Fabian Freyenhagen
University of Essex
Jörg Schaub
University of Essex
In this paper, we take up two objections Raymond Geuss levels against John Rawls′ ideal theory in Philosophy and Real Politics. We show that, despite their fundamental disagreements, the two theorists share a common starting point: they both reject doing political philosophy by way of applying an independently derived moral theory; and grapple with the danger of unduly privileging the status quo. However, neither Rawls′ characterization of politics nor his ideal theoretical approach as response to the aforementioned danger is adequate or so we argue. Moreover, contrary to received opinion, Geuss′ political philosophy is the more reflective and the more philosophical of the two. In a final section, we highlight another agreement: both think that political philosophers should develop conceptual innovations as a way of clarifying and overcoming practical problems. We demonstrate that Geuss could offer a number of reasons for finding Rawls′ conceptual innovations wanting
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DOI 10.1524/dzph.2010.58.3.457
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