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Meaning and context in political theory

Weale, A; (2020) Meaning and context in political theory. [Review]. European Journal of Political Theory 10.1177/1474885120925375. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The two books offer a contextual reinterpretation of Rawlsian and post-Rawlsian liberalism. Nelson’s main thesis is that debates in liberal political theory re-enact theological debates about theodicy going back to the Pelagian controversy. This claim is criticized for its historical inaccuracy. Nelson’s invocation of theodicy as a refutation of luck egalitarianism and the Rawlsian rejection of desert rest on a claim of possibility that is too weak to uphold a plausible refutation. Forrester locates Rawls’s rejection of desert in the thinking of his contemporaries. She not only shows the development of Rawls’s thought but also details its broad influence. However, her thesis that the role of economic planning in a theory of justice remained undeveloped by Rawls ignores the intrinsic difficulties of designing a system of economic planning. The persistent antinomies of grace and free will in metaphysics, and of planning and the price mechanism in economics, show the continuing relevance of meaning beyond context.

Type: Article
Title: Meaning and context in political theory
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1474885120925375
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1474885120925375
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: desert, liberalism, modern political theory, theodicy, theology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097481
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