Rawls: An Introduction
January 2011, Polity
conception of liberalism placed civil liberties and social justice at its core, and his extraordinary influence has only been confirmed by the extent of the criticism he has provoked.
The book is divided into three parts which correspond to Rawls’s three major books. The first concentrates on A Theory of Justice (1971) and examines the way in which Rawls’s general vision of social justice is presented. Maffettone also includes here a discussion of some of the most important critiques of Rawls. The second part of the book highlights Political Liberalism (1993-6), with a chapter dedicated to the “passage” from Theory of Justice to Political Liberalism. Finally, the third part provides a discussion of The Law of Peoples (1999).
This work is acomprehensive examination of these three major texts by a renowned Rawls scholar and will appeal to all philosophers and social scientists for whom it is essential to understand the key theories of this most influential of political philosophers.
List of Abbreviations xi
1. Introduction 1
2. The Theory 25
3. The First Principle of Justice 52
4. The Second Principle of Justice 70
5. The Original Position 100
6. Reflective Equilibrium 139
7. Main Critisms of Rawls 158
8. From A Theory of Justice to Political Liberalism 189
9. Introducing Political Liberalism 210
10. The State of the Problem 229
11. Overlapping Consensus and Public Reason 260
12. The Law of Peoples 293
- The author is a leading expert on the work of John Rawls.
- This is a coherent and accessible guide to the theory of Rawls, examining his major works.
- As such, this will appeal to students and scholars of international relations and international politics.
- The author is a prominent speaker on the US college circuit and is organizing a world Rawls conference in Rome in January 2010.
"This introduction to Rawls is the product of good,
old-fashioned, and dedicated scholarship, combined with careful
didactic talent. Maffettone succeeds in offering an encompassing
and coherent picture of Rawls's political philosophy. [But] this
work is much more than a mere introduction. Students in political
philosophy will find it deserves to be read together with the
original and vice versa."
"A meticulous, comprehensive overview of the entirety of Rawls'
corpus, that presents an important reading of Rawls which provides
a response to many critiques."
Political Studies Review
"An excellent survey of the features and evolution of
Rawls’s conception of justice as fairness."
Review of Politics
"An educational read that presents it all well and leaves
readers with what they need to know to pursue deeper learning.
Rawls is an excellent addition to any community and college
"Achieving a graceful balance of accessibility and rigor,
Maffettone's insightful and substantial study expounds Rawls's
thought as unified by the priority of the right over the good and
offers a sober critical appraisal of it and its intellectual
Thomas W. Pogge, Yale University
"John Rawls was the leading political philosopher of the past
century. In this illuminating book, Sebastiano Maffettone gives us
a complete, coherent, and compelling picture of Rawls's leading
ideas: his liberal-egalitarian theory of justice, his ideas about
legitimacy in a pluralistic democracy, and his account of the moral
basis of global politics. Maffettone understands that the focus of
Rawls's work shifted, but he sees the deeper continuities in
Rawls's emphasis on the priority of the right and his distinction
between the justice of a society and its capacity to elicit the
willing support of its members. The book casts a powerful light on
Rawls's work, both clarifying his ideas and explaining their
Joshua Cohen, Stanford University
"This is for its size the best introduction to all of Rawls's
major works available. It is also a significant work of scholarship
in its own right, with an especially strong emphasis on the
continuity of Rawls's thought. Maffettone's acumen, expertise and
dedication to his subject are in evidence on every page."
Leif Wenar, King's College London
"A rich and insightful work, which will make a substantial
contribution to the secondary literature on Rawls. The author is
able to draw upon both his own extensive knowledge of the Rawls
corpus and his personal interaction with Rawls himself in order to
present a systematic overview of his political theory."
Daniel Butt, University of Bristol
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