ethical discourse, J. Rawls’s theory of justice, moral bases of a state, “involvement of the Other” of J. Habermas


Philosophical and ethical controversies of contractualism are analyzed in the article. Revitalization of modern ethical discourse based on social agreement connected with J. Rawls whose “theory of justice” is interpreted in the light of philosophical and legal legitimization of socio-democratic practices of “a state of general prosperity”. Criticism of this theory presented in the works of R. Nozick and R. Dworkin is highlighted. Where the first one rejects morality of state redistribution of “justly” acquired property, the second considers moral bases of socio-regulated governed influence based on “natural law” argumentation. The analysis of discrepancies between the approaches of J. Rawls and R. Dworkin has demonstrated the difficulties of neo-liberal attempts to prove moral bases of a modern state: problem statement in the individualistic way doesn’t consider dynamic character of human socialization and neglects an issue regarding a moral status of marginalized populations. Criticism of neo-liberal controversies of contractualism performed by J. Habermas, is analyzed. Communicative approach to dichotomy withdrawal of liberal freedom (“rights of the new”) and ideas of public autonomy (“rights of the old”) is revealed. The study concludes that Habermas’s “involvement of the Other” is to meet all practical challenges of the modern society, it evokes a consideration of the main approach of moral bases definition of a legal, democratic and social state. Ethical discourse content is proved to be an embodiment of a process of self-awareness created by civil society that is a special form of existence and development of social subjectivity.


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How to Cite

Butchenko, T., & Unikaite-Jakuntaviciene, I. (2021). PHILOSOPHICAL AND ETHICAL CONTROVERSIES OF CONTRACTUALISM. Skhid, 1(1), 5–10.



Social Philosophy