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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 17, 2001

Communication, Conflict, and Reconciliation

Sylvia Burrow
Pages 37-55

Reasonable Moral Psychology and the Kantian Ace in the Hole

Rawls's political constructivism in Political Liberalism maintains that the two principles of justice will be accepted and endorsed by persons who are both reasonable and rational. A Theory of Justice explains the motivation to endorse the political conception on the basis of a Kantian moral psychology. Both Leif Wenar and Brian Barry argue that despite Rawls's claims to the contrary, the later work still supposes a Kantian moral psychology. If so, political constructivism fails to account for stability in society among a plurality of reasonable conceptions of good. This paper draws on Rawls's distinction in Political Liberalism between the political and nonpolitical moral sell characterizing each citizens' moral identity in claiming that the two parts of the sell correlate to two sets of motivation, political and moral motivation. This account explains resolution of conflict in the agent in favor of the political conception without invoking a Kantian moral psychology.

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