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New Perspectives on Distributive Justice

Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus

Ed. by Knoll, Manuel / Snyder, Stephen / Şimsek, Nurdane

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November 2018
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Rawls on Overlapping Disagreement and the Problem of Reconciliation

Siani, Alberto L.


This paper claims that Rawls’s idea of a political liberalism has a radical innovative potential for political philosophy that still needs to be fully appreciated. To this aim, the paper works between the poles of overlapping disagreement and reconciliation. Political liberalism relinquishes once and for all the idea that an adequate philosophical account of rationality is capable of establishing political consensus even among reasonable individuals. Accordingly, political agreement, if possible at all, has to be achieved on the basis of existing political ideas, whereby political liberalism delimits the domain of public reason, i. e., the space of the public discussion on the most reasonable political conception, which, according to Rawls, is “justice as fairness”. Hence, the task of political liberalism and that of justice as fairness constitute the two complementary yet distinct aspects of a project of philosophical reconciliation, the limits of which this paper discusses in order to consolidate the thesis that overlapping disagreement can never be fully dissolved through philosophical means.

Citation Information

Alberto L. Siani (2018). Rawls on Overlapping Disagreement and the Problem of Reconciliation. In Manuel Knoll, Stephen Snyder, Nurdane Şimsek (Eds.), New Perspectives on Distributive Justice: Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus (pp. 207–224). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110537369-014

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110537369

Online ISBN: 9783110537369

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/BostonGet Permission

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