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John Rawls's Justice as Fairness: anti-foundationalism, deliberative democracy, and cosmopolitanism

Fabrizio Trifiró

This paper aims at illustrating through a close reading of the works of John Rawls the anti-foundationalist cosmopolitan deliberative democratic approach to liberalism that I have sketched in the IIIS Discussion Paper N.47. I shall argue that despite what some of his critics believe Rawls' liberal theory of justice 1) is not concerned with foundational preoccupations (e.g. Michael Sandel); 2) does not ignore concrete processes of collective deliberation over matters of public interests (e.g. Amy Guttman, Dennis Thomson, Brian Barry); 3) nor does it endorse rigid limits to the scope of democratic deliberation (e.g. Jeremy Waldron, John Gray, Richard Bellamy ). Yet I shall claim, following Andrew Kuper, that 4) there is a real risk of infringing individuals' primary moral significance in trying to stretch too much the limits of liberal toleration in order to accommodate political liberalism with multiculturalism in the international sphere.


Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).