Philosophy East and West 66 (3):720-738 (2016)

In recent years Michael Sandel’s communitarian criticism of John Rawls’s theory of justice has gained much attention in philosophical circles. Specifically, he takes issue with the conception of the self—implicit in Rawls’s “veil of ignorance”: an extraction of the individual from their social environment, which creates an “unencumbered self” that is then used to theorize about justice. Sandel believes that some social ties are so deeply embedded in the human experience that even hypothetical isolation of the individual is likely to lead ethical thinking astray. Additionally, he thinks that human emotions and other circumstantial considerations need to be taken into account. His emphasis on the situated self has...
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DOI 10.1353/pew.2016.0068
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