Shamanistic Incantations? Rawls, Reasonableness and Secular Fundamentalism

Stephen De Wijze
University of Manchester
The paper examines a specific charge against Rawls's political liberalism, namely that the manner in which it uses the notion of reasonableness renders it a form of secular fundamentalism. The paper begins with an examination of what Rawls means by his notion of ‘the reasonable’ and briefly outlines its role in his version of political liberalism. This leads to a discussion of the different meanings of ‘secular fundamentalism’ and how it is specifically used in its criticism of Rawls's ‘justice as fairness’. The essay then offers two arguments to show that the charge of secular fundamentalism cannot be sustained due to a deep misunderstanding of the derivation and use of the notion of reasonableness as well as the context, scope, and aims of Rawls's political liberalism in particular and the project of political liberalisms more generally.
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DOI 10.3366/per.2007.3.1.109
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