Why be Just? The Problem of Motivation in Hegel and Rawls

Carsten Fogh Nielsen, Emily Hartz

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


At the heart of any theoretical problem of justice lies the problem of motiva-tion: Even if we could conceive of a way to develop a comprehensive system of just laws, and even if we could rationally believe in the justice of these laws, how could we ever ensure that we—or anyone else—would be motivated to abide by them? By unearthing how the problem of motivation sways canonical discussions of justice, the article brings forth intrinsic similarities and differences in these discussions that are often overlooked in the literature. In particular, the article highlights intrinsic simi-larities in the analysis of the concept of justice in two central works that belong to the continental and the analytic tradition respectively and are otherwise rarely discussed together: Hegel’s Outlines of the Philosophy of Right and Rawls’s Theory of Justice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRatio Juris
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)326–345
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

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