The theory and politics of solidarity and public goods

Avigail Ferdman, Margaret (Peggy) Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


For over forty years, economic inequality and distributive justice have been two of the primary concerns of political philosophers. This volume addresses these issues in a novel way, by focusing on the concepts of solidarity and public goods as both descriptive and normative frameworks. Solidarity links the social, political and moral together, in a distinctively political approach that recognizes the social sources of power on the one hand and sources of moral motivation on the other. Public goods such as education, healthcare, and transport systems are indispensable to the forging of solidarity, but at the same time they may become sources of oppression or injustice, when they fail to respect individual autonomy or when they calcify majoritarian preferences. The essays in this volume explore different features of the political, moral and civic approaches to solidarity. The moral theory of solidarity is advanced in one case as an intrinsically valuable concept of social connectedness and in another as an approach of epistemic deference; a structural account of solidarity theorizes about action against racial oppression, and a power-relations account points at the urgency of the affective, non-rational dimensions of solidarity. The social value of property and its moral implications are articulated through the lens of French 19th Century ‘Solidarism’ and as a complementary theory to left-libertarianism. Public goods are defended as instrumental to solidarity, in one case within a liberal framework and in another within a human-perfectionism framework. By providing a series of thought-provoking debates about social obligations and justice, the volume re-establishes solidarity and public goods as pertinent concepts for theorizing about social justice and inequality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-553
Number of pages9
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2018


  • inequality
  • liberalism
  • political action
  • property
  • public goods
  • Solidarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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