Why Reflective Equilibrium? II: Following Up on Rawls's Comparison of His Own Approach with a Kantian Approach

Ratio Juris 27 (2):288-310 (2014)
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In A Theory of Justice (1971), John Rawls introduces the concept of “reflective equilibrium.” Although there are innumerable references to and discussions of this concept in the literature, there is, to the present author's knowledge, no discussion of the most important question: Why reflective equilibrium? In particular, the question arises: Is the method of reflective equilibrium applicable to the choice of this method itself? Rawls's drawing of parallels between Kant's moral theory and his own suggests that his concept of “reflective equilibrium” is on a par with Kant's concept of “transcendental deduction.” Treating these two approaches to justification as paradigmatic, I consider their respective merits in meeting the reflexive challenge, i.e., in offering a justification for choice of mode of justification. My enquiry into this topic comprises three parts. In the first part (Eng 2014a), I raised the issue of the reflexivity of justification and questioned whether the reflexive challenge can be met within the framework of A Theory of Justice. In this second part, I shall outline a Kantian approach that represents a paradigmatic alternative to Rawls



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References found in this work

Mind and World.John Henry McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Critique of pure reason.Immanuel Kant - 1781/1998 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell. pp. 449-451.
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):389-394.
Kant's Theory of Freedom.Henry E. Allison - 1990 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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