Pragmatic Elements of Rawls’s Theory of Justice

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, I.R.I

Abstract

In this article, in order to demonstrate the pragmatic elements of Rawls’s viewpoint, the developmental path of his A Theory of Justice shall first be investigated. This development has two phases: In the first phase, justice has an ethical-philosophical basis. In A Theory of Justice, this phase is specifically shown under the title of theory of justice. In the second phase, justice has no philosophical basis, but, as Rawls says, political justice is included. The main purpose of this article is to show the path of Rawls’s theory of justice from an ethical viewpoint to a political one. Rawls, himself, points out this transition, but the main problem is how Rawls arrives at a pragmatic viewpoint. In Rawls’s time, this viewpoint was brought to life by Richard Rorty in a particular way. Rawls is not interested in this viewpoint, but these elements indicate the above-mentioned transition. These elements are pluralism, society as a fair system of cooperation, public reason, and overlapping consensus. Although these elements are implied in A Theory of Justice and have Kantian basis, in his Political Liberalism, Rawls articulates these elements and eliminates metaphysical, religious, or any kind of doctrine from principles of justice and arrives at a practical viewpoint on justice.

Keywords


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