Rawls in Germany

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This article analyses the reception of John Rawls's thought by Otfried Höffe, Jürgen Habermas and other political theorists on the German liberal left. It argues that, ironically, as Rawls's theory has become more historically self-conscious and sociologically oriented since A Theory of Justice, Habermas, while denying any fundamental difference between him and Rawls in this 'neo-Kantian family quarrel', has moved in the opposite direction. One might even say that there has been some mid-Atlantic convergence in political theory. Nevertheless, there remain peculiarities of German political thought, in particular its more sociological bent, a (positive or negative) fixation on the state, and the persistently felt need finally to reconcile a perceived conflict between liberalism and democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-179
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Habermas
  • Hoffe
  • Political liberalism
  • Rawls
  • Social justice


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