Rawls as a critical theorist: Reflective equilibrium after the ‘deliberative turn’

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10 Scopus citations


An interpretation of John Rawls’ ‘justice as fairness’ as a deliberative critical argumentative strategy for evaluating existing institutions is offered and its plausibility is discussed. I argue that ‘justice as fairness’ aims at synthesizing the moral values claimed byexisting social institutions into a coherent model of a well-ordered society in order to demand that these institutions stand up tothe values that they promise. Understood in such a way, ‘justice as fairness’ provides a set of idealizing ‘mirrors’ through which power dynamics in society can be viewed but does not function as a model for an ideal society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-191
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophy & Social Criticism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • John Rawls
  • distributive justice
  • immanent criticism
  • justice as fairness
  • political liberalism
  • public reason
  • reflective equilibrium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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