The implicit assumptions of dividing a cake: Political or comprehensive? [Book Review]

Human Studies 27 (3):307-334 (2004)
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Rawls''s recent modification of his theory of justice claims that political liberalism is free-standing and falls under the category of the political. It works entirely within that domain and does not rely on anything outside it In this article I pursue the metatheoretical goal of obtaining insight into the anthropological assumptions that have remained so far unacknowledged by Rawls and critics alike. My argument is that political liberalism has a dependence on comprehensive liberalism and its conception of a self-serving subjectivity that is far more binding as well as undesirable than it has been so far acknowledged. I proceed with a heuristic approach that introduces us to the possibility that political liberalism presupposes tacitly the Occidental metanarrative of reason harnessing rampant self-interest and subordinating it to a higher-order interest. As the presuppositions of political liberalism emerge, I draw from the debate between Rawls and Habermas in order to illustrate my argument for the existence of a dependence on these presuppositions. I outline some implications of the anthropological basis of political liberalism and conclude by exemplifying them with reference to Rawls''s comments on the division of a cake.



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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Knowledge and human interests.Jürgen Habermas - 1971 - London [etc.]: Heinemann Educational.
Kantian constructivism in moral theory.John Rawls - 1930 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (9):515-572.
Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view.Immanuel Kant - 2006 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Robert B. Louden.
Justice as fairness: Political not metaphysical.John Rawls - 1985 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 14 (3):223-251.

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