ON THE WAY TO EXPANSIVE POLITICAL LIBERALISM: MARTHA NUSSBAUM’S CAPABILITY APPROACH AS A REINTERPRETATION OF THE IDEAS OF YOUNG JOHN RAWLS
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Keywords:background culture, political conception, constructive ethical pragmatism, capability theory, public reason
The ideas of later Rawls (after 1993) and particularly his early period of work (before the 70s of the 20th century), often become the subject of serious attention. In the author’s view, this situation establishes stereotypical and one-sided interpretations. However, objective attention to Rawls’ ideas of the early period (the project of naturalist ethics based on the protestant basis, objective morality, which constitutes itself through the fact of perception of others as human beings, robust definition of human nature) and later («political conception», «background culture», «public reason») period of work let us substantively enrich the field of interpretation in contemporary political philosophy.
The aim of this article is triple: to prove (1) that Martha Nussbaum’s critique of later John Rawls, proposed within capabilities approach, is not exhaustive; (2) that this critique will arise as more fruitful if it will use several early ideas of Rawls, which he later stopped using; (3) that such an overlap of arguments creates a new version of political liberalism, more consistent than later Rawls’ version and Nussbaum’s.
The author proposes to name this version with the term «expansive (the one, which can ex- pand) political liberalism» (hereafter EPL). The important components of EPL are the idea of Henry Richardson about the complementarity of «good» and «right», a thesis about the necessity of civic education, and also the interpretation of capabilities approach within «reasonable comprehensive doctrines». Based on these components, the author describes the mechanism of impact on the «background culture», from which the «public reason» emerges, which will define Rawls’ «political conception». Accordingly, the «political conception» can expand within EPL. Because of the complementarity of «good» and «right», it gains the ability to respond better to the political challenges, while maintaining the inviolability of fundamental political principles of society.
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