Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2020

Honors Major Advisor

Priest, Richard Tyler

Thesis Mentor

Bhandary, Asha L


Often lauded as one of the most rigorous contributions to American political philosophy during the post-war period, John Rawls' Theory of Justice is a natural starting point for those interested in liberalism. In light of commitments made by Rawls to a Kantian ideal of individualism; however, especially for those concerned with selfhood, at times Theory also proves to be an obstacle to overcome. Communitarians, critical race theorists, and liberals alike have viewed Rawls' conception of selfhood from his early work as a holdover from a bygone Enlightenment era to be abandoned at all costs. That response, however, is premature as Rawls' Theory nevertheless possesses a stronger justification for its conception of selfhood than the politically free-standing model adopted by the later Rawls. This thesis re-imagines that longstanding, often tacitly assumed, vision of self-hood which is at the core of many forms of liberalism by finding a workable account of selfhood that is compatible with the overall project of Rawlsian liberalism presented in Theory, yet remains sensitive to its critics; a project which proves essential for reconstructions of liberalism or any Rawlsian derivative thereof.


Liberalism, Selfhood, John Rawls, Communitarianism, Critical Race Theory, Social Contract

Total Pages

34 pages


Copyright © 2020 Tobias Garcia Vega

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.