Review Of "Justice For Hedgehogs" By R. Dworkin

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The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Dworkin (NYU) is a self-proclaimed hedgehog who argues that value is the one big thing. He examines "the metaphysics of value, the character of truth, the conditions of genuine agreement and disagreement, the phenomenon of moral responsibility, and the so-called problem of free will as well as more traditional issues of ethical, moral, and legal theory." Even if foxes find much to sniff at and hedgehogs of other persuasions much to snort at, Dworkin's synoptic and integrated view deserves close attention. Those familiar with his voluminous writing over the past 40 years will find little that is new, but here Dworkin presents his unified position. Dworkin is a strong "moral realist"; despite being coy about how he establishes his fundamental claims, he maintains that value is part of the furniture of the world. As a leading legal, political, and--more recently--moral philosopher, Dworkin deserves to be taken seriously. Those familiar with his writings will find the same obscurities and frustrations that critics always have found. Those coming to Dworkin for the first time will find a fitting valedictory to a stunning academic career and a continuing career as a public intellectual. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above.


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