Rawls, self-respect, and assurance: How past injustice changes what publicly counts as justice


Authors
Timothy Waligore
Pace University
Abstract
This article adapts John Rawls’s writings, arguing that past injustice can change what we ought to publicly affirm as the standard of justice today. My approach differs from forward-looking approaches based on alleviating prospective disadvantage and backward-looking historical entitlement approaches. In different contexts, Rawls’s own concern for the ‘social bases of self-respect’ and equal citizenship may require public endorsement of different principles or specifications of the standard of justice. Rawls’s difference principle focuses on the least advantaged socioeconomic group. I argue that a historicized difference principle considers the relative standing of racial, gender, and other historically stigmatized groups; provides their members assurance by weakening incentives to manipulate justice to another group’s advantage; and may result in policies resembling reparations, though justified by forward-looking considerations of self-respect and public assurance. I then examine how disrespectful justifications were historically used to forcibly include indigenous peoples as citizens. While Rawls thinks providing citizens one package of basic liberties signals respect, indigenous self-government could better support self-respect. I invoke Rawlsian international justice, which calls for mutual respect between peoples. Indigenous peoples’ status should reflect their past and persisting peoplehood, providing assurance by weakening incentives to unjustly transform international into domestic contexts.
Keywords Historical Injustice  Self-respect  Rawls  reparations  Indigenous Peoples  Racial Justice  Difference Principle  Historic Injustice  Slavery  Political Theory
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DOI 10.1177/1470594X15599100
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References found in this work BETA

Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
World Poverty and Human Rights.Thomas Pogge - 2002 - Ethics and International Affairs 19 (1):1-7.
Multicultural Citizenship.Will Kymlicka - 1995 - oxford university press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

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Citations of this work BETA

Rawls and Racial Justice.D. C. Matthew - 2017 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 16 (3):235-258.
Real Self-Respect and its Social Bases.Christian Schemmel - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-24.

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