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The Sociality of Conscience and Rawls’s Liberalism

Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in Philosophy, Religion and Public Life book series (BSPR, volume 6)

Abstract

To what extent is individual conscience social in character? Anti-individualist critics have taken issue with the individualistic account of conscience that they find prominent in liberalism. I consider Rawls’s accounts of conscience and the liberty of conscience with a view to understanding the role that sociality might play in the formation and significance of conscience. I defend Rawls against these anti-individualist critics. However, I demonstrate that Rawls’s account of conscience remains bound to a specific metaphysics of the person that is at odds with the anti-foundationalist aims of political liberalism. I argue that, in place of this metaphysics, liberals should adopt a social ontology of the self.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Xavier UniversityCincinnatiUSA

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