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Philosophical Inquiry

Volume 39, Issue 2, Spring 2015

In Honor of Dionysios Anapolitanos

Piet Strydom
Pages 110-133

Critical Theory of Justice: On Forst's 'Basic Structure of Justification' from a Cognitive-Sociological Perspective

This article offers a perspective on the critical theory of justice by presenting a structural and processual reconstruction of Rainer Forst’s intriguing yet somewhat opaque concept of a basic structure of justification which is central to his proposed critique of justificatory relations. It shows from a cognitive-sociological perspective what a cooperative relation between a philosophical theory of justice and a social scientific approach could mean for critical theory. A basic structure of justification is revealed to be a cognitively available reflexive order above the order of substantive social and political relations that allows the identifi cation, explanation and transformative critique of reflexivity deficits induced by hegemonic, ideological, repressive or obfuscating means. Far from being exclusively a theoretical and methodological tool, however, it is in principle accessible to those involved and affected on whose experience, suffering and critique critical theory vitally depends.

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