Recently debates about the worth of "ideal theory" have directed attention to the functions that an account of a perfectly just society can serve. One function is that of "reconciliation": learning that a seemingly undesirable feature of the social world would exist even in the perfectly just society can show us the value that it has in the present as well. John Rawls has emphasized reconciliation as among the roles of political philosophy. For instance, Rawls claims that his theory of justice can reconcile us to the pluralism of liberal democracies. In this essay, I argue that Rawls's political theory also can reconcile the inhabitants of liberal democratic societies to the fact that such societies may be cognitively confusing on account of their complexity. Then I contend that Rawls's work offers valuable theoretical resources for analysing a society's transparency or lack thereof.
- John Rawls
- Political liberalism