Political Liberalism

Columbia University Press, 1993 - 401 páginas
In Political Liberalism John Rawls continues and revises the idea of justice as fairness he presented in A Theory of Justice, but changes its philosophical interpretation in a fundamental way. His earlier work assumed what Rawls calls a "well-ordered society", one that is stable, relatively homogenous in its basic moral beliefs, and in which there is broad agreement about what constitutes the good life. Yet in modern democratic society a plurality of incompatible and irreconcilable doctrines - religious, philosophical, and moral - coexist within the framework of democratic institutions. Indeed, free institutions themselves encourage this plurality of doctrines as the normal outgrowth of freedom over time. Recognizing this as a permanent condition of democracy, Rawls therefore asks, how can a stable and just society of free and equal citizens live in concord when deeply divided by these reasonable, but incompatible, doctrines? His answer is based on a redefinition of a "well-ordered society". It is no longer a society united in its basic moral beliefs but in its political conception of justice, and this justice is the focus of an overlapping consensus of reasonable comprehensive doctrines. Justice as fairness is now presented as an example of such a political conception; that it can be the focus of an overlapping consensus means that it can be endorsed by the main religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines that endure over time in a well-ordered society. Such a consensus, Rawls believes, represents the most likely basis of society unity available in a constitutional democratic regime. Were it achieved, it would extend and complete the movement of thought that began three centuries agowith the gradual if reluctant acceptance of the principle of toleration. This process would end with the full acceptance and understanding of modern liberties.

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Political liberalism

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With the publication of his first book, A Theory of Justice ( LJ 4/1/72), Harvard philosopher Rawls catapulted himself into the first rank of contemporary political philosophers. His difficult and ... Ler resenha completa

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Sobre o autor (1993)

John Rawls, professor of philosophy at Harvard University, had published a number of articles on the concept of justice as fairness before the appearance of his magnum opus, A Theory of Justice (1971). While the articles had won for Rawls considerable prestige, the reception of his book thrust him into the front ranks of contemporary moral philosophy. Presenting a Kantian alternative to conventional utilitarianism and intuitionism, Rawls offers a theory of justice that is contractual and that rests on principles that he alleges would be accepted by free, rational persons in a state of nature, that is, of equality. The chorus of praise was loud and clear. Stuart Hampshire acclaimed the book as "the most substantial and interesting contribution to moral philosophy since the war."H. A. Bedau declared: "As a work of close and original scholarship in the service of the dominant moral and political ideology of our civilization, Rawls's treatise is simply without a rival." Rawls historically achieved two important things: (1) He articulated a coherent moral philosophy for the welfare state, and (2) he demonstrated that analytic philosophy was most capable of doing constructive work in moral philosophy. A Theory of Justice has become the most influential work in political, legal, and social philosophy by an American author in the twentieth century.

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