This book, Justice in Love, builds on Justice: Rights and Wrongs (2010, Princeton), but constitutes an entirely new trajectory for this leading philosopher's work on justice. This book should not be understood as primarily a discussion of justice or love as stand-alone concepts, but rather focuses quite precisely on the relationship between love and justice--a relationship often understood in the late modern context to be hopelessly contradictory.
"Rather than accepting tension between these two imperatives as an unalterable fact of life, I argue in the following pages that our perception of tension between them is a sign of something having gone wrong in our understanding of them. I propose and argue for a way of understanding love and a way of understanding justice such that the two imperatives are fully in harmony with each other" (p.viii).
Wolterstorff shows that justice and love are indeed perfectly compatible, and he argues that the commonly perceived tension between them reveals something faulty with how we understand the concepts, and therefore not with the abstract realities of love and justice themselves--they are both critical to human well-being and thus are complimentary. True benevolent love, he says, is always attentive to justice, and love that wreaks injustice can only ever be "malformed love."
Charitably engaging alternative views, Wolterstorff's Justice in Love is a welcome companion and follow-up volume to his other works on this timely subject and opens profound new paths of philosophical inquiry. The scope of the work commends it to several areas of study including culture, legal theory, atonement theory, social issues, and many other areas of thought and practice. Though a challenging read, all who work through this book will benefit from its analysis, lucid prose and unwavering commitment to the marriage of love and justice.
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