Rawls and the Boundaries of Public Reason

Publication type Article
Status Published
RAS Institute of Philosophy
Institute of Humanities Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University
Address: Russian Federation
Journal nameChelovek
EditionVolume 32 Issue №3

The paper’s focus is the analysis of Rawls’ notion of the public use of reason — from an anthropological standpoint. Its first part demonstrates the pragmatically oriented connection between the use of reason (and its limitations) and the idea of ‘unsocial sociability’ in Kant’s works which served as the primary theoretical reference for Rawls. Then follows a brief recapitulation of some critical features of Rawls’ notion, with the focus on anthropological differences between his interpretation and the original notion of public reason in Kant. The last part contains an answer to why Kant’s idea of public use of reason, especially in its pragmatic aspects, is more flexible. In contrast to Rawls, the absence of a strong connection between public reason and liberal theory in Kant’s work allows us to apply his version of the notion to a broader range of discussions, for instance, to use it in the debates concerning the mechanisms of social conflicts and the phenomena of restricting of social and political rationality.

KeywordsKant, Rawls, philosophical anthropology, reason, publicity
Publication date29.06.2021
Number of characters18488
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