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Rawls's Egalitarianism
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Book description

This is a new interpretation and analysis of John Rawls's leading theory of distributive justice, which also considers the responding egalitarian theories of scholars such as Richard Arneson, G. A. Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, Martha Nussbaum, John Roemer, and Amartya Sen. Rawls's theory, Kaufman argues, sets out a normative ideal of justice that incorporates an account of the structure and character of relations that are appropriate for members of society viewed as free and equal moral beings. Forging an approach distinct amongst contemporary theories of equality, Rawls offers an alternative to egalitarian justice methodologies that aim primarily to compensate victims for undeserved bad luck. For Rawls, the values that ground the most plausible account of egalitarianism are real equality of economic opportunity combined with the guarantee of a fair distribution of social goods. Kaufman's analysis will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of political theory and political philosophy, particularly those working on justice, and on the work of John Rawls.

Reviews

‘Kaufman's book is an important contribution to the elaboration of Rawls's theory of distributive justice and its defense against many recent criticisms developed over the past 10–15 years. It should appeal to academic philosophers and political theorists who work on Rawls and on distributive justice more generally, including graduate students and upper level undergraduates.'

Samuel Freeman - Avalon Professor of the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

‘This book reflects a deep engagement with the work of John Rawls, and it captures both the general spirit and the details of that theory better than the great majority of commentaries. The most prominent criticisms of Rawls's work - including notably those of G. A. Cohen and Amartya Sen - rely on misunderstandings of the target view, and this manuscript goes a long distance toward explaining how and why that is so. Graduate students in philosophy or political science who are writing on Rawls (or on the particular critics considered here) will do very well to read this book, regardless of whether their own work is ultimately in sympathy with Rawls's work or critical of it. Critics of Rawls would also do well to read this book, since that would enable sharper and more sympathetic treatment of Rawls's views in the presentations of their own criticisms.'

Jon Garthoff - University of Tennessee

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