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A Democratic Theory of Judgment$
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Linda M. G. Zerilli

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226397849

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226398037.001.0001

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Value Pluralism and the “Burdens of Judgment”: John Rawls’s Political Liberalism

Value Pluralism and the “Burdens of Judgment”: John Rawls’s Political Liberalism

(p.143) Five Value Pluralism and the “Burdens of Judgment”: John Rawls’s Political Liberalism
A Democratic Theory of Judgment

Linda M. G. Zerilli

University of Chicago Press

Examines John Rawls's conception of the "burdens of judgment" that characterize political liberalism. For Rawls, judgment in a multicultural society requires that we make judgments on the basis of of what we can expect others to reasonably accept. What is reasonable is that which is embedded in an ideal of public reason, which should be the only rule governing our public judgments. This chapter explores how a context-free conception of reasonableness comes to govern Rawls understanding of what sorts of claims are, and are not, allowed in public debate. Because Rawls ascribes, if only implicitly, to an idea of sentence meaning, he cannot countenance truth claims in politics. Through the work of Wittgenstein and Arendt, this taboo on truth claims is exposed as a misunderstanding of what we do when we speak politically and as an inadequate for explaining some of the most momentous changes and movements in political history (e.g. abolitionism, suffragism, civil rights, feminism).

Keywords:   John Rawls, political liberalism, Frederick Douglass, abolition

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