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Fr. 377

August 25, 2013

How might we know (apart from bibliographic considerations) that MacIntyre is targeting John Rawls in his criticisms of neutral criteria of practical reasoning?

Three brief considerations weigh in favor of the above. First, Rawls advocates public reason, i.e. a neutral, universal reason to which all parties can appeal in order to settle essential constitutional matters. This ideal is abstracted from the concrete and contingently formed languages and modes of interpretation present on MacIntyre’s account. Secondly, as a successor of Kant in important respects, Rawls can be seen as the inheritor of the Encyclopedic tradition, the subject of much criticism in MacIntyre’s Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry. Finally, this orientation is most apparent in Rawls’ requirement that comprehensive doctrines be put aside in appealing to the common basis, precisely that which MacIntyre denies can be achieved.

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