Public Reason: Vol. 12, No. 2, 2020
Cultural Heritage Policy as a Challenge to Rawlsian Liberalism?
Ruwen Fritsche

Abstract: To answer the question whether cultural heritage policy is challenging Rawlsian Liberalism, the paper is structured in four parts. In the first part, I will present, as a paradigmatic example, an area of legislation that is specifically aimed at preserving cultural heritage – namely German cultural property law. In the second part, I will try to answer whether and under what conditions state action to promote and protect cultural heritage can be morally justified according to the Theory of Justice by John Rawls. In the third part, I will examine whether Rawls’s position as worked out in the second part is consistent or even coherent with the claims of so-called political perfectionism. In the fourth and last part of the paper, I am going to analyse tentatively to what extent German cultural property law would have to be changed to be in accordance with the moral criteria of Rawls’s Theory of Justice, as presented in the parts before.

Key words: ethics, cultural heritage policies, legal ethics, normative political theory, moral philosophy, law, political perfectionism, culture, Aristotelian principle, self-respect, the good, A Theory of Justice, John Rawls, Steven Wall, German cultural property law, cultural property of national significance, accessibility.


Fritsche, Ruwen. 2020. Cultural Heritage Policy as a Challenge to Rawlsian Liberalism? Public Reason 12 (2): 3-16.