The Impossibility of a “Political” Conception

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Abstract

Justice as fairness is understood to be freestanding in that it is to be presented apart from any specific comprehensive doctrine. It is, in other words, “political, not metaphysical.” The idea of a such a political conception, however, raises a number of very serious problems with respect to justification and rationality. Ultimately, to ask if political philosophy should be done without metaphysics is to overlook the sense in which any political claim unavoidably reflects serious and controversial commitments of a moral and metaphysical nature.

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