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Individual versus Communal Autonomy

A Critical Study of Rawls' Liberal Conception of Pluralism


Alemayehu Biru Worku

Rawls' A Theory of Justice is generally considered as the most commanding work of our century, for it is believed that it has awakened political philosophy from its long time slumber. The acclaim Rawls' work has won is indeed enormous even among its critics. For instance, Robert Nozick, whose disagreement with Rawls is quite profound, acknowledges the tribute that contemporary political philosophy owes to Rawls' theory of justice when he says «political philosophers now must either work within Rawls' theory or explain why not.» While sharing this appraisal in a certain sense, this book attempts to explain why we should not agree with Rawls' theory of justice in general and his conception of pluralism, in particular, which it takes to be the central issue of Rawls' moral and political philosophy as a whole. The book is, however, not only critical but also rectifying in that it tries to provide an alternative perspective.
Contents: Rawls' Critique of Utilitarianism - Rawls' Theory of Justice - Rawls' Conception of Pluralism - Critics of Rawls - Individual versus Communal Autonomy.