Justice as Fairness: A Restatement

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Harvard University Press, 2001 - Philosophy - 214 pages
20 Reviews

This book originated as lectures for a course on political philosophy that Rawls taught regularly at Harvard in the 1980s. In time the lectures became a restatement of his theory of justice as fairness, revised in light of his more recent papers and his treatise Political Liberalism (1993). As Rawls writes in the preface, the restatement presents "in one place an account of justice as fairness as I now see it, drawing on all [my previous] works." He offers a broad overview of his main lines of thought and also explores specific issues never before addressed in any of his writings.

Rawls is well aware that since the publication of A Theory of Justice in 1971, American society has moved farther away from the idea of justice as fairness. Yet his ideas retain their power and relevance to debates in a pluralistic society about the meaning and theoretical viability of liberalism. This book demonstrates that moral clarity can be achieved even when a collective commitment to justice is uncertain.

  

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Review: Justice as Fairness: A Restatement

User Review  - Michael Hurley - Goodreads

Actually I read parts I-III as that was the required reading for the Great Books at Colby - which was the last week in July and was a great experience. Rawls, however, writes in this dry academic ... Read full review

Review: Justice as Fairness: A Restatement

User Review  - Mitchell Croom - Goodreads

Rawls unfortunately had the literary talent of a confused crustacean, but Justice as Fairness is a concise, persuasive, and compelling argument for modern liberalism. Well worth the read. Read full review

Contents

I
1
III
5
IV
8
V
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VI
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VII
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VIII
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IX
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XXXIII
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XXXIV
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XXXV
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XXXVI
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XXXVII
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XXXVIII
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XXXIX
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XL
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LIV
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LVI
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LVIII
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LIX
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About the author (2001)

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.

Erin Kelly is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University.

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