Ricoeur’s Rawls: Constitutive Antecedence and Reflective Equilibrium

Benjamin Coy Hutchens

Abstract


This article aims to stimulate dispute about the justification of Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic reading of John Rawls. Offering a close, methodically point-for-point textual engagement, I shall propose that Ricœur’s misreading of certain hermeneutic circularities in Rawls is owed to some confusion about the role of the procedural nature of Rawls’ theory. Generally speaking, the problems with Ricœur’s interpretations center on the question of whether there is something “pre-understood” within the formal theoretical understanding of the procedural theory of justice and the substantive convictions and judgments that figure within the reflective equilibrium of deliberations about the terms of justice. Arguably, Ricœur has not made a satisfactory case that the difference and liberty principles are considered convictions that anticipate their discovery and establishment. Ultimately, Ricœur has not demonstrated that there is a single presuppositional form that renders Rawls’ procedure self-defeating. Instead, he has proposed to us several potential forms of damaging presupposition, each of which is based on a questionable reading of Rawls’ text.

Keywords


Hermeneutics; Justice; Reflective Equilibrium; Convictions; Maximin Rule

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/errs.2020.388



Copyright (c) 2020 Benjamin Coy Hutchens

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