Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Philosophy

Major Professor

David Reidy

Committee Members

David Palmer, Jon Garthoff, Mary McAlpin

Abstract

This dissertation defends the view that there is a Rousseauvian interpretation of Rawls’s political philosophy by focusing on the significance of amour-propre in Rawls’s political philosophy. In the first chapter, I introduce my central thesis and chapter arrangements and compare my Rousseauvian interpretation with other interpretations of Rawls. In the second chapter, I introduce Rousseau’s concept of amour-propre and try to defend Rawls’s wide view of amourpropre, according to which, amour-propre has both a positive and a negative form. In the third chapter, I argue that Rousseau’s concept of amour-propre plays a significant role in Rawls’s conception of justice as fairness. Thus, I show that one of the main reasons why parties in the original position would choose Rawls’s two principles of justice over other conceptions of justice is that justice as fairness meets the demands of amour-propre while other conceptions of justice do not. In the fourth chapter, I argue that Rousseau’s concept of amour-propre plays a significant role in Rawls’s stability argument. This argument has three parts. The first part involves showing that Rawls’s moral psychology is an illustration of Rousseau’s thesis that moral sentiments are derived from natural sentiments. The second part argues that Rawls’s congruence argument and his overlapping consensus argument are based on Rousseau’s conception of persons. The third part argues that Rawls’s argument from the absence of special psychology is also grounded in Rousseau’s concept of amour-propre. In the fifth chapter, I argue that Rousseau’s concept of amour-propre plays a significant role in Rawls’s law of peoples by showing that three themes of Rawls’s law of peoples, the two international original positions, the idea of a realistic utopia and the distinction between peoples and states, parallel, and are grounded in, Rousseau’s concept of amour-propre. In the final chapter, I consider two objections against my assumption that the legitimate social bases of self-respect are equal basic rights and liberties and their substantive fair value. I argue that these objections are groundless. I thus conclude that there is a Rousseauvian interpretation of Rawls’s justice as fairness and law of peoples.

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