By Habermas, Jürgen; Rawls, John; Hedrick, Todd; Habermas, Jürgen; Rawls, John
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Extra resources for Rawls and Habermas : reason, pluralism, and the claims of political philosophy
The worry is that this move makes the justification for justice as fairness ambiguous and its content indeterminate. This brand of criticism has a number of more specific versions that concern Rawls’s egalitarianism and views on distributive justice. G. A. 15 Since I am focusing on methodological and not distributional issues, I aim here to present this type of criticism at a more general level. In the wake of the “political turn” in Rawls’s thought—inaugurated in the early 1980s, institutionalized in Political Liberalism, and extended in his final papers on public reason—both sympathizers and critics have worried that this metatheoretical reorientation transforms Rawls’s theory of justice into more of a description of the beliefs that reasonable liberals are likely to settle on, over time and with due consideration, than a prescriptive, normative theory about what conception of justice ought to be applied to the basic structure of society.
To set up this line of inquiry, and to anticipate the coming discussion of Habermas’s approach, we can note at least a surface resemblance between Habermas’s and Rawls’s methodologies and the normative sources that inform their theories, despite the seemingly daunting gulf between their freestanding and comprehensive approaches. ”8 Of course, Habermas denies that his project can be characterized as a social contract theory, but the intuition that he and Rawls broadly share is that reason’s claims do not impose themselves upon us from the outside; free, rational persons do not experience the strictures of rationality as something they are forced to obey.
1 But, for the time being, let us suppose that we are interested in preserving the normative, critical aspirations of political philosophy. In that spirit, this chapter will explore the possibilities for developing Rawls’s theory in such a way that it is not vulnerable to the descriptivist critique. I begin by trying to get clearer about the kind of justification that Rawls takes himself to be offering for his theory of The Rawlsian Apparatus of Justification justice. The question of what justification actually means for Rawls turns out not to be easy to answer, since the number of concepts and devices that have been taken to contribute in one way or another to the justification of justice as fairness is extensive: the original position, reflective equilibrium, political constructivism, the overlapping consensus, and public reason.
Rawls and Habermas : reason, pluralism, and the claims of political philosophy by Habermas, Jürgen; Rawls, John; Hedrick, Todd; Habermas, Jürgen; Rawls, John