Theory of Justice
`In a just society', wrote John Rawls, '...the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests'. Existing societies seldom adhere to this principle, for what is just or unjust is usually...
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`In a just society', wrote John Rawls, '...the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests'. Existing societies seldom adhere to this principle, for what is just or unjust is usually in dispute. Professor Rawls sets out the principle of justice that free and rational persons would accept in an initial position of equality. After the first theoretical part of the book, which concludes with a persuasive critique of Utilitarianism, the author sets out to illustrate the content of his two principles of justice. He describes the basic structure that ideally satisfies these principles and examines the duties and obligations to which they give rise. Finally, he connects the theory of justice with a doctrine of the good.;This book is intended for general readers with an interest in moral philosophy, the principles of justice. Students (undergraduate and above) of moral philosophy, law, and political philosophy.
John Rawls, professor of philosophy at Harvard University, had published a number of articles on the concept of justice as fairness before the appearance of his magnum opus, A Theory of Justice (1971). While the articles had won for Rawls considerable prestige, the reception of his book thrust him into the front ranks of contemporary moral philosophy. Presenting a Kantian alternative to conventional utilitarianism and intuitionism, Rawls offers a theory of justice that is contractual and that rests on principles that he alleges would be accepted by free, rational persons in a state of nature, that is, of equality. The chorus of praise was loud and clear. Stuart Hampshire acclaimed the book as "the most substantial and interesting contribution to moral philosophy since the war."H. A. Bedau declared: "As a work of close and original scholarship in the service of the dominant moral and political ideology of our civilization, Rawls's treatise is simply without a rival." Rawls historically achieved two important things: (1) He articulated a coherent moral philosophy for the welfare state, and (2) he demonstrated that analytic philosophy was most capable of doing constructive work in moral philosophy. A Theory of Justice has become the most influential work in political, legal, and social philosophy by an American author in the twentieth century.