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March 03, 2010


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I think that in some ways, the cherished grasp on neutrality (even though it's an impossible dream) is a reflection of the acknowledgment that we don't have a model of functionality for how to work with multiple, varying, conflicting points of view to achieve any kind of resolution. Right now, the only way we know how to get a group consensus is if we pretend that everyone strips off their bias and beliefs when they "approach a problem objectively."

(This, fwiw, has always been my problem with Rawls's solutions for how we can possibly function in a pluralistic society.)

Enthusiastic agreement, all the way around, especially as to the parenthetical.

A Rawls scholar once protested that he addresses all of those problems in "Political Liberalism," but I am dubious.

Yeah, I know a Rawls scholar who's tried to argue that with me, as well. The problem is, Rawls's theories (in any of the books) require that you accept as a basic premise that people are able to separate their motivations from their actions. That is, Rawls assumes that any religious person will be able to justify their beliefs in non-religious terms, or won't bring them into the public sphere for debate. This shows, to me, a fundamental lack of understanding of the religious person. ;)

Rawls' theories are great, if you're a dispassionate robot... ;)

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