Thursday, December 08, 2011

Interview with Joshua Cohen on Political Philosophy

In the magazine "The European" (December 8, 2011), Martin Eiermann interviews Joshua Cohen:

"I Am Interested in Cool Ideas That Are Good"

"John Rawls was enormously influential as a political philosopher. Yet he never made direct contributions to journals, unlike Habermas, who is very actively participating in political discourses. So how can we explain Rawls’ considerable influence? Because there are intermediaries between high intellectual discourse and public discussion. That is what we try to be: an intermediary. We need to free ideas from the confines of their disciplinary cloisters. If they develop traction, much can happen. It’s a classic example of the division of labor: We do our work, which addresses a more limited audience than a tabloid paper, and hope that someone else picks up on it. We’re bridging a gap – at least that’s the project."

Joshua Cohen is Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society, Stanford University. He is editor of Boston Review. His books include "Philosophy, Politics, Democracy: Selected Papers" (Harvard University Press, 2009), “Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals” (Oxford University Press, 2010), and "The Arc of the Moral Universe and Other Essays" (Harvard University Press, 2011).

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