John Rawls

John Rawls

Born: 1921. Died: 2002.


Modern Harvard philosopher.

In his most famous book, Theory of Justice (1971), John Rawls proposed the idea of 'original position', a mental exercise whereby a group of rational people must establish a principle of fairness (such as distribution of income) without knowing beforehand where on the resulting pecking order they will end up themselves.

John Rawls used this device to argue that the optimal arrangement will be to 'maximize the welfare of society's worse-off member', which effectively justifies an egalitarian "no-substitution" social welfare function.

John Rawls died of heart failure on November 24, 2002.

Major Books of John Rawls

- A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith: With "On My Religion", 2009
- A Theory of Justice, 1971
- The Basic Liberties and Their Priority, 1982, in McMurrin, editor, Tanner Lectures on Human Values
- Collected Papers, 1999
- Constitutional Liberty and the Concept of Justice, 1963, Friedrich and Chapman, editors, Nomos, VI: Justice
- Distributive Justice, 1967, in Laslett and Runciman, eds., Philosophy, Politics, and Society
- Fifty Years after Hiroshima, 1989, in James Rachels, editor, The Right Thing to Do
- Justice as Reciprocity, 1971, in Gorovitz, ed., Utilitarianism
- Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, 2001
- The Justification of Civil Disobedience, 1969, in Bedau, editor, Civil Disobedience
- The Law of the Peoples, 1999
- Lecture on the History of Moral Philosophy, with Barbara Hermann, 2000
- Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy, with Samuel Freeman, 2000
- Legal Obligation and the Duty of Fair Play, 1964, in S. Hook, editor, Law and Philosophy
- Legal Obligation and the Duty of Fair Play, 1971, in Murphy, editor, Civil Disobedience and Violence
- Political Liberalism, 1993
- Social Unity and Primary Goods, 1982, in A. Sen and B. Wiliams, editors, Utilitarianism and Beyond
- Themes in Kant's Moral Philosophy, 1989, in Forster, editor, Kant's Transcendental Deductions

Major Articles of John Rawls

- 1951, Outline of a Decision Procedure for Ethics, PhilRev
- 1955, Two Concepts of Rules, PhilRev
- 1957, I. Justice as Fairness, J of Philosophy
- 1958, Justice as Fairness, PhilRev
- 1963, The Sense of Justice, PhilRev
- 1974, The Independence of Moral Theory, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association
- 1974, Some Reasons for the Maximin Criterion, AER
- 1975, Fairness to Goodness, PhilRev
- 1975, A Kantian Conception of Equality, Cambridge Review
- 1977, The Basic Structure as Subject, APQ
- 1980, Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory, J of Philosophy
- 1985, Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical, Phil. and Pub. Affairs
- 1987, The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus, OJLS
- 1988, The Priority of Right and Ideas of the Good, Phil. and Pub. Affairs
- 1989, The Domain of the Political and Overlapping Consensus, NYU Law Review, (Republished in Derek Matravers and Jonathan E. Pike, editors, Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy, 2003)
- 1993, The Law of Peoples, Critical Inquiry
- 1997, The Idea of Public Reason Revisited, Law Review


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