Republicanism and Social Goals: Going beyond Habermas and Rawls

Milton Fisk, Department of Philosophy, Indiana University, USA


The differences between Habermas and Rawls seem to me insignificant when set against the preeminent fact that they are both defenders of a republican view of rights and justice. Both make democratic discussion the context from which rights and justice emerge. Though they would identify themselves primarily as liberals, their 1995 interchange[1], as well as their major recent works, point in a republican direction.  The kind of republicanism they adopt is a minimal version which, by stressing procedures, will be shown here to give too little importance to the role of social goals in political morality.[2] Exactly what role social goals should play in relation to rights and justice is, though, a matter of dispute among advocates of forms of republicanism that go beyond mere procedures. Traditional civic republicanism, for example, sets out from social unity to find broad agreement on social goals, whereas a non-procedural republicanism more attuned to social divisions will be satisfied with finding political unity through balancing conflicting interests. I end by defending this second form of non-procedural republicanism, which I shall call polar republicanism.

Liberal liberties and republicanism

As republicans, both Habermas and Rawls give fundamental importance to participatory processes in setting up and revising norms of political morality.  For Habermas justice and rights are the outcomes of dialogue among a variety of points of view. People who participate in such a dialogue can, he thinks, consider themselves to be autonomous subjects of the laws they address to themselves as a result of their dialogue (130). For Habermas, those involved in such a process have taken “the moral point of view” since they are seeking through dialogue something that is of general interest, rather than of mere particular interest.  It is understood that this participatory process is democratic in the sense that the parties to it regard one another as free to participate and as deserving of equal respect. But freedom and equality here are not pre-given rights that give legitimacy to dialogues structured to observe these rights.  Instead, as Habermas emphasizes, these liberal rights are simply consequences of being in a participatory process.[3]

For Rawls much the same picture holds, though it wasn’t that clear from The Theory of Justice[4], and became clear only with the articles collected into Political Liberalism.  In the 1995 interchange with Habermas, Rawls tells us that the original position, where abstraction is made from one’s particular social and personal traits, delivers a view of rights and justice that has something like the status of an hypothesis, and an untested one at that (141). The confirmation of or, if need be, change in such a hypothesis comes through each citizen seeking reflective equilibrium.  At the limit, there would be what Rawls calls “wide and general reflective equilibrium,” in which, after taking into account the reasoning and arguments of all others, each citizen affirms a concept of justice similar to theirs. Here, as in Habermas, the Kantian notion of autonomy applies, with citizens living under self-given laws.

Both Habermas and Rawls tell us that for them this autonomy in regard to political morality, which is the core of republicanism, is the root of both personal and political liberties. That is, it is the root of both the liberties of the moderns and those of the ancients, of both the personal right to think what one wants and of the political right to form a faction. This is of crucial importance for it means that for neither Habermas nor Rawls is there a pre-given framework of liberties or rights that is imposed-whether by reason, religion, or ruler-on the process of making a constitution and revising it. Instead, the process of framing through discourse a situation in which citizens give themselves laws, and are hence autonomous, is bed rock for both Habermas and Rawls. Out of it emerges rights and justice. But not the reverse: autonomy does not emerge from rights and justice.

This puts us close to the reason why neither Habermas nor Rawls is a liberal. The liberal viewpoint starts with the liberal liberties-the liberties to do, profess, and think what we want. The liberal accepts these liberties as rights prior to debating any issue in politics, practical or moral.[5] These rights then become an unquestioned framework for any political discourse. This is far from the republican view. The republican theorist is reluctant to insist on the liberal liberties without the backing of public debate.[6] Thus Habermas stresses the constitutional state and Rawls the modern democratic project as historical contexts for liberties.

Of course, the republican has to allow that some liberties must be respected if republicanism is to survive.  If free speech were interfered with, the kind of dialogue republicanism necessarily involves would be corrupted.  The conclusion is not, I think, the unconditional one that this liberty to speak is a right but only the conditional one that republicanism does not stand a chance where people are muzzled. If someone still wants to be a republican where speech is repressed, then this is because he or she puts great value on the republican form of life-where people give themselves the standards they live by.  It is this value rather than an independent respect for free speech which makes unfettered speech worth fighting for.  So it is that Rawls makes everything in his discussion about coming to agreement in a diverse society contingent upon there being a context that he calls a well-ordered society. In this context, people have the requisite freedom and equality for giving themselves some version of justice (155).

Social goals and democracy

Both Habermas and Rawls want to get as close to what they call proceduralism as possible (117, 173). Their republicanism is indeed a kind of proceduralism, one that urges citizens to enter debate with openness to all points of view. The debate procedure itself becomes the only assumption. There is no substantive concept of reason, good, or human nature involved.  This proceduralism is I think where Habermas’s and Rawls’s views are superior to liberalism, with its prioritizing of the liberal liberties as pre-given rights. In its turn, though, procedural republicanism is inferior to civic republicanism at least in so far as the later gives a positive role to social goals in political morality.

What the civic republican tradition spoke of as the pursuit of the public good or the commonweal is roughly what I understand here by the pursuit of social goals.[7] I am then giving a rather strong sense to social goals, since they are not just ways of living together but, at least at some point, mutually wanted ways of living together.  Goals like a healthy society and an educated one seem to have become mutually wanted ways of living together in at least some places. Where there is not yet this mutual desire for a given goal, a broadly democratic process of discussion and persuasion will be the appropriate type of process for it to become a social goal.  So the social goals that give substance to a republican project are not brought from outside into a democratic procedure unrelated to them. Rather, a democratic procedure emerges from within these goals since their character excludes their being adopted and sustained outside of a democratic framework.[8]

Liberalism, on the one side, leaves us grasping for reasons as to why to accept its framework of rights and justice as a given in all discussion of political morality. Republicanism of the procedural sort, on the other side, leaves us grasping for reasons as to why, apart from important substantive goals, we should accept democratic standards as a framework for discussion.   Civic republicanism seems to give the desired closure by identifying social goals as the rationale for both democracy and liberal liberties.

To see what is distinctive about the kind of civic republicanism involved here, I must first say something about the narrow view of goods held by both Habermas and Rawls. They focus on private goods, emphasizing that there has to be some way of evaluating them. Without giving an important role in their theories to common goods, which are what social goals in the above sense amount to, they must turn elsewhere to find a basis for evaluating private goods. Private goods need to be subjected to general standards, but how are those standards validated? The answer they give is that their validation comes through a democratic procedure for achieving agreement. Are we sure, though, that a democratic procedure can be of any help in validating standards for private goods in the absence of a consideration of certain social goals? Any candidate for being a standard would lead us to ask how its adoption would affect certain social goals. The democratic procedure by itself would fail to provide a guide to standards without the intrusion of social goals. But such an intrusion would take us beyond mere procedures.

To answer why democracy should be a framework for discussion, both Habermas and Rawls appeal to the familiar political practice of democracy. This, though, is at best a way of saying where we might look for the answer rather than the answer itself. It is true that Habermas tells us to look at the modern Rechtsstaat (constitutional state) and Rawls tells us to look at the modern democratic project. But even this more specific historical reference doesn’t confirm their democratic proceduralism. What the history reveals is that democratic procedures become more advanced precisely as goals shift from those serving particular groups to genuine social goals. Democracy, then, marches in the service of goals whose greater inclusiveness stems from achieving mutual desire for them through wide interaction.  The democratic character of making and remaking social goals as well as that of debates over standards is not an application of a pre-given procedure.  Rather, it is a requirement internal to the pursuit of social goals and hence of the standards derived from them.

Social goals make sense of a requirement for free and equal dialogue – that is, for democracy.  If your goal is social in the above sense, then you will want it not just for yourself but for others as well. This is not all, though, for we need to know what those others want. You might want the goal for them, without their wanting it for you or for themselves. If the goal is fully social, there must be reciprocity. Ideally, each must want it for him or herself and the rest as well.  These conditions for social goals have some assurance of being met only where people relate democratically.  They relate democratically only when participation is open to all and each respects the rest enough to listen in order to take their interests into account. Those who aren’t listened to or who have been excluded in advance stand a chance of having a goal they reject imposed on them. Moreover, they stand a chance of rejecting it for others as well. This would be sufficient to divide the society and hence keep the goal from having the status of a common good.

When Rawls talks about moral persons, he talks about those who not only have a sense of justice but are also capable of having an idea of their good.  As rational egoists, to use Habermas’s expression for Rawls’ moral persons, their good doesn’t include the social good.  Rawls’ “primary goods” might seem to be an exception. But he understands them as mere objective necessities, either for realizing our life goals or for citizenship.[9] Agreement on them and solidarity in respect to realizing them are not part of their definition as primary goods. When Habermas contrasts goods with norms (114-115), he treats goods as the aims of persons and groups. These goods need not, then, be of interest beyond particular persons and groups.  It is relatively easy to see why neither Habermas nor Rawls sees any hope in trying to establish goods as basic for the moral point of view.  Goods for them are, apart from a few casual remarks, personal or parochial rather than social.

So the very idea of social goals, which plays a key role in neither Habermas nor Rawls, brings with it that of democratic participation. The collective formation of social goals and the collective pursuit of them are familiar human activities that call for democratic procedures. Democracy becomes a standard internal to these activities and is not a norm apart from them against which they are measured. This gives a new perspective on what constitutes “the moral point of view,” which both Rawls and Habermas insist we take up. In deciding on social goals, all the conditions are satisfied for saying that we have taken the moral point of view. Most importantly, there is the needed transcendence of a personal or parochial position. For, in deciding on social goals, people determine something of a more general interest through a process of free and equal participation.  Indeed, it is the process of selecting and changing social goals that carries the moral point of view into deciding on rights and justice. For in deciding on rights and justice one hopes to promote precisely those social goals.

Social divisions and universalism

A significant idealization has been involved in what I’ve just been saying.  I let myself adopt the civic republican style of ignoring deep social divisions and their consequences for the democratic process involved in fashioning social goals. It is now necessary to change all this. The divisions giving rise to conflicting social goals cannot be ignored, and in accounting for rights and justice, we can no longer depend on having widely accepted social goals. This raises the troublesome question as to whether, in view of deep social divisions, a republicanism that rests on the notion of social goals can be salvaged in any form.  These divisions have made themselves evident in many conflicts – in those involving religion, labor, civil rights, national liberation, and gender equality. To give due weight to these and other cleavages, we face a choice between the two following approaches.

The one approach is that taken by Habermas and Rawls to this kind of social division; it adopts the view that there is something important about having rational reconciliation at the limit (142, “a point at infinity”). For Habermas the reconciliation takes place at the limit of “argumentation which enjoins those involved to an idealizing enlargement of their interpretive perspectives.” In this argumentation everyone takes the perspective of everyone else. This gives rise to a “we-perspective” from which people can test among themselves whether to make a controversial norm the basis for their shared practice (117). This testing, he thinks, should eventually lead to a common set of norms.  For Rawls the reconciliation takes place in an equally inter-subjective manner (141, n. 16). Each citizen takes note of alternative concepts of justice as held by others.  Then by taking into account the reasoning behind the views of others, each citizen comes up with the same public conception of rights and justice.

There is some mysterious hand waving involved in both of these accounts.  It lubricates the clearly troublesome mental transition from taking the views of others seriously to arriving at a common view.  This hand waving, I would contend, substitutes for the appeal of the old-fashioned rationalist to the unity of reason. That unity is, though, understood by Habermas and Rawls in the contemporary way as a limit point in a process that may never end rather than as a pre-existing fact. Thus I give it the name, rational reconciliation at the limit.

It should be noted that, whereas both Habermas and Rawls accept the idea that at the limit there is rational reconciliation,[10] they differ over the role that limit plays in taking the moral point of view.  For Habermas taking the moral point of view involves considering whether a norm would be reasonable for everyone to accept if the circumstances were those of unconstrained (free and equal) discourse.  Yet the actual discourse in which one might try to determine whether general acceptance would be feasible is always constrained discourse.   Even when discussion takes place where the best of procedures are rigorously observed, it is constrained by time, by ignorance, by influence, and by tradition (177).  Though some discourses may be more constrained in some respects than others, this doesn’t help us imagine what would be reasonable in discourse without constraints.  So we may never be able to take the moral point of view since we never consider norms outside heavily constrained discourse.

With this sort of consideration in mind, Rawls lowers the moral bar by locating progress toward reflective equilibrium within quite ordinary (constrained) discourse.  So long as people are willing to take seriously others’ conceptions of justice, modifying as they see fit their own views of justice in doing so, they are moving away from narrowness and expanding their circles of agreement (141-142).  For Rawls this is enough to make them moral persons, and presumably, to have taken the moral point of view.  The difference is, then, that, whereas for Habermas the moral agent needs to assume rational reconciliation at the limit, Rawls’ moral agent need not.  Even so, in Rawls’ political morality, rational reconciliation at the limit is needed, for without it he would have to give up the idea that people with conflicting social goals could be unified politically around a single concept of justice.

The other approach, which is the one I shall follow, posits no need to affirm or deny rational reconciliation at the limit.  Instead of emphasizing universal agreement, if only at the limit, as in some way vital to political morality, it focuses on a different kind of universality. This is the universality of inclusiveness.  This focus lets us see that what is important for social goals and for taking the moral point of view is not the universal acceptance of those goals but their universal scope.  They consider everyone’s interests and are addressed to everyone.

Where there are divisions, what then is the task that taking the moral point of view puts before us? It is to expand our goals as a result of considering the interests of those on the other side of a social divide. We are to incorporate enough of their interests in our goals so that they can be said to serve both sides.  This commitment to wider interests is, however, not made in an exchange with others for their taking up certain of our interests. Our commitment is not mediated by any such compromise. Should there, though, be interests on either side of a social divide that the other side refuses to make its own, then compromise could play a role in advancing social stability. As a result of negotiations, those on each side of the divide might agree to a common arrangement that balances their conflicting interests.

The agreement realized in such a compromise is not the kind of agreement on norms a Habemas would say we hope to reach in taking the moral point of view. The agreement through compromise pertains, instead, to practical politics, where it is understood that behind such agreement there is always disagreement. But the interpretation of the moral point of view given here, which though less restrictive than Habermas’, does not reduce it to a search for compromise. For on my interpretation, it involves a transcendence of particularity that results from coming to share with others norms that take into account competing interests. It is then a commitment to greater inclusion based on principle. This transcendence can be quite modest in that it needn’t go far enough to generate a shared conception of rights and justice. It does though provide some common reference points to allow the kind of balancing of interests that political compromise involves to go forward.

Civic republicanism had universal agreement in respect to goals at its core. That has to be changed by two measures, giving us what might be called “polar” republicanism. The first measure introduces the possibility of competing social goals, social goals acting as opposite poles. Social goals are still the basic element, but the condition that each in a society will want a social goal for all has to be relaxed. Those who don’t want a given social goal that others want may well want a competing social goal. The condition that each must want it for all gets weakened to the condition that each in a certain group must want it for all. Social goals need be only competitors for being wanted by each for all rather than actually being so. The second measure introduces an additional condition, that of inclusiveness.  It was a consequence of the earlier requirement of universal agreement, but since we have set aside that requirement it now has to be introduced separately.  This condition calls for social goals of one group to take into account the interests of those in a polar group. Of course, this measure does not require that one abandon what is distinctive about one’s social position in accommodating those in a polar group.  It does not then mean accepting their full program.[11] Still, the condition of inclusion avoids treating as social those goals that would subject people with competing goals to a program that thoroughly ignores their interests.

From morality to politics

The change implied by polar republicanism goes rather deep. It means something other than a competition of goals that will be resolved somehow in agreement. We have to think in terms of there being important unresolved conflicts among goals. Social goals will then appear as the goals of different groups and only occasionally as those of the society as a whole. That is, though different groups will project goals for the society as a whole as their ideals these goals need never become the goals agreed to by the society as a whole. An element of coherence remains since the social goals of different groups are not merely parochial. They are formulated to accommodate certain of the interests of other groups.

The republican priority given to democracy undergoes a reinterpretation. It comes to have two distinct parts in polar republicanism. One of them concerns areas where agreement is feasible, whereas the other concerns areas where, despite disagreement, there is a balancing of interests for the sake of living together. Where agreement is feasible, democratic procedures lead to acceptance within certain parts of the society of ideals for the whole society. But there is a need for more than ideological polarization. Until there can be changes that undermine the social bases for conflicting social goals, there is also a need for the type of practical politics that will enable people to live together. The republican priority of democracy leads to insisting that this practical politics be a balancing of conflicting interests that is democratic. There will, of course, be no way to insulate this balancing from the power at that disposal of the groups involved. Thus the democracy of practical politics cannot avoid outcomes that balance interests in ways that fit the general perspective of the more powerful groups.

By claiming that conflicting social goals can be compatible with the moral point of view, I am not opening the door to goals that morally speaking are clearly repugnant. A group that projects a goal of humiliating or exploiting another group considers the interests of the group it subordinates only to learn how, if at all, having those interests can be turned to its own advantage. Beyond that, it treats the realization of any of the cherished goals of the subordinated group as a threat. Clearly, the moral point of view has not been taken by the group formulating this goal of subordination.  Its vision considers its own power and wealth, for which the other group is but a means. That vision fails to be a competing social goal since it elaborates a goal for satisfying the interests of a particular group rather than taking into account the interests of those outside it. Exclusivity of this sort violates the conditions polar republicanism places on social goals.

Within polar republicanism, the political nicely complements the moral. The moral gets located not in universal agreement but in reaching out through social goals to include those who may not agree. This is the stage of transcending the particular by the inclusion of others, of a willingness to fashion goals that respect the interests of others.  Through this inclusiveness morality addresses everyone with the aim of projecting a possible social order. But this universality of scope is only for the purpose of projecting a possible social order. To actualize a social order calls for more than morality alone can supply.  Another step is needed which unifies those with polar goals through compromises that balance the interests behind those goals.   Thus it is that the political comes onto the scene. Instead of emphasizing agreement on principle, it puts the stress on willingness to compromise for the sake of living together. The existence of conflicting social goals at the moral level is an invitation to the compromises of politics rather than an undermining of it. These compromises lead in the direction only of an agreement on working together rather than and an agreement on principle. . A group with a given set of social goals will then be able to express the degree of inclusiveness it is willing to allow through the limits it sets on gains and loses. Its concept of justice is given by the degree of inclusiveness it is willing to allow, which in turn can be expressed through the limits it sets on the gains and loses of being part of the social order it projects. Taken together, the social goals of a group in a polar republic will represent its social ideal. As a social current among others in a polar republic, its ideal will present a view of inclusiveness that is radical justice in relation to what actually exists.

Justice, moral and political

The process of balancing interests in politics introduces limits on gains and losses. Likewise, the process of incorporating the interests of others in taking the moral point of view introduces its own limits on gains and losses. These processes establish their separate norms of justice, an official norm for politics and various radical norms for morality. Rather then being prior to social goals, justice in both senses depends on them. It is in this direction that we can look for a polar republican account of justice.

At the moral level, where goals are expanded to take into account agents whose interests conflict, our focus as regards justice must be on the standard of inclusion that is called for.  Since they start from different sets of goals, different groups will adopt different standards of inclusion. How though will a standard of inclusion be set? It makes no difference whether we consider a given group’s standard for including other groups or its standard for being included by others. In both cases the standard of inclusion will be set by considering how a group can best fit its characteristic goals into a program for the society as a whole. This program may be its own for including others or one of theirs for including it.  The losses it suffers and the gains that other groups would make as a result of a certain level of inclusiveness must be compatible with its characteristic goals. Only then can that level of inclusiveness function as a standard for its determining justice in conflicts arising between different parts of society.  It is also to be observed that gains and losses exceeding what are needed for maintaining a group’s characteristic goals are not compatible with the group’s continued identity. Hence they are not compatible either with that group’s inclusion of other groups in its program for the whole society or with their inclusion of it in their programs. We can then say that, at the moral level, the limits on gains and losses are for the sake of inclusion.

In a multinational society, a majority nation might advance a standard of inclusion for the interests of a minority nation that the minority nation rejects as unjust. The minority nation’s own standard for inclusion would call for a greater inclusion of its interests than that advanced. Behind this rejection might be the fact that inclusion on such a minimal basis is actually a great advantage to the majority nation. With this advantage, the minority nation would lose more than it would if the majority nation had remained totally aloof. Indeed, it would lose so much that it could not effectively pursue its characteristic goals. From the point of view of the minority nation’s standard of inclusion, the standard of the majority nation would be unjust.

At the political level, where there is compromise leading to a basis for working together, the notion of justice also implies a limit on gains and losses. In this case it is a limit that applies to the gains and losses of those who enter compromises to work together. This limit provides us with a norm that transcends the differences between competing social goals and groups since it is a norm for balancing among them.  It need not be a permanent norm, and it will certainly not be a norm that those with commitments to certain social goals will consider ideal.

This limit on gains and losses through compromise is a norm which a comprehensive political formation – the state – plays a significant role in defining and enforcing. It is the state’s concern with being able to govern where there are conflicting social currents that ultimately defines and enforces the limits on gains and losses. Governability can be threatened when a group is either indulged or restrained beyond certain limits. Justice at this political level is, then, set by limits on gains and losses for the sake of governability, whereas justice at the moral level is, as we just saw, set by limits on gains and losses for the sake of inclusion.  At the political level, a norm of gains and losses which guides a balancing among social goals is then a norm of official justice by being associated with the state’s governability. This stands in contrast to the radical justice of the various social currents with their different views of inclusion.[12]

The idea of a justice which spans disagreements on social goals is retained here. But it enters at the level of practical politics, which calls for a type of balancing that cannot be understood either in terms of Rawls’ reflective equilibrium or of Habermas’ ideal discourse. The reason is that the balancing takes place in a context in which issues of governability in particular and stability in general impose themselves. This justice owes its universality within a society to its role in making the society governable. It is formulated under the constraint of governability. Because of this constraint, ideal discourse, with its unconstrained character, can’t be attained. And because of it, the approach to an reflective equilibrium in which all citizens converge on a common concept of justice is short circuited by the imperative of compromise. Of course, one can still object – as anarchists might – that emphasizing governability and stability is merely a way of forcing people to compromise their deeper convictions. But the consequence of accepting this objection is to give up the idea of a society-wide justice altogether and be left with only the radical justices of the polar society.

The anticipated response from those like Rawls and Habermas will be that people with conflicting social goals can reach rational reconciliation at the limit. If indeed there is something like rational reconciliation, then the divided, polar world we inhabit is an illusion. What we take to be conflicts of groups and of their goals are but the misleading shadows of a unitary rationality within which, at the limit, agreement is reached on key matters. For this rationality to do its work, it is not necessary that all incompatible goals be reconciled; what’s needed is, as in Rawls, only that there be reconciliation for one overarching value like justice. This would provide the framework for eliminating certain goals and avoiding conflict between others. Even so, the whole historical effort to discover and describe the divides along which oppression and exploitation take place would only have been an effort to portray as ineluctable what in fact gives way before rationality.


[1] Jürgen Habermas, “Reconciliation Through the Public Use of Reason: Remarks on John Rawls’s Political Liberalism,” The Journal of Philosophy 92, 3 (March 1995): 109-131; and John Rawls, “Reply to Habermas,” ibid.: 132-180. The numbers in the text refer to pages in this exchange.

[2] Rawls sees no conflict between his “political liberalism” and “classical republicanism,” which for him calls for a willingness to take part in public life and the political virtues of tolerance and civility. See Rawls, “The Priority of Right and Ideas of the Good,” in his Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), lecture 5, section 7.5. Habermas is sympathetic to the “republican understanding of politics” for its reminding us that “the system of rights is internally related to citizens’ political autonomy.” See Habermas, Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy, translated by Wm. Rehg (Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 1996), chapter 6, section 3.

[3] Habermas, Between Facts and Norms, chapter 3, section 3.

[4] Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1971).

[5] On the relation of rights and liberties to democracy from a republican point of view, see Michael J. Sandel, Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), chapter 2.

[6] See Habermas’ spirited critique of Charles Taylor for separating individual rights from republican autonomy. Charles Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition” and Jurgen Habermas “Struggles for Recognition in the Democratic Constitutional State,” both in Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, edited by A. Gutman (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994): 54-61, 110-116.

[7] On the role of civic republicanism in the Federalist-Antifederalist discussion over the US Constitution, see Isaac Kramnick, Republicanism and Bourgeois Radicalism: Political Ideology in Late Eighteenth-Century England and America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), chapter 8.

[8] For a development of the main ideas behind a republicanism that emphasizes social goals, see Milton Fisk, Toward a Healthy Society: The Morality and Politics of American Health Care Reform (Lawrence KS: University Press of Kansas, 2000), chapters 1 and 6.

[9] On primary goods as useful in any life plans, see Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, section 11; on primary goods as needed for citizenship see Rawls’s “Priority of Rights and Ideas of the Good,” in his Political Liberalism, lecture 5, section 4.

[10] On reconciliation see Habermas, Between Facts and Norms, chapter 3, section 1.3; and Rawls, “The Idea of Public Reason,” in his Political Liberalism, lecture 6, section 7.

[11] Amartya Sen elaborates on this sense of inclusion in his November 7, 2000, British Academy Lecture “Other People,” Proceedings of the British Academy 111 (2001).

[12] There is a discussion of the notions of official and radical justice and their connection to limits on gains and loses in Milton Fisk, The State and Justice: An Essay in Political Theory (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), chapters 7 and 8.