Reference : The real problem with Rawlsian reasonableness
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Arts & humanities : Philosophy & ethics
The real problem with Rawlsian reasonableness
Burks, Deven mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Humanities (DHUM) >]
2021 APA Eastern Division Meeting
from 07/01/2021 to 16/01/2021
[en] Rawls ; reasonableness ; justification
[en] Rawlsian “reasonableness” has been criticized as “loaded” (Stout 2004: 184), “chimerical” (Young 2005: 308) or “entirely circular” (Mulhall and Swift 2003: 483). Yet these reactions often equivocate on the meaning of reasonableness (Freeman 2004: 2063-5). Herein, I propose a narrow, immanent criticism whereon the two basic aspects of reasonableness – (A1) proposing and abiding by fair terms of cooperation and (A2) recognizing the “burdens of judgment” (Rawls 1996: 54-8) – may conflict: accepting (A2) may give the person reason to disagree over the need for (A1). To show this, I first restate two aspects of reasonableness as a biconditional: a person is reasonable iff (A1) and (A2) obtain. I then examine whether the five burdens give reason to doubt the requirement in (A1). I find that each burden gives at least some reason to doubt just this requirement and conclude that Rawlsian reasonableness is inconsistent and in need of reformulation.
This analysis yields two striking conclusions. First, public reason becomes looser and shifts to the domain of politics where one sees what public reasons others may in fact accept (Laden 2001). Seen from a different angle, one need not accept the idea that the first basic aspect and, hence, Rawlsian reasonableness are necessary conditions of political justification under conditions of reasonable pluralism (contra Krasnoff 2014: 696-7): rejecting this aspect and reasonableness in no way means that there can be no political justification under conditions of (reasonable) pluralism. Second, when conceiving justification and discourse, Rawls may be committed, despite himself, to accepting “reasonableness pluralism”, i.e. the view that there exist distinct, possibly irreconcilable accounts of reasonableness to which one may appeal when conceiving justification and discourse. Their combination may lead to a public reason liberalism framework which is at once looser and more actionable.

There is no file associated with this reference.

Bookmark and Share SFX Query

All documents in ORBilu are protected by a user license.