Liberalism and the Defence of Political Constructivism by C. McKinnon

By C. McKinnon

Modern liberal political justification is usually accused of preaching to the switched over: liberal rules are appropriate in basic terms to humans already devoted to liberal values. Catriona McKinnon addresses this crucial feedback through arguing that self-respect and its social stipulations will be put on the middle of the liberal method of justification. A dedication to self-respect can provide a dedication to the liberal values of toleration and public cause, yet self-respect itself isn't an completely liberal price.

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Some Constructivists are deliberative internalists: they claim that justificatory values are those that people would be committed to were they to deliberate soundly from their present commitments. Other Constructivists are externalists: they allow that justificatory values need bear no relation to persons’ present motivational commitments. Either way, Constructivists face questions of demandingness with respect to their account of justificatory reasons. Constructivist accounts of justificatory value can be empiricist, nonempiricist or political.

I sketch such a theory towards the end of this chapter, and flesh it out in Chapters 3 and 4. 2 Ideal theory: structure and issues Rawls states that, [T]he principles of political justice may be represented as the outcome of a certain procedure of construction. In this procedure … rational agents, as representatives of citizens and subject to reasonable conditions, select the public principles of justice to regulate the basic structure of society. 6 The details of the conception of the person from which justificatory reasons are constructed are justified, Rawls thinks, on the grounds that unless persons are thought of as having these features they could not be thought of as exercising their practical reason to address the problems of justice they unavoidably face together.

38 Liberalism and the Defence of Political Constructivism 6. 27 7. 29 This basic idea is to be cashed out in terms of three further ideas. 8. 30 9. 31 10. 33 These conceptions of the person and society are justified in a distinctively Constructivist way on the grounds that unless persons and society are conceived in this way, persons cannot be thought of as solving problems of justice through the use of their practical reason. 4 I shall disambiguate three different readings of (2b) (acceptance of the consequences of the burdens of judgement) and argue that one of these readings is less demanding than the other Constructivism in Rawls 39 two, and yet still allows that stage 1 justificatory reasons could not be rejected by stage 2 persons.

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