Utilitas 29 (4):398-422 (2017)

Jeremy Williams
University of Birmingham
This paper offers a new critical evaluation of the Rawlsian model of global public reason (‘GPR’), focusing on its ability to serve as a normative standard for guiding international diplomacy and deliberation in matters of war. My thesis is that, where war is concerned, the model manifests two fatal weaknesses. First, because it demands extensive neutrality over the moral status of persons – and in particular over whether they possess equal basic worth or value – out of respect for the beliefs of inegalitarian yet ‘decent’ societies, or ‘peoples’, Rawlsian GPR renders calculations of proportionality in war impossible. Second, because its content is provided by a conception of global justice (the so-called ‘Law of Peoples’) whose injunctions are addressed exclusively to peoples, as corporate agents, Rawlsian GPR pushes the moral evaluation of the independent wartime choices of individuals off the agenda of the global public forum altogether.
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820816000376
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References found in this work BETA

The Law of Peoples.John Rawls - 2001 - Philosophical Quarterly 51 (203):246-253.
The Completeness of Public Reason.Micah Schwartzman - 2004 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (2):191-220.
Justificatory Liberalism: An Essay on Epistemology and Political Theory.David Estlund - 1996 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 59 (3):821-825.
Rawls, Reasonableness, and International Toleration.Thomas Porter - 2012 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (4):382-414.
Just Wars and Humanitarian Interventions.Rex Martin - 2005 - Journal of Social Philosophy 36 (4):439–456.

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Citations of this work BETA

Public Reason.Jonathan Quong - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Global Public Reason, Diversity, and Consent.Samuel Director - 2019 - Philosophical Papers 48 (1):31-57.

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