Rawls Explained: From Fairness to Utopia

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Open Court Publishing, 2011 - Philosophy - 206 pages
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We live in a world that is increasingly unjust. In many liberal democratic societies the gap between the best-off and the worst-off grows larger. Other societies pursue economic growth while remaining blind to their citizens' political rights and freedoms. The citizens of some other societies are so bereft of basic resources that they struggle to maintain their human dignity.

In this context Rawls challenges us to see the world through the lens of fairness. Injustice can only be effectively challenged if we can articulate, to ourselves and to others, both why a situation is unjust and how we might move towards justice. Political philosophy at its best offers both an answer to the why of injustice and the how of political and economic change.

This book is divided into three parts corresponding to the three great books that form the core of John Rawls's theory: A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism (1993), and The Law of Peoples (1999). Rawls Explained sets out Rawls's ideas in the form of a critical exposition that elaborates the central themes and philosophical background of his arguments. Each section of the book ends with a survey of some of the main criticisms of the arguments coupled with Rawls's strongest counterarguments.
 

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Contents

The Analytic of Justice
13
METHOD OF REASONING
28
Primary Goods
36
The Practicum of Justice
54
The Theoretical Basis of Justice
75
Objections and Responses
88
For Further Reading on A Theory of Justice
106
The Justification of the Principles
110
Stability
138
For Further Reading on Political Liberalism
155
The Practicum of International Justice
177
For Further Reading on The Law of Peoples
192
Index
203
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About the author (2011)

Paul Voice teaches philosophy at Bennington College, Vermont.

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