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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Constructivism and intuitionism are often seen as opposed methods of justification in political philosophy. An “ecumenical” view sees them as different but unopposed: each style of reasoning can yield fundamental principles, for different questions of distributive justice, and we can rightly take up different questions, with different, equally valid, theoretical objectives, in hopes of cultivating a thousand blooming flowers. This chapter develops this position with special interest in Rawls’s constructivism, his treatment of reflective equilibrium, self-evidence, and “moral geometry,” and his evolving dialogue with the intuitionist Henry Sidgwick. Rawls’s main difference from Sidgwick lies in the way he frames the question of right or justice in the first instance. This brings out both the possibility and the attractions of the ecumenist conception in political philosophy.

Keywords: constructivism, intuitionism, distributive justice, justification, self-evidence, moral geometry, reflective equilibrium, John Rawls, G. A. Cohen, Henry Sidgwick

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