Reconstructing Rawls: The Kantian Foundations of Justice as Fairness

Paperback | May 31, 2011

byRobert S. Taylor

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Reconstructing Rawls has one overarching goal: to reclaim Rawls for the Enlightenment—more specifically, the Prussian Enlightenment. Rawls’s so-called political turn in the 1980s, motivated by a newfound interest in pluralism and the accommodation of difference, has been unhealthy for autonomy-based liberalism and has led liberalism more broadly toward cultural relativism, be it in the guise of liberal multiculturalism or critiques of cosmopolitan distributive-justice theories. Robert Taylor believes that it is time to redeem A Theory of Justice’s implicit promise of a universalistic, comprehensive Kantian liberalism. Reconstructing Rawls on Kantian foundations leads to some unorthodox conclusions about justice as fairness, to be sure: for example, it yields a more civic-humanist reading of the priority of political liberty, a more Marxist reading of the priority of fair equality of opportunity, and a more ascetic or antimaterialist reading of the difference principle. It nonetheless leaves us with a theory that is still recognizably Rawlsian and reveals a previously untraveled road out of Theory—a road very different from the one Rawls himself ultimately followed.

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Reconstructing Rawls has one overarching goal: to reclaim Rawls for the Enlightenment—more specifically, the Prussian Enlightenment. Rawls’s so-called political turn in the 1980s, motivated by a newfound interest in pluralism and the accommodation of difference, has been unhealthy for autonomy-based liberalism and has led liberalism mo...

Robert S. Taylor is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.81 inPublished:May 31, 2011Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271037725

ISBN - 13:9780271037721

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface and Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Acronyms

Introduction

Part 1: Kantian Affinities

1. Rawls’s Kantianism

Part 2: Reconstructing Rawls

2. The Kantian Conception of the Person

3. The Priorities of Right and Political Liberty

4. The Priority of Civil Liberty

5. The Priority of Fair Equality of Opportunity

6. The Difference Principle

Part 3: Kantian Foundations

7. Justifying the Kantian Conception of the Person

8. The Poverty of Political Liberalism

Conclusion: Justice as Fairness as a Universalistic Kantian Liberalism

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Taylor’s spirited championing of a universalistic form of liberalism . . . is especially intriguing and provocative, as well as particularly relevant to recent discussions of ‘American exceptionalism’ in its relation to other countries and cultures. . . . [This] book is essential reading for scholars of Kant, Rawls, and liberal theory in general. Taylor’s contribution to scholarship in these areas is indeed significant and his arguments extraordinarily challenging.”—S. Adam Seagrave, American Political Thought