Two readings of Nancy Frasers Theory of Justice

Most philosophical theories are judged by their internal consistency and coherence. However, they can also subject to criticism if readers do not share the view of the author on what philosophy should be. Hence, we may judge specific theories differently dependent upon the view on philosophy itself. According to Amartya Sen, Western philosophy can be divided into the two distinct traditions within political philosophy, namely «transcendental institutionalism» and «realization-focused comparison.» This article discusses Nancy Fraser’s theory of justice in the light of the two differing traditions of political philosophy. The analysis discloses that the theory of Fraser is subject to critique when seen from the perspective of «transcendental institutionalism,» while it does fine when regarded from the other perspective. While the two-dimensional aspect of the theory easily deals with the pragmatic and empirical issues of injustice that we face in modern societies, it fails to come up with the stringent relation between cause and effect that is required from the perspective of «transcendental institutionalism.»

Keywords: Justice, recognition, redistribution, Nancy Fraser, Amartya Sen