Law and Philosophy 40 (2):129-161 (2021)

Devon Cass
Australian National University (PhD)
John Rawls’s thesis that a certain package of basic liberties should be given lexical priority is of great interest for legal and political philosophy, but it has received relatively little defense from Rawls or his supporters. In this paper, I examine three arguments for the thesis: the first is based on the two ‘moral powers’; the second, on the social bases of self-respect; and the third, on a Kantian notion of autonomy. I argue none of these accounts successfully establishes 1) the distinct claim of lexical priority, 2) for the complete package of basic liberties, on the basis of reasons that are appropriately public. In turn, I propose an alternative argument, in support of those two claims, based on the social or ‘relational’ conception of equality.
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DOI 10.1007/s10982-020-09393-4
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References found in this work BETA

What is the Point of Equality?Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Rule Over None II: Social Equality and the Justification of Democracy.Niko Kolodny - 2014 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 42 (4):287-336.
The Survival Lottery.John Harris - 1975 - Philosophy 50 (191):81 - 87.
Real Self-Respect and its Social Bases.Christian Schemmel - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (5):628-651.
Democratic Equality.Joshua Cohen - 1989 - Ethics 99 (4):727-751.

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