John Rawls and Simone Weil presented two distinct conceptions of political justice, aimed at articulating a common ethos in an inherently heterogeneous society. The terms of the former, chiefly concerned with the distribution of primary goods, underwrite much of today’s Western democracy’s political liberalism. The terms of the latter, chiefly concerned with the way interaction is organized in social activities in view of the body and soul’s balancing pairs of needs, are less well known. We explain the sense in which the overlapping consensus in Weil’s notion of political justice is “thicker”, and may thus deserve more attention – alongside that of Rawls – for substantiating a democratic ethos within political liberalism.
Philosophical Investigations 39:4 October 2016, pp. 362-384