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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

12 - John Rawls and the task of political philosophy

John Rawls spent his professional life developing a conception of justice that was suitable for regulating the basic institutions of a liberal democracy under modern conditions. This chapter provides an accurate picture of Rawls's motivations, drawing on the Theory of Justice and on his Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy for occasional support. Rawls describes the social bases of self-respect as the most important of the primary goods. Rawls thinks we can sustain our commitment to the principles of justice and to bringing about a just society only if we think human nature is not unfriendly to the realization of that society in the world. Just because Rawls produced a work of power and scope within the analytic tradition and identified and addressed so many of the central problems of political philosophy, his work is recognized as being of continuing philosophical interest by those who work in analytic philosophy.
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Political Philosophy in the Twentieth Century
  • Online ISBN: 9781139028530
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