Perfecting Justice in Rawls, Habermas and Honneth

Miriam Bankovsky

Perfecting Justice in Rawls, Habermas and Honneth
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Perfecting Justice in Rawls, Habermas and Honneth

Miriam Bankovsky

In this exciting new work, Miriam Bankovsky shows how the pursuit of justice requires two orientations. The first is a practical commitment to the possibility of justice, which is the clear starting point for the broadly constructive theories of Rawls, Habermas and Honneth. Indeed, if justice were not possible, it would be difficult to see why it is worthwhile for human beings to live on this earth. However, a second orientation qualifies the first. It can be expressed as a deconstructive attentiveness to the impossibility of determining justice’s content. This impossibility results from the tension between the appeal for individual consideration and the appeal for impartiality, demands that Derrida believes our historical concept of justice includes.

Framed by these two orientations, this ambitious book explores the promise and shortcomings of the constructive theories. Attentive to concrete experiences of injustice that these thinkers tend to overlook, Bankovsky provocatively challenges Rawls' account of civil disobedience, Habermas' defence of rational consensus, and Honneth’s ideal of mutual recognition, providing new insights into deconstruction’s relevance for contemporary theories of justice.

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