Legitimacy and Consensus in Rawls' Political Liberalism

Forthcoming in Iride: Filosofia e discussione pubblica (2014)

23 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2014

Date Written: January 10, 2014

Abstract

In this paper I analyze the theory of legitimacy at the core of John Rawls’ political liberalism. Rawls argues that a political system is well grounded when it is stable. This notion of stability embodies both pragmatic and moral elements, each of which constitutes a key desideratum of Rawlsian liberal legitimacy. But those desiderata are in tension with each other. My main claim is that Rawls’ strategy to overcome that tension through his theory of public justification is ultimately unsuccessful, because the account of consensus it envisages is unstably placed between the extremes of moralized redundancy and pragmatic free-for-all. In other words, what counts as consensus is either regulated too tightly, or not enough.

Keywords: John Rawls, Political liberalism, Legitimacy, Consensus, Public justification

Suggested Citation

Rossi, Enzo, Legitimacy and Consensus in Rawls' Political Liberalism (January 10, 2014). Forthcoming in Iride: Filosofia e discussione pubblica (2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2377294

Enzo Rossi (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Department of Political Science
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237
Amsterdam, 1012 DL
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://uva.academia.edu/EnzoRossi

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