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Durham e-Theses
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Rawlsian liberalism a constructive critique

Haslewood, Nathan Richard Dering (2006) Rawlsian liberalism a constructive critique. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This dissertation makes three major assertions. The first is that the philosophical foundations of Rawls’ most famous and influential work, A Theory of Justice, are so flawed that, upon detailed investigation, we are forced to reject both the foundations themselves and the resultant theories on which they are based. Following consideration of various attacks and defences from both sides of the "Liberal / Communitarian debate, Rawls' findings are found to contain an unacceptable number of unjustified assumptions that could just as easily be taken to be true as false. Rawls himself later admits and highlights the mistakes and assumptions of his previous work, leading he himself to eventually dismiss their validity. This leads to the second assertion, that the differences between the theories of the Rawls of A Theory of Justice and thermals of The Law of Peoples are so great that a distinction in terminology should be adopted. I assert that we must now begin to speak of the "early" and "later" Rawls to make the distinction in his philosophical legacy clear. The third assertion is that the theories of Rawls' later works continue to utilise a methodology which is overly reliant on assumption. After discussing a number of broad ideas and concepts that Rawls raises at their most abstract possible level, the thesis seeks to provide some very basic foundational premises that are taken to be preferential. Given the limits of this thesis, these premises are intended as suggestions more than fully thought out conclusions. The dissertation ends with a discussion of Rawls' legacy, how it might be interpreted and used, and my recommendations for how his ideas might be improved upon.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:2006
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:30

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