This book continues and revises the ideas of justice as fairnessthat John Rawls presented in A Theory of Justice butchanges its philosophical interpretation in. Page 1. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page John Rawls' Political Liberalism is much more than just an effort to correct what Rawls saw as an error in his masterwork, A Theory of Justice. The political.
|Language:||English, German, Hindi|
|Genre:||Science & Research|
|ePub File Size:||24.75 MB|
|PDF File Size:||19.50 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Registration Required]|
Political liberalism was born out of a crisis in this principle of legitimacy. The ambition . In the third part of A Theory of Justice (henceforth Theory), Rawls de-. This edition includes the essay "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited," which outlines Rawls' plans to revise _Political Liberalism,_ which were cut short by his . PDF | On Jan 1, , M Kuna and others published The political liberalism of John Rawls.
For even in a society of reasonable pluralism, it would be unreasonable to expect everyone to endorse, say, a reasonable Catholicism as the basis for a constitutional settlement. Reasonable Muslims or atheists cannot be expected to endorse Catholicism as setting the basic terms for social life. Nor, of course, can Catholics be expected to accept Islam or atheism as the fundamental basis of law. No comprehensive doctrine can be accepted by all reasonable citizens, and so no comprehensive doctrine can serve as the basis for the legitimate use of coercive political power.
Yet where else then to turn to find the ideas that will flesh out society's most basic laws, which all citizens will be required to obey?
Since justification is addressed to others, it proceeds from what is, or can be, held in common; and so we begin from shared fundamental ideas implicit in the public political culture in the hope of developing from them a political conception that can gain free and reasoned agreement in judgment.
PL, —01 There is only one source of fundamental ideas that can serve as a focal point for all reasonable citizens of a liberal society. This is the society's public political culture.
Rawls looks to fundamental ideas implicit, for example, in the design of the society's government, in the constitutional list of individual rights, and in the historic decisions of important courts.
These fundamental ideas from the public political culture can be crafted into a political conception of justice. A political conception of justice is an interpretation of the fundamental ideas implicit in that society's public political culture. A political conception is not derived from any particular comprehensive doctrine, nor is it a compromise among the worldviews that happen to exist in society at the moment.
Rather a political conception is freestanding: its content is set out independently of the comprehensive doctrines that citizens affirm. Reasonable citizens, who want to cooperate with one another on mutually acceptable terms, will see that a freestanding political conception generated from ideas in the public political culture is the only basis for cooperation that all citizens can reasonably be expected to endorse. The use of coercive political power guided by the principles of a political conception of justice will therefore be legitimate.
The three most fundamental ideas that Rawls finds in the public political culture of a democratic society are that citizens are free and equal, and that society should be a fair system of cooperation. All liberal political conceptions of justice will therefore be centered on interpretations of these three fundamental ideas. Since all the members of this family interpret the same fundamental ideas, however, all liberal political conceptions of justice will share certain basic features: A liberal political conception of justice will ascribe to all citizens familiar individual rights and liberties, such as rights of free expression, liberty of conscience, and free choice of occupation; A political conception will give special priority to these rights and liberties, especially over demands to further the general good e.
These abstract features must, Rawls says, be realized in certain kinds of institutions. He mentions several features that all societies that are ordered by a liberal political conception will share: fair opportunities for all citizens especially in education and training ; a decent distribution of income and wealth; government as the employer of last resort; basic health care for all citizens; and public financing of elections.
By Rawls's criteria, a libertarian conception of justice such as Nozick's in Anarchy, State, and Utopia is not a liberal political conception of justice. Libertarianism does not assure all citizens sufficient means to make use of their basic liberties, and it permits excessive inequalities of wealth and power.
By contrast, Rawls's own conception of justice justice as fairness does qualify as a member of the family of liberal political conceptions of justice. The use of political power in a liberal society will be legitimate if it is employed in accordance with the principles of any liberal conception of justice—justice as fairness, or some other. Yet the challenge of stability remains: why will citizens willingly obey the law as specified by a liberal political conception?
Legitimacy means that the law may permissibly be enforced; Rawls still needs to explain why citizens have reasons, from within their own points of view, to abide by such a law. If citizens do not believe they have such reasons, social order may disintegrate.
Rawls places his hopes for social stability on an overlapping consensus. In an overlapping consensus, citizens all endorse a core set of laws for different reasons. In Rawlsian terms, each citizen supports a political conception of justice for reasons internal to her own comprehensive doctrine.
Recall that the content of a political conception is freestanding: it is specified without reference to any comprehensive doctrine. Here is an example. The quotation below from the second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church shows how a particular comprehensive doctrine Catholicism affirms one component of a liberal political conception a familiar individual liberty from within its own perspective: This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom.
This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that in matters religious no one is forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs.
Nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.
The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, as this dignity is known through the revealed Word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.
A reasonable Islamic doctrine, and a reasonable atheistic doctrine, might also affirm this same right to religious freedom--not, of course, for the same reasons as Catholic doctrine, but each for its own reasons.
In an overlapping consensus, all reasonable comprehensive doctrines will support the right to religious freedom, each for its own reasons. Indeed, in an overlapping consensus, all reasonable comprehensive doctrines will endorse all of a political conception of justice, each from within its own point of view.
Some citizens may see liberalism as derived directly from their deepest beliefs, as in the quotation from Vatican II above. Others may accept a liberal conception as attractive in itself, but mostly separate from their other concerns.
What is crucial is that all citizens view the values of a political conception of justice as very great values, which normally outweigh their other values should these conflict on some particular issue.
All citizens, for their own reasons, give the political conception priority in their reasoning about how their society's basic laws should be ordered. Rawls sees an overlapping consensus as the most desirable form of stability in a free society. Stability in an overlapping consensus is superior to a mere balance of power a modus vivendi among citizens who hold contending worldviews.
After all, power often shifts, and when it does the social stability of a modus vivendi may be lost. In an overlapping consensus, citizens affirm a political conception wholeheartedly from within their own perspectives, and so will continue to do so even if their group gains or loses political power. Rawls says that an overlapping consensus is stable for the right reasons: each citizen affirms a moral doctrine a liberal conception of justice for moral reasons as given by their comprehensive doctrine.
Abiding by liberal basic laws is not a citizen's second-best option in the face of the power of others; it is each citizen's first-best option given her own beliefs. Rawls does not assert that an overlapping consensus is achievable in every liberal society.
Nor does he say that, once established, an overlapping consensus must forever endure. Citizens in some societies may have too little in common to converge on a liberal political conception of justice. In other societies, unreasonable doctrines may spread until they overwhelm liberal institutions. Rawls does hold that history shows both deepening trust and convergence in beliefs among citizens in many liberal societies.
This gives hope that an overlapping consensus is at least possible. Where an overlapping consensus is possible, Rawls believes, it is the best support for social stability that a free society can achieve.
It is unreasonable for citizens to attempt to impose what they see as the whole truth on others—political power must be used in ways that all citizens may reasonably be expected to endorse. With his doctrine of public reason, Rawls extends this requirement of reciprocity to apply directly to how citizens explain their political decisions to one another.
In essence, public reason requires citizens to be able to justify their political decisions to one another using publicly available values and standards. To take a straightforward example: a Supreme Court justice deciding on a gay marriage law would violate public reason were she to base her opinion on God's forbidding gay sex in the book of Leviticus, or on a personal spiritual revelation that upholding such a law would hasten the end of days. This is because not all members of society can reasonably be expected to accept Leviticus as stating an authoritative set of political values, nor can a religious premonition be a common standard for evaluating public policy.
These values and standards are not public. Rawls's doctrine of public reason can be summarized as follows: Citizens engaged in certain political activities have a duty of civility to be able to justify their decisions on fundamental political issues by reference only to public values and public standards.
Each of the highlighted terms in this doctrine can be further elucidated as follows: The public values that citizens must be able to appeal to are the values of a political conception of justice: those related to the freedom and equality of citizens, and to the fairness of the terms of social cooperation. Among such public values are the freedom of religious practice, the political equality of women and of racial minorities, the efficiency of the economy, the preservation of a healthy environment, and the stability of the family which helps the orderly reproduction of society from one generation to the next.
Nonpublic values are the values internal to associations like churches e. Similarly, citizens should be able to justify their political decisions by public standards of inquiry. Public standards are principles of reasoning and rules of evidence that all citizens could reasonably endorse.
So citizens are not to justify their political decisions by appeal to divination, or to complex and disputed economic or psychological theories. Rather, publicly acceptable standards are those that rely on common sense, on facts generally known, and on the conclusions of science that are well established and not controversial. The duty to abide by public reason applies when the most fundamental political issues are at stake: issues such as who has the right to vote, which religions are to be tolerated, who will be eligible to own property, and what are suspect classifications for discrimination in hiring decisions.
These are what Rawls calls constitutional essentials and matters of basic justice. Public reason applies more weakly, if at all, to less momentous political questions, for example to most laws that change the rate of tax, or that put aside public money to maintain national parks.
Citizens have a duty to constrain their decisions by public reason only when they engage in certain political activities, usually when exercising powers of public office. So judges are bound by public reason when they issue their rulings, legislators should abide by public reason when speaking and voting in the legislature, and the executive and candidates for high office should respect public reason in their public pronouncements.
Significantly, Rawls says that voters should also heed public reason when they vote. All of these activities are or support exercises of political power, so by the liberal principle of legitimacy all must be justifiable in terms that all citizens might reasonably endorse. However, citizens are not bound by any duties of public reason when they engage in other activities, for example when they worship in church, perform on stage, pursue scientific research, send letters to the editor, or talk politics around the dinner table.
The duty to be able to justify one's political decisions with public reasons is a moral duty, not a legal duty: it is a duty of civility. All citizens always have their full legal rights to free expression, and overstepping the bounds of public reason is never in itself a crime. Rather, citizens have a moral duty of mutual respect and civic friendship not to justify their political decisions on fundamental issues by appeal to partisan values or controversial standards of reasoning that cannot be publicly redeemed.
In an important proviso, Rawls adds that citizens may speak the language of their controversial comprehensive doctrines—even as public officials, and even on the most fundamental issues—so long as they show how these assertions support the public values that all share.
So President Lincoln, for instance, could legitimately condemn the evil of slavery using Biblical imagery, since he also condemned slavery in terms of the public values of freedom and equality. Thus even within its limited range of application, Rawls's doctrine of public reason is rather permissive concerning what citizens may say and do within the bounds of civility.
Justice as Fairness: Justice within a Liberal Society Justice as fairness is Rawls's theory of justice for a liberal society. As a member of the family of liberal political conceptions of justice it provides a framework for the legitimate use of political power.
Yet legitimacy is only the minimal standard of moral acceptability; a political order can be legitimate without being just. Justice sets the maximal standard: the arrangement of social institutions that is morally best. Rawls constructs justice as fairness around specific interpretations of the ideas that citizens are free and equal and that society should be fair. He sees it as resolving the tensions between the ideas of freedom and equality, which have been highlighted both by the socialist critique of liberal democracy and by the conservative critique of the modern welfare state.
Rawls holds that justice as fairness is the most egalitarian, and also the most plausible, interpretation of these fundamental concepts of liberalism. He also argues that justice as fairness provides a superior understanding of justice to that of the dominant tradition in modern political thought: utilitarianism.
Rawls calls the arrangement of these institutions a society's basic structure. The basic structure is the location of justice because these institutions distribute the main benefits and burdens of social life: who will receive social recognition, who will have which basic rights, who will have opportunities to get what kind of work, what the distribution of income and wealth will be, and so on. The form of a society's basic structure will have profound effects on the lives of citizens.
The basic structure will influence not only their life prospects, but more deeply their goals, their attitudes, their relationships, and their characters. Institutions that will have such pervasive influence on people's lives require justification.
Since leaving one's society is not a realistic option for most people, the justification cannot be that citizens have consented to a basic structure by staying in the country. And since the rules of any basic structure will be coercively enforced, often with serious penalties, the demand to justify the imposition of any particular set of rules intensifies further.
Rawls's Political Liberalism
In setting out justice as fairness, Rawls assumes that the liberal society in question is marked by reasonable pluralism as described above, and also that it is under reasonably favorable conditions: that there are enough resources for it to be possible for everyone's basic needs to be met.
Rawls makes the simplifying assumption that the society is self-sufficient and closed, so that citizens enter it only by birth and leave it only at death.
He also confines his attention mainly to ideal theory, putting aside questions such as those of criminal justice. Yet citizens are not indifferent to how the benefits and burdens of cooperation will be divided amongst them. Rawls's principles of justice as fairness articulate the central liberal ideas that cooperation should be fair to all citizens regarded as free and as equals.
The distinctive interpretation that Rawls gives to these concepts can be seen as combining a negative and a positive thesis. Rawls's negative thesis starts with the idea that citizens do not deserve to be born into a rich or a poor family, to be born naturally more or less gifted than others, to be born female or male, to be born a member of a particular racial group, and so on. Since these features of persons are morally arbitrary in this sense, citizens are not entitled to more of the benefits of social cooperation simply because of them.
For example the fact that a citizen was born rich, white, and male provides no reason in itself for this citizen to be favored by social institutions. This negative thesis does not say how social goods should be distributed; it merely clears the decks. Rawls's positive distributive thesis is equality-based reciprocity. All social goods are to be distributed equally, unless an unequal distribution would be to everyone's advantage.
The guiding idea is that since citizens are fundamentally equal, reasoning about justice should begin from a presumption that cooperatively-produced goods should be equally divided. Justice then requires that any inequalities must benefit all citizens, and particularly must benefit those who will have the least.
Equality sets the baseline; from there any inequalities must improve everyone's situation, and especially the situation of the worst-off. These strong requirements of equality and reciprocal advantage are hallmarks of Rawls's theory of justice.
JF, 42—43 The first principle of equal basic liberties is to be embodied in the political constitution, while the second principle applies primarily to economic institutions. Fulfillment of the first principle takes priority over fulfillment of the second principle, and within the second principle fair equality of opportunity takes priority over the difference principle.
The first principle affirms that all citizens should have the familiar basic rights and liberties: liberty of conscience and freedom of association, freedom of speech and liberty of the person, the rights to vote, to hold public office, to be treated in accordance with the rule of law, and so on. The first principle accords these rights and liberties to all citizens equally. Unequal rights would not benefit those who would get a lesser share of the rights, so justice requires equal rights for all, in all normal circumstances.
Rawls's first principle confirms widespread convictions about the importance of equal basic rights and liberties. The other essays, all of them up-to-date, are of very high quality. The essays range across a wide variety of philosophically interesting topics most of them topics with a nice trail of discussion in the secondary literature, amply commented on in the treatments provided in the various chapters.
One main focus of the book is on the myriad ways in which overlapping consensus and political stability operating together on a terrain of moral pluralism work together.
The book makes a strong and compelling case for the enduring philosophical significance of Political Liberalism. Rex Martin, University of Kansas The contributors to this jewel of a collection reveal that there remains much to learn by engaging with Rawls's Political Liberalism.
By querying the potential international reach of political liberalism, probing its capacity to account for constitutional and legal arrangements, and reexamining its appeal to conceptions of the good, the authors bring to light new aspects of the work's depth.
Henry S. Richardson, Georgetown University These essays by leading political, moral, and legal theorists provide significant interpretations and reassessments of the central ideas of Rawls's Political Liberalism.
Martha Nussbaum's introduction is a real service, a must read particularly for those new to the field. Frank Michelman's essay is the best work of its kind on the constitutional specification of the basic liberties, and Jeremy Waldron presents significant new challenges to the idea of public reason.
Highly recommended. Nussbaum 1. Changing Constructions, by Onora O'Neill 2.Find it on Scholar.
References Parekh, Bhikku. And a political doctrine than does Rawls. The first part, fair equality of opportunity, requires that citizens with the same talents and willingness to use them have the same educational and economic opportunities regardless of whether they were born rich or poor.
That previous work assumed what Rawls calls a "well-ordered society," one that is stable and relatively homogenous in its basic moral beliefs and in which there is broad agreement about what constitutes the good life. But in their everyday actions, they rectly note, is how they view the relationship between will often be guided by self-interest. Mill John Stuart. He also argues that justice as fairness provides a superior understanding of justice to that of the dominant tradition in modern political thought: utilitarianism.
We contend that Rawls accords a much larger role to the state in enforcing justice than does Mill.