This chapter looks at the contribution and limitations of Rawls' theory of justice in solving the problem of a politically relevant moral theory (the judgment paradox). Rawls uses for this a liberal version of the standard normative model characterized by an opposition between, on the one hand, a plurality of ethical standards and, on the other, universal moral norms. It demonstrates that, although Rawls attempts to go beyond this model by adding the hermeneutic dimension of an “overlapping consensus,” he stays confined to it. The chapter outlines the elements of the normative model implicit in Rawls' theory of justice and then shows how Rawls is both aware of the necessity of an additional normative level and reticent to develop it.
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