Rawls, Associations, and the Political Conception of Justice
Journal of Social Philosophy
Political philosophers do not say much about associations. Some have valued associations greatly,’ but rarely do we read a theory of associations which assigns them a function in the social structure. In Political Liberalism Rawls places associations within the nonpolitical background culture rather than in the public, political culture, and does not consider them part of the basic structure of society. In this paper I will argue that associations should be considered part of the basic structure, first, by describing the roles and functions associations have in democratic societies, and second, by explaining how in Rawls’ well-ordered society associations would serve crucial roles in sustaining stability. I will then explain how placing associations in the basic structure makes central distinctions in Rawls’ theory untenable.
Copyright © 1997, Journal of Social Philosophy
John Wiley & Sons
Fischer, Marilyn, "Rawls, Associations, and the Political Conception of Justice" (1997). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 128.