G. A. Cohen
Gerald Allan Cohen
14 April 1941
|Died||5 August 2009 (aged 68)|
|Other names||Jerry Cohen|
|Academic advisors||Gilbert Ryle|
|School or tradition|
|Notable works||Karl Marx's Theory of History (1978)|
Gerald Allan Cohen, // KOH-ən; 14 April 1941 – 5 August 2009) was a Canadian political philosopher who held the positions of Quain Professor of Jurisprudence, University College London and Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford. He was known for his work on Marxism, and later, egalitarianism and distributive justice in normative political philosophy.(
Life and career
Born into a communist Jewish family in Montreal, Quebec, on 14 April 1941, Cohen was educated at McGill University (BA, philosophy and political science) in his hometown and the University of Oxford (BPhil, philosophy), where he studied under Gilbert Ryle (and was also taught by Isaiah Berlin).
Cohen was assistant lecturer (1963–1964), lecturer (1964–1979), then reader (1979–1984) in the Department of Philosophy at University College London, before being appointed to the Chichele chair at Oxford in 1985. Several of his students, such as Christopher Bertram, Simon Caney, Alan Carter, Cécile Fabre, Will Kymlicka, John McMurtry, David Leopold, Michael Otsuka, Seana Shiffrin, and Jonathan Wolff went on to be important moral and political philosophers, while another, Ricky Gervais, has a successful career in comedy.
Known as a proponent of analytical Marxism and a founding member of the September Group, Cohen's 1978 work Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence defends an interpretation of Karl Marx's historical materialism often called technological determinism by its critics. In Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality, Cohen offers an extensive moral argument in favour of socialism, contrasting his views with those of John Rawls and Robert Nozick, by articulating an extensive critique of the Lockean principle of self-ownership as well as the use of that principle to defend right as well as left-libertarianism. In If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich? (which covers the topic of his Gifford Lectures), Cohen addresses the question of what egalitarian political principles imply for the personal behaviour of those who hold them.
Cohen was close friends with Marxist political philosopher Marshall Berman.
Cohen died on 5 August 2009.
- Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence (1978, 2000)
- History, Labour, and Freedom (1988)
- Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1995. ISBN 978-0-5214-7174-9. OCLC 612482692.
- If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich? (2000)
- "Expensive Taste Rides Again," in: Ronald Dworkin and his Critics, with replies by Dworkin (2004)
- Rescuing Justice and Equality (2008)
- Why Not Socialism? (2009) [Trad. esp.: ¿Por qué no el socialismo?, Buenos Aires/Madrid, Katz editores, 2011, ISBN 978-84-92946-13-6]
- On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy (2011)
- Finding Oneself in the Other (2012)
- Lectures on the History of Moral and Political Philosophy (2013)
- Rosen, Michael (2010). "Jerry Cohen: An Appreciation". Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University. p. 2. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
- Vallentyne, Peter (2014). "Libertarianism". In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University.
- Rosen, Michael (2010). "Jerry Cohen: An Appreciation". Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University. p. 5. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
- Frank Vandenbroucke, Social Justice and Individual Ethics in an Open Society: Equality, Responsibility, and Incentives, Springer, 2012, p. 149.
- Alexander Kaufman (ed.), Distributive Justice and Access to Advantage, Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 52.
- O'Grady, Jane (10 August 2009). "GA Cohen". The Guardian.
- "The Labour Theory of Value and the Concept of Exploitation".
- Cohen, Gerald Allan (1978). Karl Marx's theory of history : a defence. Oxford : Clarendon Press; New York : Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-827196-3 – via Internet Archive.
- Singer, Peter (2000). Marx: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-19-285405-6.
- The Egalitarian Conscience: Essays in Honour of G. A. Cohen (2006); edited by Christine Sypnowich
- Tomey, Simon (2012), "An Interview with Jerry Cohen", in Browning, Gary; Dimova-Cookson, Maria; Prokhovnik, Raia (eds.), Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists, Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 74–85, ISBN 978-0-230-30305-8
- Vrousalis, Nicholas (24 September 2015). The Political Philosophy of G.A. Cohen. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-4725-3270-1.
- Robeyns, Ingrid (July 2015). "On G.A. Cohen's 'On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice'". Ethics. 125 (4): 1132–1135. doi:10.1086/680879. hdl:1874/319596. JSTOR 10.1086/680879. S2CID 143087659.
- Furner, James (2018). Marx on Capitalism: The Interaction-Recognition-Antinomy Thesis. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-32331-5.
- Socialist Studies Special Edition on the Life and Work of G.A. Cohen
- Imprints interview
- Cohen's Tanner Lectures: "Incentives, Inequality, and Community" Archived 31 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Cohen interview at Philosophy Bites (mp3 audio)
- Obituary to Gerald Cohen at The Third Estate
- Obituary in The Monthly Review
- Obituary in The Times Archived by Wayback Machine
- Obituary in The Guardian
- Obituary in The Independent
- Remembering Jerry Cohen: A Tribute in Socialist Worker Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- Review of Why Not Socialism? in The Oxonian Review
- Journal of Ethics volume for Jerry Cohen
- on YouTube
- Jerry Cohen – an Appreciation Archived 14 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine by Michael Rosen
- 2010 All Souls College Commemoration of Gerald (Jerry) Allan Cohen with addresses from Professors Philippe Van Parijs, John Roemer, Myles Burnyeat and Timothy Scanlon, and a family tribute from Jerry's son Gideon Cohen.
- UCL News Obituary: Professor Jerry Cohen Professor Stephen Guest of UCL Laws writes in memory.
- Michael Otsuka’s remarks at Jerry Cohen’s funeral All Souls College Chapel, 11 August 2009 Archived 5 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine