[SydPhil] USyd Postgrad Work in Progress Talk: Brenton Dart

Simon Varey simonvarey at gmail.com
Tue Mar 12 01:06:46 AEDT 2013

USyd Postgrad Work in Progress Talk: Brenton Dart
Rawls’ appeal to history in Political Liberalism

For eight pages in the introduction to *Political Liberalism* (1993), Rawls
sketches out the origins of liberal pluralism: the Reformation, the rise of
the nation-state and the scientific revolution ushered in by the likes of
Copernicus, Kepler and Newton. Tracing the origins of liberalism to define
its political obligations is as much a truism as it is a cliché. Yet Rawls’
sketch of the liberal genealogy does reveal two significant insights into
the reformulation of the operations of ‘justice as fairness’ within a
democratic society and how such a conception can be sustained over time.
This paper is an exploration of the relationship between history and
political philosophy in which Rawls’ historical story of liberal pluralism
will be the focal point. I will argue that while Rawls’ theory has received
criticism for its apparent lack of historical context from scholars such as
Geuss, his appeal to history in *Political Liberalism* is highly intuitive
toward the contextual and contingent circumstances and has important
implications for normative political philosophy.
*When*Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:30pm – 6pm Eastern Time - Melbourne,
Common Room, Main Quad, University of SydneyContact simonvarey at gmail.com
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