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PHILOSOPHICAL
LITERARY
JOURNAL
ISSN 0869-5377
The Logos Journal

An Empty Community?


Author: Tsuda Kenta

About author:
Associate Attorney, Earthjustice Regional Office. Address: 325 Fourth Street, 99801 Juneau, AK, USA. E-mail: info@earthjustice.org.

Annotation:
This article addresses egalitarianism and the theory of need in Malcom Bull’s interpretation of Nietzsche. The author stresses the originality of Bull’s concept of “negative community” and identifies several problems associated with this concept. One of the key questions raised in this article relates to the idea of “need” itself. By settling with the formal concept of “need,” Bull opens the doors to difficult-to-solve cases because he does not consider any ranking of need. The author suggests that despite the caveats Bull himself identifies, his theory should nonetheless be treated as a theory of distributive justice that could lead to a substantive theory of need. According to Bull, negative community is divorced from the institution of property, although actual property can remain (albeit with no rights or guarantees attached). The author argues that even this minimal property is an example of a “property regime” that allows for the resolution of controversial cases. This extra-egalitarianism can easily and readily fall short of Pareto optimality, and therefore the disputed good could be destroyed so that none of the claimants can claim the good. This method is not universal, and a difficult trial could raise the eternal question of the “good life.” Efforts to establish egalitarianism upon a “needs” basis are not met with success, so Bull’s theory of negative community remains inconsistent.

Keywords: Malcolm Bull; Anti-Nietzsche; need; distributive justice; negative community

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