Rawl’s encapsulation of society

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Adrian-Paul Iliescu


The aim of this paper is to examine the premise that society is a stable system of cooperation, a premise that constitutes one of the pillars of John Rawls’s theory of justice. The working hypothesis is that, by resort to this premise, Rawls has committed a typical philosophical error, that of ‘encapsulating’ a complex, multi dimensional phenomenon (society), into a simple, one-dimensional, essential feature (cooperation). Various possible arguments for adopting and defending this premise are analyzed, and shown to be unconvincing. It is argued that Rawls’s theory fails to take properly into account essential social components like conflict and power, and that it remains thus theoretically vulnerable from this point of view.

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ILIESCU, Adrian-Paul. Rawl’s encapsulation of society. Annals of the University of Bucharest - Philosophy Series, [S.l.], v. 62, n. 1, july 2015. ISSN 0068-3175. Available at: <http://annals.ub-filosofie.ro/index.php/annals/article/view/160>. Date accessed: 10 apr. 2021.