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Rawlsian Civic Education: Political not Minimal

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Abstract:

abstract 

In Political Liberalism and later work John Rawls has recast his theory of justice as fairness in political terms. In order to illustrate the advantages of a liberal political approach to justice over liberal non-political ones, Rawls discusses what kind of education might be required for future citizens of pluralistic and democratic societies. He advocates a rather minimal conception of civic education that he claims to derive from political liberalism. One group of authors has sided with Rawls’ political perspective and educational proposal, holding that a political approach and educational requirements that are not too demanding would have the advantage of being acceptable to a wide range of citizens with different religious, moral and philosophical perspectives. A second group of authors have criticized Rawls’ educational recommendations, holding that the production of a just society composed of reasonable citizens requires a more demanding civic education and, hence, that the political approach is not viable. The present paper argues that both groups are only partially right, and that there is a third way to understand civic education in Rawlsian terms, a way that is political but not minimal.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0264-3758.2004.00259.x

Affiliations: Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Conicet, Argentina

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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