18 January 2009

Blogging Wolterstorff 0.1

Even before coming to India I had begun to read Justice: Rights and Wrongs by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Princeton, 2008). Wolterstorff recently retired as Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale. Before coming to Yale in 1989, Wolterstorff had taught at Calvin College. Together with Alvin Plantinga, Wolterstorff is widely recognized as bringing the rigor of analytic philosophy to the fields of philosophy of religion and the philosophical implications of Christianity specifically. Wolterstorff describes his reasons for writing Justice in personal terms. At a conference sponsored by a leading Reformed, Christian university in South Africa in 1976 he observed in the responses of Afrikaner scholars to wrongs identified by blacks and coloreds how appeals to examples of individual love and charity could be tools of oppression. From that time Wolterstorff increasingly realized that the concepts of justice and injustice were as equally fundamental as those of love and mercy. And he increasingly observed how the rich and powerful used appeals to love to blunt if not avoid legitimate claims of the wronged to justice.

Justice is a book of narrative and analytic philosophy, eminently readable but quite rigorous. I hope to post my thoughts on this blog as a tool to deepen my reading of Justice and clarify my thinking about its subject. How frequently I’ll post and how far I’ll get remains to be seen.

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