Posted: 23 Jun 2005
Social ontology does not drive political theory as axioms drive a theorem, but it can have an important shaping or constraining effect; this fits with Rawls's idea that our views on normative and related topics should be in 'wide reflective equilibrium' This paper tries to document the shaping effect of Rawls's social ontology on his theory of international justice. It begins with a characterization of Rawls's rejection of cosmopolitanism. It reviews the claims that he makes about peoples and tries to articulate the ontology of peoples that they support. And then in the final section it shows how that ontology helps to explain his position on cosmopolitanism.
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