and trying to imagine a priori just institutions, "we have to seek institutions that promote justice, rather than treating the institutions as themselves manifestations of justice, which would reflect a kind of institutionally fundamentalist view."9 Rawls, according to this analysis, is an "institutional fundamentalist" too attached to institutional design, indeed to the design of a specific social institution, the political, to the detriment of all others. This fundamentalism, though, wrongly renders Rawl's theory unable to account for or utilize the multiple resources available, and possibly necessary, for the alleviation of injustice. As an institutional fundamentalist, Rawls is one of many theorists that hope for one-dimensional "grand formula" solutions to social justice issues (such as those offered by advocates of socialism or the free-market). The big issue here is "the basic unreliability of not being constantly sensitive to what actually happens in the world, no matter how excellent the institutions are taken to be."10 For one important example, Sen notes that Rawls' system doesn't notice the "conversion" problem for primary goods until after the major institutions are designed. In other words, Rawls creates a bundle of primary goods that are supposed to be guaranteed all citizens of his just
Contemporary Pragmatism – Brill
Published: Apr 21, 2010
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