Friday, September 09, 2011

New Book: Recontructing Rawls

Reconstructing Rawls
The Kantian Foundations of Justice as Fairness

By Robert S. Taylor

(Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011)

336 pages

From the Preface

"This book has one overarching goal: to reclaim Rawls for the Enlightenment — more specifically, the Prussian Enlightenment. His 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 towards cultural relativism, be it in the guise of liberal multiculturalism or critiques of cosmopolitan distributive-justice theories. I believe it is time to redeem Theory’s implicit promise of a universalistic, comprehensive Kantian liberalism, a promise that went unredeemed in Rawls's lifetime but on which this book attempts to deliver. 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."


Introduction [pdf]

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

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

See also Robert S. Taylor's papers on Rawls:
- "Self-Realization and the Priority of Fair Equality of Opportunity" (2005)
- "Kantian Personal Autonomy" (2005)
- "Rawls's Defense of the Priority of Liberty: A Kantian Reconstruction" (2008)

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