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Is French Republicanism embedded in an overlapping consensus?

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  1. Definition of republicanism
  2. The French notion of republicanism and Rawls's views
  3. Comparisons with the American political culture

John Rawls's political theories are often criticized for being too theoretical. In fact, in order to develop his theory of justice and of political liberalism, Rawls makes use of innovative notions and conceptual devices. Even though he endeavors constantly to define, specify and illustrate these concepts such as the overlapping consensus, public reason, the original position or the veil of ignorance, they may still be deemed as too abstract and non-representational by many. Thus, it can be thought of as valuable or even necessary to assess the extent to which these hypothetical abstractions play out in reality. In order to do so, I shall try to examine the French notion of Republicanism and evaluate how it epitomizes Rawls's views particularly on the idea of the overlapping consensus. The focus will or will not be justified in the conclusions reached by this essay; but as of now, it has been chosen to do so given my modest familiarity with French political culture. Yet, schematic comparisons with the American political culture will be made towards the end of this brief essay in order to render it more unambiguous to the reader.

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