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Volume 25 • Number 4

October 2011



Convergence and Political Autonomy

by Paul Weithman

In this paper, I shall be concerned with public justification of law in what John Rawls calls "ideal theory." Ideal theory is generally so called because it depends upon idealizing assumptions, such as the assumption of citizens' perfect compliance with laws and principles of justice. A theory can, however, be ideal in another sense of that term. It can identify conditions that must be met for a society to realize various moral or political ideals. I am interested in the conditions under which a liberal democracy realizes what Rawls calls "the ideal of public reason." The nature and role of this ideal in Rawls's thought have remained somewhat obscure. I begin by clarifying them.

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ISSN: 2152-0542