Contemporary philosophical pluralism recognizes the inevitability and legitimacy of multiple ethical perspectives and values, making it difficult to isolate the higher-order principles on which to base a theory of justice. Rising up to meet this challenge, Rainer Forst, a leading member of the Frankfurt School’s newest generation of philosophers, conceives of an “autonomous” construction of justice founded on what he calls the basic moral right to justification. Forst begins by identifying this right from the perspective of moral philosophy. Then, through an innovative, detailed critical analysis, he ties together the central components of social and political justice - freedom, democracy, equality, and toleration - and joins them to the right to justification. The resulting theory treats “justificatory power” as the central question of justice, and by adopting this approach, Forst argues, we can discursively work out, or “construct,” principles of justice, especially with respect to transnational justice and human rights issues. As he builds his theory, Forst engages with the work of Anglo-American philosophers such as John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Amartya Sen, and critical theorists such as Jürgen Habermas, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth.
Part 1: Foundations: Practical Reason,Morality, and Justice
1. Practical Reason and Justifying Reasons 2. Moral Autonomy and the Autonomy of Morality 3. Ethics and Morality 4. The Justification of Justice: Rawls's Political Liberalism and Habermas's Discourse Theory in Dialogue
Part 2: Political and Social Justice
5. Political Liberty: Integrating Five Conceptions of Autonomy 6. A Critical Theory of Multicultural Tolerance 7. The Rule of Reasons: Three Models of Deliberative Democracy 8. Social Justice, Justification, and Justice
"Rainer Forst is at the forefront of the exciting encounter between critical social theory and Anglo-American normative philosophy. His work is a worthy successor to the Rawls-Habermas dialogue, which ended all too quickly. This work documents his systematic attempt to build a theory of human rights and democratic justice, beginning with the principle of the right to justification. He writes with grace and wit; this book will be widely read." - Seyla Benhabib, Yale University
"In his ambitious masterpiece, Toleration in Conflict, Rainer Forst laid the groundwork for an innovative concept, the right to justification. Here he has developed this prolific idea in a systematic manner, establishing a compelling and original political theory. Forst, a brilliant scholar, deserves his reputation as one of the leading political philosophers of his generation." - Jürgen Habermas