Cover of 'Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism.'

Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism (London, U.K.: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010)

Cover of 'Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism.'Description from the Publisher

“In Rawls, Dewey and Constructivism, Eric Weber examines and critiques John Rawls’ epistemology and the unresolved tension – inherited from Kant – between Representationalism and Constructivism in Rawls’ work. Weber argues that, despite Rawls’ claims to be a constructivist, his unexplored Kantian influences cause several problems. In particular, Weber criticises Rawls’ failure to explain the origins of conceptions of justice, his understanding of “persons” and his revival of Social Contract Theory. Drawing on the work of John Dewey to resolve these problems, the book argues for a rigorously constructivist approach to the concept of justice and explores the practical implications of such an approach for Education.”

Read Chapter 1, excerpted from the book.

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“Eric Weber provides a well considered and carefully crafted analysis of the work of John Rawls from a Pragmatist perspective. Chapter six alone, ‘Dewey and Rawls on Education,’ is worth the price of admission.”
Larry A. Hickman, Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois University, USA

“Eric Thomas Weber’s comparative study identifies a deep Kantian tension between constructivism and representationalism in Rawls. His well informed, very clear and persuasive critique of Rawls highlights the many resources of Dewey’s constructivism and constructivist epistemology for democratic political philosophy.”
Tom Rockmore, Duquesne University, USA



Photo of the Web site for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.“Eric Thomas Weber’s excellent book raises a constructivist challenge against Rawls’s constructivism…Weber’s Deweyan critique of Rawls’s constructivist conception of justice points to the difficulty in grasping Kantian constructivism. In Rawls’s writings, the reference to Kantian constructivism is so vague as to be essentially meaningless. That is one of the implications of this very useful book.”
— Tom Rockmore, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

“Weber’s Rawls, Dewey and Constructivism provides a welcome addition to the Rawls literature by offering a Deweyan critique of,and alternative to, Rawlsian constructivism… In the contemporary political and economic climate, Weber’s call for strengthening the American tradition of public, humanistic education is refreshing.”
— Nicholas Tampio, H-Net Reviews: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
Cover of the Review of Metaphysics.“The insight Weber brings to his readers is that Dewey beat Rawls to the punch, and by grounding so much of his political philosophy in his philosophy of education, itself the product of a pervasive influence of evolutionary naturalism, Dewey’s practical philosophy is much more practical than Rawls’s… Weber is at his best when assessing tensions internal to Rawls’s version of constructivism, tensions that Weber thinks Deweyan constructivism, by means of his theory of education, avoids.”
— Seth Vannatta, The Review of Metaphysics

“Weber’s critique is … robust[,] judicious and collegial throughout… Weber has delivered a powerful [case].”
— Richard Cotter, Political Studies Review

Image of the cover of the Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society.“Weber explores how tensions between constructivism and representationalism in Rawls’ basic concepts of The Original Position and of Reflective Equilibrium bear on standards of objectivity in Rawls’ political philosophy. In response to such perceived tensions, and inspired by Dewey’s notion of inquiry, Weber sketches a more thorough-going constructivist notion of objectivity… Weber rightly stresses [that] Dewey’s ethics focuses on the moral development and educability of the self, not on freedom as ‘antecedent to moral situations … [and] to moral experience’.”
— Torjus Midtgarden, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society