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|Title:||Social Criticism After Rawls: An Analysis of Interpretation and Justification|
|Authors:||Couture, Anthony Raymond|
|Abstract:||<p>Rawls's notion of reflective equilibrium is a useful framework for interpreting the relationships among the claims of social critics rather than a new method for political argument. Reflective equilibrium should be understood in a nonideal (or practical) way that allows for variations in the appropriate justification of criticism. Given contemporary conditions of argument, there are at least three feasible practices of criticism rather than one right procedure. I assess patterns of critical argument on the understanding that a coherence approach to justification is more reasonable than the alternatives.</p> <p>Nonideal reflective equilibrium breaks down into three separate practices of justification that tend to emphasize one element at the expense of others. There can be appeals to principles (rationalistic criticism), appeals to background theories (background theory criticism), and appeals to our considered judgments (connected criticism), criticize implausible versions of these practices, and propose that the three remaining "stances" are compatible and constitute a larger practice that I call post-Rawlsian pluralism.</p> <p>Inappropriate rationalism (Alan Gewirth, R.M. Hare) differs from the rationalistic stance (Brian Barry, Ronald Dworkin). Unfeasible universalism (Jurgen Habermas, Thomas Pogge) contrasts with the background theory stance (Norman Daniels, Onora 0' Neill, Gerald Doppelt, Kai Nielsen). Unacceptable ethnocentrism (Stanley Fish) is not the same as the connected stance (Michael Walzer, Richard Rorty, Stuart Hampshire, Barbara Ehrenreich).</p> <p>I defend post-Rawlsian pluralism by considering a spectrum of problems: impartiality versus commitment; political pluralism versus perspectival pluralism; cultural relativism versus international criticism; and conservatism versus radicalism. I conclude by arguing for a cooperative practice of many particularized critics characterized by different interests. My ultimate aim is to reconceive the theory of criticism as based upon the experience and standpoints of practicing critics rather than as requiring an ideal theory conceived prior to historical situations and then adapted to our needs and purposes.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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