John Rawls argues in Political Liberalism that a conception of justice has to be freestanding, and theorizing ought to begin from the public political culture of a democratic society: a shared fund of fundamental ideas that is implicitly affirmed by the citizens in a democratic state. Conceptions of justice based on one comprehensive moral or philosophical doctrine will be oppressive to people who do not share that particular comprehensive doctrine.
In this presentation, I will offer criticisms against Rawls’s use of the public political culture in his theory. I argue that (i) Rawls is unable to offer any justification for liberalism in states that needs liberalism most, (ii) Rawls makes problematic assumptions about the fundamental ideas of a democratic society, and (iii) Rawls’s liberal prescriptions are already assumed when the fundamental ideas are drawn from a democratic society. The success of my arguments will pave the way for the possibility of establishing moral foundations for public reason liberalism.
Graduate Seminar Series.
Date: Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014
Time: 2 pm – 3 pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 #05-23)
Speaker: Li Qingyi
Moderator: Melvin Ng
About the Speaker:
Qingyi is working towards his M.A. in Philosophy and his area of interest is in political philosophy. His dissertation project examines the moral foundations of political philosophy, more specifically liberal neutrality. Other topics of interest in political philosophy include: liberal theory, methodological concerns in political philosophy, distributive justice and global justice. His interests also extend to moral philosophy.