By Linda Hirshmandescribes
I visited John Rawls in the hospital in Fall 1995 after reading a draft of his Introduction to the paperback edition of Political Liberalism (1996), and remarked about how he was not pulling any punches. He...said that he was finally expressing some things that he had been reluctant to say previously about the importance of political philosophy. In the passage we were discussing, Rawls says: "Debates about general philosophical questions cannot be the daily stuff of politics, but that does not make these questions without significance, since we what think their answers are will shape the underlying attitudes of the public culture and the conduct of politics. If we take for granted as common knowledge that a just and well-ordered society is impossible, then the quality and tone of those discussions will reflect that knowledge. A cause of the fall of Weimar's constitutional regime was that none of the traditional elites of Germany supported its constitution or were willing to cooperate to make it work."
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