Responsibility and Justice: Beyond Moral Egalitarianism and Rational Consensus

Abstract

John Rawls stakes the possibility of justice on the autonomy, tolerance and self-reflection of each participant in a deliberative process. The deliberation on the idea of justice behind the veil of ignorance implies a sense of indifference to the otherness of others and their life projects. However, objectivity of justice requires first and foremost a response to others’ needs, protection of others’ rights as well as engagement with them. The institutions are created and dedicated to this purpose instead of being committed to the fulfillment of the idea of justice as fairness. The very search for justice, without which justice is impossible, is inspired by responsibility. But responsibility and justice are unlikely to be a matter of rational consensus and moral egalitarianism.

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