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Rawlsian theory and the circumstances of politics

Record type: Article

Can Rawlsian theory provide us with an adequate response to the practical question of how we should proceed in the face of widespread and intractable disagreement over matters of justice? Recent criticism of ideal theorizing might make us wonder whether this question highlights another way in which ideal theory can be too far removed from our non-ideal circumstances to provide any practical guidance. Further reflection on it does not show that ideal theory is redundant, but it does indicate that there is a need for a nonideal theory that does not consist simply in an account of how to apply the principles which are yielded by ideal theory to non-ideal circumstances in the light of what is feasible and an assessment of the costs of implementation. Indeed any non-ideal theory that can adequately address this question will have to be partially autonomous, drawing on a notion of legitimacy that is rather different to the one which lies at the heart of Rawlsian ideal theory.

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Citation

Mason, Andrew (2010) Rawlsian theory and the circumstances of politics Political Theory, 38, (5), pp. 658-683. (doi:10.1177/0090591710372862).

More information

Published date: October 2010
Keywords: rawls, justice, legitimacy, disagreement

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 151769
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/151769
ISSN: 1470-8914
PURE UUID: 8e380b01-0dc5-4279-aa66-f2bf5732398f

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 May 2010 13:18
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:55

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