SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Charles Mills' misinterpretations and insurmountable difficulty regarding John Rawls's ideal theory
(Political Philosophy , English)

In this essay, I discuss and reject Charles Mills' five objections raised against Tommie Shelby concerning the applicability of John Rawls__s fair equality of opportunity principle in matters of racial justice. Mills, one of the most influential critics of Rawls, argues that Rawls's theory is inherently inapplicable for race-related justice issues and that it is ideological and colonial in its nature. Mills criticizes Shelby__s attempt to use the Rawlsian framework in the context of racial justice. Shelby replies to Mills' second objection by formulating a strong argument regarding the necessity of ideal theory. I argue that this argument poses insurmountable difficulty for Mills' project concerning the decolonization and deideologisation of Western political philosophy.

Shelby also partially addresses Mills' third objection. However, Shelby does not address Mills' first, fourth, and fifth objections. I reconstruct these objections and show that they too should be rejected. Particularly, I argue that it is irrelevant what Rawls himself thought about the principle of fair equality of opportunity in the context of racial justice; that Mills fails to understand the point of the veil of ignorance by claiming that we cannot use left-wing social-scientific materials during the process of four-stage vail lifting; and that Mills' approach is highly problematic from both moral and practical/political perspectives.

Chair: Giada Coleschi
Time: 14:40-15:10, 07 September 2022 (Wednesday)
Location: SR 1.007
Remark: (Online Talk)

Hrayr Manukyan 
(University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Testability and Meaning deco