John Rawls's pioneering work of political philosophy A Theory of Justice has had far reaching influence on modern liberal political philosophy. Rawls' sprinciples of justice as fairness: the principle of liberty, the principle of fair equality of opportunity and the famous 'difference principle' have been both heavily criticized and incorporated into other political theories. In this book PÃ¤ivÃ¤nsalo both presents a deep analysis of the whole Rawlsian canon and builds upon and goes beyond Rawls's conception by introducing a fresh theoretical framework to clarify and modify different balances of the elements of Rawlsian justice. Justice as fairness is analyzed into its parts and elements, critically examined to find the strongest most favourable interpretations of each principle and in this light the principles are reconstructed and rebalanced in such a way as to resist the most significant criticisms of the Rawlsian project.
'The idea of a framework for ’reasonable balancings’ of competing but not incompatible ways of stating, interpreting, and applying the principles of justice is probably Ville PÃ¤ivÃ¤nsalo's main, and most original, contribution to the ongoing discussion of Rawls's theory of justice. The reasonable balancing Ville PÃ¤ivÃ¤nsalo has in view is an ongoing project, subject to periodic adjustments and conducted by thoughtful persons. It is not a static, ’once for all’ thing. It is, in his account, a balancing that is "internal" (based on values and norms internal to Rawls’s own perspective), ’critical’ (taking account of and accommodating, so much as possible, persistent and well-conceived criticisms of Rawls’s theory), and "inclusive" (taking on board, in an integrated and principled fashion, many of Rawls’s proposals -- but quite consciously going beyond them).' Rex Martin, University of Kansas USA and Cardiff University, UK