Rawls’s political ontology

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (2):157-174 (2005)
Abstract
The background thesis is that an implicit ontology of the people and the relation between the people and the state often shapes how we think in normative terms about politics. This article attempts to defend that thesis in relation to Rawls. The argument is that the rejection of an image of the people as a group agent connects with his objection to utilitarianism and the rejection of an image of the people as a mere aggregate connects with his objection to libertarianism. Rawls, it is argued, holds by an in-between picture and it is this that explains many of his most distinctive commitments. Key Words: Rawls • social ontology • group agent • solidarism • singularism • civicity.
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