OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Why Political Liberalism?: On John Rawls's Political Turn

ISBN : 9780195393033

Price(incl.tax): 
¥12,628
Author: 
Paul J. Weithman
Pages
400 Pages
Format
Hardcover
Size
164 x 241 mm
Pub date
Apr 2011
Series
Oxford Political Philosophy
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In WHY POLITICAL LIBERALISM?, Paul Weithman offers a fresh, rigorous, and compelling interpretation of John Rawls's reasons for taking his so-called "political turn". Weithman takes Rawls at his word that justice as fairness was recast as a form of political liberalism because of an inconsistency Rawls found in his early treatment of social stability. He argues that the inconsistency is best seen by identifying the threats to stability with which the early Rawls was concerned. One of those threats, often overlooked by Rawls's readers, is the threat that the justice of a well-ordered society would be undermined by a generalized prisoner's dilemma. Showing how the Rawls of "A Theory of Justice" tried to avert that threat shows that the much-neglected third part of that book is of considerably greater philosophical interest, and has considerably more unity of focus, than is generally appreciated. Weithman painstakingly reconstructs Rawls's attempts to show that a just society would be stable, and just as carefully shows why Rawls came to think those arguments were inconsistent with other parts of his theory. Weithman then shows that the changes Rawls introduced into his view between "Theory of Justice" and "Political Liberalism" result from his attempt to remove the inconsistency and show that the hazard of the generalized prisoner's dilemma can be averted after all. Recovering Rawls's two treatments of stability helps to answer contested questions about the role of the original position and the foundations of justice as fairness. The result is a powerful and unified reading of Rawls's work that explains his political turn and shows his enduring engagement with some of the deepest concerns of human life. "Weithman has written a masterful work of Rawls scholarship. This book will deepen our understanding of how and why Rawls restructured his theory, and illuminate this fascinating transition in the history of political philosophy." Leif Wenar, Chair of Ethics, Kings College London "Weithman's reconstruction of Rawls's arguments is masterful, convincing and in many ways revelatory. Readers will find that the text provides compelling answers to a lot of puzzling questions about Rawls's project that have lingered for some time. Perhaps most importantly, Weithman gives the best explanation to date of exactly why Rawls felt compelled to revise his theory as he did." Colin Bird, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

Index: 

INTRODUCTION
OVERVIEW
THE ROAD TO COME
A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF JUSTICE AS FAIRNESS?
UNITY, THEODICY AND THE ATTRACTIONS OF LIBERALISM
A FINAL WORD TO THE READER
1. The Public Basis of View
2. Stability and Congruence
3. Ideals and Inconsistency
4. The Acquisition of Four Desires
5. Thin Reasons to be Just
6. The Argument from Love and Justice
7. Kantian Congruence and the Unified Self
8. The Great Unraveling
9. The Political Ideals of Justice as Fairness
10. Comprehensive Reasons to be Just
CONCLUSION

About the author: 

Paul Weithman is Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

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