A theory of justice

S Mendus

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In Part III of A Theory of Justice John Rawls asks whether we can show that the disposition to act justly is congruent with the good of the agent who cultivates it. His answer to the problem of congruence has been widely criticized, and Rawls himself now seems to think that this part of A Theory of Justice is defective because the Kantian interpretation implies a comprehensive conception of the good. This article questions that conclusion, and aims to show how the analogy between love and justice can be developed in a way which ensures congruence without implying comprehensiveness. The case of love provides a sense in which our good is neither a function of immediate desires, nor something entirely independent of desire. By showing how congruence is possible it answers the motivational question which lies at the heart of Part III and also promises a richer understanding of what is involved in cultivating the disposition to justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-75
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999

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