Non-Domination as a Primary Good: Re-Thinking the Frontiers of the 'Political' in Rawls's Political Liberalism

Jurisprudence 2 (1):37-72 (2011)
The republican project of freedom as non-domination commits the State to endowing citizens with the resources and attitudes necessary to both apprehend domination and abstain from dominating others. This, some have argued, renders it incompatible with political liberalism, which eschews the promotion of personal liberal virtues, being derived independently of any 'comprehensive doctrine'. Republican freedom is therefore depicted as penetrating deeper, in its application, into intimate and 'private' spheres. I argue, through a Rousseauist interpretation of Rawls's social contract, that its 'political' stricture need not, however, preclude any socially transformative, emancipatory role. Thus, the promotion of freedom as non-domination is compatible with the 'modelled constraints' of Rawls's original position. Far from transgressing the 'political' limits of State power, the goods associated with non-domination may instead be seen as necessary to the realisation of 'moral personality'—independently of the 'final ends' for which it may be exercised
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DOI 10.5235/204033211796290227
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