Below is a paragraph from the article from The Prospect Magazine: Revisiting John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (URL: https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/liberalism-john-rawls-jesse-norman-katrina-forrester-theory-of-justice-andrius-galisanka)

Better still, all could find points of disagreement. There were papers to be written, refutations to be published, careers to be made. The book was presented as an idealisation of human choice, purged of the contingent, the morally accidental and idiosyncratic. As such, it paid little apparent attention to the outside world—including the specific realities of being poor, and the particular experiences of women and people of colour, or of the infirm or other vulnerable groups whose status and wellbeing the difference principle was intended to protect. And it seemed to display a high-constitutional understanding of politics keyed to established political institutions, rather than to the informal, raucous and rapidly fragmenting reality of its time.

What does “a high-constitutional understanding” mean? Is it a newly coined word? I looked up this word online but I couldn’t find any entry. Perhaps does that mean “highly constitutional?” But I don’t think that makes sense.


Itis an odd and, in my view, awkward usage. Even after reading the whole article (thanks for the link) I am not sure what the author intended. I think it might be something like "a high-level, constitution-oriented understanding of politics ". That is an understanding that looks at politics not in terms of the day-to-day details, but in terms of the kind of overarching principals traditional embodied in a constitution. It just shows how a single choice can make an otherwise eloquent passage hard to fo9llow.

(And now I may have to read Rawls.)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .