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Black Rights/White WrongsThe Critique of Racial Liberalism$
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Charles W. Mills

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190245412

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190245412.001.0001

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Retrieving Rawls for Racial Justice?

Retrieving Rawls for Racial Justice?

Chapter:
(p.161) Chapter 9 Retrieving Rawls for Racial Justice?
Source:
Black Rights/White Wrongs
Author(s):

Charles W. Mills

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190245412.003.0009

How should liberals interested in the issue of racial justice relate to John Rawls’s work? Some, such as Elizabeth Anderson, have rejected a Rawlsian approach altogether, while others, such as Tommie Shelby, have contended that it can indeed be used as is. Shelby argues that Rawls’s fair equality of opportunity principle (FEO) can be extended to deal with racial inequality. In this critique of Shelby, the chapter raises five objections to this line of argument: Rawls’s own non-endorsement, the ideal theory/non-ideal theory distinction, the lexically subordinate positioning of FEO, non-controversiality and public reason, and the difference between class and racial injustice. The conclusion is that what is needed instead is a Rawlsian apparatus modified to deal with corrective justice.

Keywords:   John Rawls, racial justice, Tommie Shelby, fair equality of opportunity, non-ideal theory, corrective justice

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