The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 11, 2001

Social and Political Philosophy

Rex Martin
Pages 81-95

Rawls on Constitutional Consensus and the Problem of Stability

This paper lays out the background and main features of Rawls’s new theory of justice. This is a theory that he began adumbrating about 1980 and that is given its fullest statement in his recent book Political Liberalism. I identify the main patterns of justification Rawls attempts to provide for his new theory and suggest a problem with one of these patterns in particular. The main lines of my analysis engage Rawls’s idea of constitutional consensus and his account of political stability.