Reassessing Walzer’s social criticism

Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (9):917-937 (2012)
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It is often argued that Michael Walzer’s theory of social criticism, which underpins his theory of justice, is not much of a theory at all, but rather an impressionistic collection of historical anecdotes. Contrary to this perception, I argue that Walzer’s method can be accurately described as a version of John Rawls’ well-known method of wide reflective equilibrium. Through a systematic comparison it can be shown that the two methods are strikingly similar. This implies that, far from the critics’ claim, Walzer’s method can be described as a philosophically sophisticated method. This also adds credibility to Walzer’s views on politics and justice.



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