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A Companion to Rawls

Jon Mandle (Editor), David A. Reidy (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3710-5
600 pages
December 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Rawls (1444337106) cover image


Wide ranging and up to date, this is the single most comprehensive treatment of the most influential political philosopher of the 20th century, John Rawls.

  •  An unprecedented survey that reflects the surge of Rawls scholarship since his death, and the lively debates that have emerged from his work
  • Features an outstanding list of contributors, including senior as well as “next generation” Rawls scholars
  • Provides careful, textually informed exegesis and well-developed critical commentary across all areas of his work, including  non-Rawlsian perspectives
  • Includes discussion of new material, covering Rawls’s work from the newly published undergraduate thesis to the final writings on public reason and the law of peoples
  • Covers Rawls’s moral and political philosophy, his distinctive methodological commitments, and his relationships to the history of moral and political philosophy and to jurisprudence and the social sciences
  • Includes discussion of his monumental 1971 book, A Theory of Justice, which is often credited as having revitalized political philosophy
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors ix

Introduction 1
Jon Mandle and David A. Reidy

Part I Ambitions 7

1 From Philosophical Theology to Democratic Theory: Early Postcards from an Intellectual Journey 9
David A. Reidy

2 Does Justice as Fairness Have a Religious Aspect? 31
Paul Weithman

Part II Method 57

3 Constructivism as Rhetoric 59
Anthony Simon Laden

4 Kantian Constructivism 73
Larry Krasnoff

5 The Basic Structure of Society as the Primary Subject of Justice 88
Samuel Freeman

6 Rawls on Ideal and Nonideal Theory 112
Zofia Stemplowska and Adam Swift

7 The Choice from the Original Position 128
Jon Mandle

Part III A Theory of Justice 145

8 The Priority of Liberty 147
Robert S. Taylor

9 Applying Justice as Fairness to Institutions 164
Colin M. Macleod

10 Democratic Equality as a Work-in-Progress 185
Stuart White

11 Stability, a Sense of Justice, and Self-Respect 200
Thomas E. Hill, Jr

12 Political Authority, Civil Disobedience, Revolution 216
Alexander Kaufman

Part IV A Political Conception 233

13 The Turn to a Political Liberalism 235
Gerald Gaus

14 Political Constructivism 251
Aaron James

15 On the Idea of Public Reason 265
Jonathan Quong

16 Overlapping Consensus 281
Rex Martin

17 Citizenship as Fairness: John Rawls’s Conception of Civic Virtue 297
Richard Dagger

18 Inequality, Difference, and Prospects for Democracy 312
Erin I. Kelly

Part V Extending Political Liberalism: International Relations 325

19 The Law of Peoples 327
Huw Lloyd Williams

20 Human Rights 346
Gillian Brock

21 Global Poverty and Global Inequality 361
Richard W. Miller

22 Just War 378
Darrel Moellendorf

Part VI Conversations with Other Perspectives 395

23 Rawls, Mill, and Utilitarianism 397
Jonathan Riley

24 Perfectionist Justice and Rawlsian Legitimacy 413
Steven Wall

25 The Unwritten Theory of Justice: Rawlsian Liberalism versus Libertarianism 430
Barbara H. Fried

26 The Young Marx and the Middle-Aged Rawls 450
Daniel Brudney

27 Challenges of Global and Local Misogyny 472
Claudia Card

28 Critical Theory and Habermas 487
Kenneth Baynes

29 Rawls and Economics 504
Daniel Little

30 Learning from the History of Political Philosophy 526
S.A. Lloyd

31 Rawls and the History of Moral Philosophy: The Cases of Smith and Kant 546
Paul Guyer

Index 567

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Author Information

Jon Mandle is Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University at Albany (SUNY). He has published two books on the work of John Rawls and one on global justice. His work engages in political philosophy, ethics, the philosophy of social science, and their histories.

David A. Reidy is Professor and Head in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tennessee. He works in political and legal philosophy with special attention to the work of John Rawls and to issues of global justice and human rights. With Rex Martin he co-edited (and contributed to) a volume on Rawls's "The Law of Peoples" recognized by the American Library Association with a "Choice Award."

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“An outstanding collection of 31 essays, this collection provides a wide range of material for those interested in Rawls, liberalism, and political philosophy in general. This is one of those volumes that every university library should own. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” – Choice, October 2014

"The editors aim to produce “not so much a summary of past scholarly work as a serviceable roadmap for current and future work on Rawls” (1). It is a high ambition which raises high expectations which are, happily, lived up to." - Dialogue

"This Companion to Rawls is a rich collection of stimulating and critical essays, which provides us with more than a state of the art volume. The textual interpretations, contextual elucidations and illuminating connections with diverse disciplines invite the reader to explore new paths and perspectives. For students of (political) philosophy the volume will be more than a thorough introduction to the philosophy of Rawls. For well-grounded scholars, who are fully acquainted with Rawls’s works, it will open up new insights and subtleties and offer them inspiration for future research. The Companion to Rawls is a welcome contribution to Rawls scholarship, which looks beyond A Theory of Justice and does justice to the versatility and ingenuity of Rawls’s works and thoughts" - Dialogue

“This first-class collection of new essays on John Rawls’s work heralds a renaissance of philosophical engagement with it, a new era that takes us beyond slogans and treats the full range and subtlety of the work, considered as a whole.“

—Henry S. Richardson, Georgetown University

“A panoramic perspective on Rawls, from intellectual biography to textual interpretations, to his relations to other theories, theorists, and disciplines. The essays are charitable, critical, and fresh—this collection is state-of-the-art.”

—Leif Wenar, King’s College London

“Rawls changed political philosophy forever. Where do we go from here? Building on Rawls’s deepest insights, these essays chart several promising paths forward. A must-read for all political philosophers.”

—Robert B. Talisse, Vanderbilt University

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