically classify gender-egalitarian interventions as illegitimate.

Keywords:   liberal legitimacy, institutions, justice, subject of justice, John Rawls, G. A. Cohen, basic structure, family, personal and political

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