Justice: Metaphysical, After All? [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (2):207-222 (2011)
Political liberals, following Rawls, believe that justice should be ‘political’ rather than ‘metaphysical.’ In other words, a conception of justice ought to be freestanding from first-order moral and metaethical views. The reason for this is to ensure that the state’s coercion be justified to citizens in terms that meet political liberalism’s principle of legitimacy. I suggest that privileging a political conception of justice involves costs—such as forgoing the opportunity for political theory to learn from other areas of philosophy. I argue that it is not clear that it provides any benefit in return. Whether a political conception of justice more adequately satisfies the liberal principle of legitimacy than a metaphysical conception of justice is an open question. To show this, I describe three ways in which political conceptions of justice have been developed within the literature. I then argue that while each might be helpful in finding reasons that reasonable citizens can accept, all face challenges in satisfying the liberal principle of legitimacy. Political conceptions of justice confront the same set of justificatory problems as ‘metaphysical’ conceptions. The question of whether a political conception is preferable should receive greater scrutiny
|Keywords||Political liberalism Rawls Freestanding Justice Public reason|
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References found in this work BETA
Corey Brettschneider (2007). The Politics of the Personal: A Liberal Approach. American Political Science Review 101 (1):19-31.
Joshua Cohen (2004). Minimalism About Human Rights: The Most We Can Hope For? Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (2):190–213.
Kyla Ebels-Duggan (2010). The Beginning of Community: Politics in the Face of Disagreement. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):50-71.
David M. Estlund (2009). Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework. Princeton University Press.
Gerald F. Gaus (1996). Justificatory Liberalism: An Essay on Epistemology and Political Theory. Oxford University Press.
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