Journal of Philosophical Research


published on August 3, 2018

Jan Narveson

Bhandary on Liberal Care Provision

According to Asha Bhandary, there is a liberal (Rawlsian) justification for including “the receipt of dependency care among the benefits of social cooperation” (“Liberal Dependency Care,” 43). The novelty is to claim that such care is among the Rawlsian circumstances of justice. I argue that liberalism does not support this extremely strong claim. Dependency care is indeed among the goods generated by social cooperation, broadly speaking—but so are virtually all goods, such as pizza provision, scarcely any of which are among the circumstances of justice. Most of us have ample inclination toward caring for dependents—but neither is this extended to everyone else’s dependents, nor is it mostly a legal duty, as indeed having children at all is not. Nor should it be on liberal principles. Neither of the two Rawlsian Principles support general dependency care. And, Bhandary’s “strong proceduralism,” calling for the training of all persons in care-giving skills, would edge up toward totalitarianism—hardly a welcome outcome of liberalism.