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Constructivism Claims to Offer a Plausible Alternative to More Traditional (Foundationalist) Justificatory Strategies. Does It?

Author:

Thomas Tozer

About Thomas

Thomas Tozer has just completed his MSc in Philosophy & Public Policy. His main areas of interest are global justice, Rawlsian political liberalism, the basis of human rights, and the appropriate reach of political principles.

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Abstract

Foundationalism espouses a thesis about the structure of justification. It holds that all knowledge or justified belief rests on certain foundational knowledge or justified belief, and it views principles of justice as foundational and independent of facts about the world. In contrast, Rawls's political constructivism begins with certain facts and then aims to 'construct' principles of justice on this basis. It intends to construct political principles of justice that would be acceptable to all reasonable people. I argue that the constructivist justificatory strategy offers a plausible alternative to more traditional (foundationalist) strategies. Constructivism can be theoretically justified by the foundational beliefs of each individual's comprehensive doctrine: to the extent that foundational fact-insensitive principles ground constructivism's fact-sensitive principles, it is up to the citizen to decide what these foundational principles are. Furthermore, constructivism's practical justification rests on its public acceptability and is stronger than that of foundationalism: constructivism is more likely to offer a workable public conception of justice than a foundational metaphysical doctrine because the latter is likely to contradict the foundational beliefs of people's comprehensive doctrines.

How to Cite: Tozer, T., 2016. Constructivism Claims to Offer a Plausible Alternative to More Traditional (Foundationalist) Justificatory Strategies. Does It?. Rerum Causae, 8(1), pp.46–61.
Published on 01 Jan 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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