Liberalism communitarianism b_comp (1)

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Places Michael Sandel's critique of Rawls' Theory of Justice in its Kantian context.

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Liberalism communitarianism b_comp (1)

  1. 1. KANT, RAWLS AND SANDEL
  2. 2. Liberalism and Communitarianism Is anti-perfectionist liberalism ontologically committed to an untenable conception of the subject (person, self)? Can Right – principles of justice – be decided independently of the Good? Should the liberal state be neutral between “reasonable conceptions of the Good”? Can collective values/agency provide a basis for deliberating about the Good?
  3. 3. Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)Theoretical Philosophy Explains how objective knowledge of a mind-independent worldis possible.Practical PhilosophyExplains how unconditional moral principles can be founded onpure reason.
  4. 4. Kantian BackgroundTheoretical Philosophy (Critique of Pure Reason) Founded on a the principle of a transcendental subject which organizesdiverse sensory representations into an ordered world of appearances(Transcendental Idealism). We can only have knowledge of the phenomena (things experiencedfrom the human standpoint) unified by the Transcendental Subject. About noumena (things as they are independently of the humanstandpoint), we can know nothing!
  5. 5. Kant’s Practical Philosophy Reason cannot tell what is conditionally good because this variesbetween persons and situations. It can, however, determine whatis unconditionally good.This is a good will: “a will which is good, not as a means to somefurther end, but in itself”.Persons are thus ends in themselves and should not be regardedmerely as means.
  6. 6. Kant’s Deontological Ethics We express personal autonomy by obeying the CategoricalImperative out of duty alone: ‘I ought never to act except in such away that can also will that my maxim should become a universallaw.Autonomy expresses my real (noumenal) self’s power to standapart from causes (instinct, desire, culture) which make me actheteronomously.
  7. 7. Kant/Rawls Analogies Like the CI, the principles derived from the OP are general and universal (apply to any and all parties). The OP “resembles the point of view of noumenal selves, of what it means to be a free and equal rational being” (Rawls 1999, 225). Like the CI, Justice (The Right) has priority over The Good because: Justice constrains permissible goods. Justice is determined independently of particular goods.
  8. 8. Sandel’s Critique of Rawls Rawls’ theory requires an Unencumbered Subject - a purely formal subject of possession (Strongly implied analogy with Kant’s transcendental subject). The US is too “thin” to support the moral powers and values espoused by Rawlsian liberalism (autonomy, self-knowledge, egalitarianism).
  9. 9. Rawls’ Political Liberalism Does Rawls’ Political Liberalism respond adequately to the communitarian critique?

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