Rawls  book cover
1st Edition


ISBN 9780415301091
Published July 16, 2007 by Routledge
576 Pages

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Book Description

In this superb introduction, Samuel Freeman introduces and assesses the main topics of Rawls' philosophy. Starting with a brief biography and charting the influences on Rawls' early thinking, he goes on to discuss the heart of Rawls's philosophy: his principles of justice and their practical application to society.

Subsequent chapters discuss Rawls's theories of liberty, political and economic justice, democratic institutions, goodness as rationality, moral psychology, political liberalism, and international justice and a concluding chapter considers Rawls' legacy.

Clearly setting out the ideas in Rawls' masterwork, A Theory of Justice, Samuel Freeman also considers Rawls' other key works, including Political Liberalism and The Law of Peoples. An invaluable introduction to this deeply influential philosopher, Rawls is essential reading for anyone coming to his work for the first time.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Liberalism, Democracy and the First Principle of Justice  3. The Second Principle and Distributive Justice  4. The Original Position  5. Just Institutions  6. Justice and the Good  7. Kantian Constructivism and the Transition to Political Liberalism  8. Political Liberalism I: The Domain of the Political  9. Political Liberalism II: Overlapping Consensus and the Idea of Public Reason  10. The Law of the Peoples

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Samuel Freeman is Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Rawls.


'...an important and hugely impressive book. It is straightforward and authoritative, laying out and exploring criticisms in sufficient detail to make clear the underlying philosophical issues.'The Times Literary Supplement

 'A monumental study of a monumental theorist. This invaluable resource engages with Rawls's work at every level: it's an exposition, it's a critique, and most importantly it projects an understanding of Rawls's work into the future of political philosophy. On every page, Professor Freeman's attention to detail is suffused by his awareness of the overall structure of the theory and the philosophical significance of Rawls's grand strategy.' – Jeremy Waldron, New York University School of Law, USA

'Sympathetic, comprehensive, thorough, and accessible' – Leif Wenar, University of Sheffield, UK