Political liberalism and its internal critiques: feminist theory, communitarianism, and republicanism
John Rawls's political liberalism has shaped contemporary political philosophy. Three other theories, feminism, republicanism, and communitarianism, devote a good deal of space to refuting Rawls's theory, and claim to be superior alternatives to it. My main thesis is that they are not alternatives to Rawls's political liberalism but variations of it. That is, although these theories present themselves as external critiques of liberalism, they are ultimately internal critiques, because their own theories are built upon the basic principles of liberalism. This is not to deny that many of their criticisms are well-taken and thus need to be addressed by liberal theorists. I also argue that Rawls's theory of political liberalism is in general terms correct. It needs however to be revised in other to solve what I take to be its main problem: Its lack of a foundation. In my dissertation I propose a revised version of political liberalism, which includes an argument in support of the political liberal conception of justice.