John Rawls


Born
in Baltimore, The United States
February 21, 1921

Died
November 24, 2002

Genre

Influences
Locke, Kant, Rosseau, Darwin, Hart, Isiah Berlin


John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard. His magnum opus A Theory of Justice (1971) is now regarded as "one of the primary texts in political philosophy." His work in political philosophy, dubbed Rawlsianism, takes as its starting point the argument that "most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position." Rawls employs a number of thought experiments—including the famous veil of ignorance—to determine what constitutes a fair agreement in which "everyone is impartially situated as equals," in order to determine principles of social justice.

Rawls received both
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Average rating: 3.91 · 12,924 ratings · 331 reviews · 37 distinct worksSimilar authors
A Theory of Justice

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Collected Papers

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The idea of public reason r...

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More books by John Rawls…
Political Liberalism
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“Many of our most serious conflicts are conflicts within ourselves. Those who suppose their judgements are always consistent are unreflective or dogmatic.”
John Rawls, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement

“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.”
John Rawls, A Theory of Justice

“The natural distribution is neither just nor unjust; nor is it unjust that persons are born into society at some particular position. These are simply natural facts. What is just and unjust is the way that institutions deal with these facts.”
John Rawls, A Theory of Justice

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