Ariadne's Thread on Justice

Critique of Rawls

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Fred Speaking
Critics come at Rawls from all over the spectrum of political philosophy. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. People are passionate about morals and politics. Here are just a few of the critics:
  • Robert Nozick criticized Rawls from a libertarian perspective.
  • Michael Sandel and Michael Waltzer criticized him from what some call a communitarian perspective.
  • R. M. Hare criticized him from a utilitarian perspective.
  • Virginia Held criticized him from a perspective that emphasized the moral judgments we make in actual situations as opposed to hypothetical situations.
  • Richard Miller criticized him from a Marxist perspective.
  • Many other philosophers have questioned Rawls' arguments without taking any obvious political stance.

For an anthology of readings, look at Reading Rawls edited by Norman Daniels.

Let me get my own two cents in here. I want to bring God back into this discussion. I don't like the way everything we say is so completely secular. We all talk as though ethics and political philosophy have nothing at all to do with theology. I'm not so sure that's true. And, historically, there are plenty of philosophers who would agree with me.

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