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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

eBook (PDF)
Publication Date:
November 2018
Copyright year:
2019
ISBN
978-3-11-053736-9
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From Consensus to Modus Vivendi? Pluralistic Approaches to the Challenge of Moral Diversity and Conflict

Spohn, Ulrike

Abstract

This essay considers two critiques of Rawls’ overlapping consensus that move beyond the Kantian paradigm, investigating instead solutions to problems of value pluralism in terms of a modus vivendi. Specifically, it examines the models of Charles Taylor and John Gray, presented respectively as dialogical and agonistic variants of modus vivendi. It is argued that Taylor, though accepting a form of overlapping consensus, is nonetheless critical of Rawls’ claim that it is justified through a freestanding and independent notion of political liberalism. For Taylor, there is no neutral conception of justification beyond the overlapping consensus itself. Gray also rejects Rawls’ notion of a freestanding justification for overlapping consensus, seeing in it the privileging of a single comprehensive view. However, he also rejects Taylor’s dialogical account which results in a consensus on something like liberal values. While Gray cannot accept Taylor’s optimistic notion that humans want to understand each other, it is argued that Gray’s “neo-Hobbesian” account of modus vivendi is likely inadequate to explain the notions of civic virtue which are an essential part of democracies today.

Citation Information

Ulrike Spohn (2018). From Consensus to Modus Vivendi? Pluralistic Approaches to the Challenge of Moral Diversity and Conflict. In Manuel Knoll, Stephen Snyder, Nurdane Şimsek (Eds.), New Perspectives on Distributive Justice: Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus (pp. 243–258). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110537369-016

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

Online ISBN: 9783110537369

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

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