Joan Cocks

As a political theorist, Joan Cocks is interested in clashing conceptions of the good life and the ideal society, including the ways people understand and fight over the meaning of freedom, power, equality, nationality, justice, and property. Her new book, On Sovereignty and Other Political Delusions, reveals the seductive promise and danger to self and others of sovereign freedom as a political ideal.

Contributions

September 4, 2017

While “border” is the specific concept of a delineating, separating, and adjacency-creating edge, there’s a fundamental sense in which every concept has edges that help distinguish it from every other. Some of those other concepts will be similar to it but not identical, most will be incommensurable, and a few will be diametrically opposed. Thus, the concept of border is similar but not identical to “periphery” and “margin,” incommensurable with “forest” or “justice” or “appetite,” and diametrically opposed to “the center” on the one side and “unboundedness” on the other. Linguistic distinctions, in short, are made by drawing conceptual and hence mental dividing lines between x and y that also relate the entities they distinguish in different ways.