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Islam and Liberal CitizenshipThe Search for an Overlapping Consensus$
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Andrew F. March

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195330960

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195330960.001.0001

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Purposes: The Place of Justificatory Comparative Political Theory

Purposes: The Place of Justificatory Comparative Political Theory

Chapter:
(p.23) 1 Purposes: The Place of Justificatory Comparative Political Theory
Source:
Islam and Liberal Citizenship
Author(s):

Andrew F. March (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195330960.003.0002

This chapter explains further the idea of an overlapping consensus and the interest in arguing for one across multiple ethical traditions, showing that this interest is primarily derived from the desire for social stability and solidarity, rather than first-order philosophical moral justification. The chapter surveys the justificatory theories of John Rawls’s political liberalism and Jürgen Habermas’s discourse ethics, as well as the relativist critiques of Rorty and Fish, arguing that there is a basic agreement that the justification of liberal norms from within a particular religious tradition is of primarily political interest, rather than philosophical. It closes with a defense of justificatory comparative political theory primarily aimed at refuting the charge of cultural hegemony and clarifying the nature of the “liberal bias” involved. The central argument is that this inquiry is ultimately deeply respectful of Islam as an autonomous source of ethical thought and motivation, which is compatible with criticism of specific doctrines or practices.

Keywords:   justification, stability, Rawls, Habermas, Rorty, Fish, discourse ethics, relativism, justificatory comparative political theory

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