'Liberal Justice: Political and Metaphysical'
University College London - Department of Political Science; European University Institute
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 45, pp. 1-19, 1995
This paper addresses two related doubts about trying to turn metaphysical water into political wine in the manner attempted by John Rawls in his Political Liberalism. First, there are rival non-metaphysical theories of justice on offer and, in weakening his conception of the self, freedom and equality, Rawls may have let himself be fatally squeezed between libertarian writers like F. A. Hayek and left of centre liberals like Ronald Dworkin. Secondly, his theory, in common with those of other philosophical liberals, is curiously unpolitical. He deliberately excludes the haggling and trading of interests and the contingencies of power, characteristic of political agreements, from the rational deliberations that he believes ought to motivate the parties in a democratic society to arrive at his two principles of justice.
Keywords: Rawls, Liberalism, Justice
Date posted: September 10, 2010