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Thom Brooks: The Capabilities Approach and Political Liberalism

Lecture by Thom Brooks (University of Newcastle) organized by Department of Ethics

In Political Liberalism, John Rawls addresses the problem of political stability: how can political stability be possible in light of the fact of reasonable pluralism amongst free and equal citizens in modern democratic societies? Rawls’s solution is to offer an account of public reasons that might be interwoven into what he calls ‘an overlapping consensus’. Many critics have found Rawls’s solution weak or implausible on the grounds that any overlapping consensus among citizens with different comprehensive doctrines will be a fragile stability at best. Following work by Martha Nussbaum, I will argue that it is possible to bring together Rawls’s idea of political liberalism with the capabilities approach. Our acceptance of the capabilities approach provides a more solid foundation for future political stability and there are several reasons why Rawls should agree. Together, the capabilities approach with an overlapping consensus can provide stability for the right reasons for free and equal citizens that should be acceptable to Rawls and overcome the objections of his critics.

Short Bio
Thom Brooks is Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy at Newcastle University. He is editor and founder of the Journal of Moral Philosophy. Brooks works in the areas of political justice and public policy with special interests in the areas of crime and punishment, global justice, and legal philosophy, as well as Kant and Hegel more generally. Recent books include New Waves in Ethics (2011), Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (2012), and Punishment (2012). His current book project, Rawls’s Political Liberalism, is co-edited with Martha C. Nussbaum.

Laatst gewijzigd:11 december 2013 16:15