The Focus on the Basic Structure

Thomas Pogge

in John Rawls

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780195136364
Published online May 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199867691 | DOI:
  The Focus on the Basic Structure

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This chapter marks the beginning of the remainder of the book's focus, which is on Rawls's most prominent work in political philosophy, A Theory of Justice. It examines the key idea of the “basic structure”, which is the term Rawls employs to describe a society's major social institutions. Based on the fact of reasonable pluralism, people who cannot agree on religious, moral, or philosophical ideals can still reach a moral consensus restricted to a political conception of justice, which he calls an overlapping consensus. In a society, there must be a moral justification for a public criterion of justice, which is used to assess and justify the basic structure of that society.

Keywords: basic structure; reasonable pluralism; overlapping consensus; moral justification; public criterion of justice

Chapter.  5791 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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