Otfried Höffe is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Director of the Research Center for Political Philosophy at the University of Tübingen. His many books include Aristotle (translated by Christine Salazar) and Immanuel Kant (translated by Marshall Farrier), both also published by SUNY Press. Nicholas Walker has translated many books, including Kant’s Moral and Legal Philosophy (edited by Karl Ameriks and Otfried Höffe) and Hegel on Ethics and Politics (edited by Robert B. Pippin and Otfried Höffe).
Höffe confronts what he sees as the two major challenges toany theory of justice: the legal, positivist claim that there areno standards of justice external to legal systems; and theanarchist claim that justice demands the rejection and abolition ofall legal and state systems.
Höffe sets out to continue the 'philosophical project ofmodernity', the legitimation of human rights, and their guaranteeby the state, while at the same time rehabilitating the classicaltheory of political justice represented by Plato and Aristotle. Hequestions the success of the positivists in avoiding extra-legalnormative claims, and casts doubt on the plausibility of theircriticism of the Natural Law tradition. Most anarchists, he argues,rely on an uncritical assumption that social institutions otherthan states and legal orders do not coerce.
In Höffe's view, some coercion is unavoidable, and thegrounds for its justification must be examined. Principles ofjustice will be those principles which define fundamental rights,and which must be enforced if rights are to be respected.
The author starts from a diagnosis of the process of globalisation and frees its concept from its economistic narrowing: Globalisation is a comprehensive process which puts new strains on the economies and political systems of the world, the cultural and social structures of peoples. The scope of its challenges demands solutions, which transcend the powers of the classical nation-state. The question central to the book can be formulated as follows: "How can the social, moral and legal achievements of the nation-state be retained while its structure is reshaped to satisfy the requirements of a globalised world?"