Rawls, equality, and democracy

Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (3):203-246 (2008)
Abstract
Part I distinguishes epistemic and choice democracy, attributing the first to the Rawls of A Theory of Justice but arguing that the second is more justifiable. Part II argues that in comparison with the difference principle, three principles — equal participation in choice democracy, no subordinating purpose, and a just wants guarantee — constitute a more rational choice in the original position; and that they better provide all the benefits claimed for the difference principle in its comparison with either average utilitarianism or restricted average utilitarianism (the mixed conception). Part III, despite noting that my conclusions in Part II can all be reached within the Rawlsian framework, suggests that finding the basis of equality in the presuppositions of communicative action rather than in the existence of the two basic moral powers is more conducive to the affirmative conclusions of Parts I and II. It argues that Rawls' conclusions represented in part his not fully carrying out the break with Kant that he identified himself as making. Key Words: communicative action • democracy • difference principle • distribution • equality • just wants • Immanuel Kant • liberal neutrality • John Rawls • social minimum • subordination • toleration.
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