The moral foundation of politics by Ian Shapiro

Can someone please explain me what is the meaning of cash out in this context on the highlighed sentence? I have found in dictionaries meanings like "to convert (noncash assets) to cash" bu it does not seem to be true.

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  • My guess when I first encountered this phrase was that it meant the same as "flesh out", i.e. to add the details ("flesh") to the "bare bones" of a theory or idea. I figured that some people are anxious about the sexual connotations of "flesh" or the idea that the use of the phrase could offend animal rights activists, because it alludes to meat on the bone. It occurs to me that someone could fear that there are unpleasant reminders of Frankenstein's monster, or of a creation myth in one religion or another (maybe in one such myth a Creator first makes a skeleton and then adds flesh). Apr 22, 2023 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


"Cash out" usually means "to convert a non-cash asset to cash", for example, to convert gambling tokens to cash at the end of the night, or to convert stocks to cash money.

Wiktionary shows an obscure meaning in philosophy:

Wiktionary "cash out"
4. (by extension, often in analytic philosophy) To explain what is entailed by an idea or proposition.

The sense here seems to be akin to "sum up". The two ideals, "implausible utopian ideal" and "workmanship ideal" that are in tension are summed up as "theory of exploitation". This is done incoherently, and so is not convincing.

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