Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Mortimer Sellers, Stephan Kirste

Rawls, John

  • David A. ReidyEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6730-0_237-1

John Rawls: Introduction to Rawls’s Project

This entry introduces John Rawls and his theory of justice. The main components of Rawls’s theory are discussed in fuller detail in the additional entries listed at the end of this introductory entry.

The Basic Question

“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought.” So begins John Rawls’s highly influential A Theory of Justice (1971, revised 1999). Justice is not the only virtue of social institutions – efficiency and stability, for example, matter too. But as virtues, these depend on justice to a degree that justice does not in turn depend on them. For example, under anything like normal conditions, social stability achieved through deception or manipulation is no virtue at all.

While justice is the first virtue of social institutions, “the basic structure of society is the first subject of justice.” The basic social structure is not the only subject of justice – interpersonal and international...

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References

Books by Rawls

  1. Rawls J (1996a). A theory of justice. Harvard University Press, revised, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  2. Rawls J (1996b) Political liberalism. Columbia University Press, 1993, expanded, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  3. Rawls J (1999a) The law of peoples. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. Rawls J (1999b) Collected papers. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  5. Rawls J (2000) In: Herman B (ed) Lectures on the history of moral philosophy. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  6. Rawls J (2001) In: Kelly E (ed) Justice as fairness: a restatement. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  7. Rawls J (2007) In: Freeman S (ed) Lectures on the history of political philosophy. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  8. Rawls J (2009) In: Nagel T (ed) A brief inquiry into the meaning of sin & faith. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar

Books About Rawls

  1. Audard C (2007) John Rawls. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Ithaca, NYGoogle Scholar
  2. Barry B (1973) The liberal theory of justice. Oxford University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  3. Brooks T, Freyenhagen F (eds) (2005) The legacy of John Rawls. Continuum, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  4. Daniels N (ed) (1989) Reading Rawls. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CAGoogle Scholar
  5. Davion V, Wolf C (eds) (2000) The idea of political liberalism. Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MDGoogle Scholar
  6. Dombrowski D (2001) Rawls and religion. SUNY Press, Albany, NYGoogle Scholar
  7. Freeman S (ed) (2003) The Cambridge companion to Rawls. Cambridge University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  8. Freeman S (2007a) Rawls. Routledge, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  9. Freeman S (2007b) Justice and the social contract. Oxford University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  10. Kukathas C, Petit P (1990) A theory of justice and its critics. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CAGoogle Scholar
  11. Lehning PB (2006) John Rawls: an introduction. Cambridge University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  12. Maffettone S (2010) Rawls: an introduction, Polity, Malden, MAGoogle Scholar
  13. Mandle J (2009) Rawls’s ‘a theory of justice’: an introduction. Cambridge University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  14. Mandle J, Reidy D (eds) (2014) A companion to Rawls. Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, UKGoogle Scholar
  15. Mandle J, Reidy D (eds) (2015) The Rawls lexicon. Cambridge University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  16. Martin R (1985) Rawls and rights. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KSGoogle Scholar
  17. Martin R, Reidy D (eds) (2006) Rawls’s law of peoples: a realistic utopia? Blackwell, Malden, MAGoogle Scholar
  18. Moon JD (2014) John Rawls: liberalism and the challenges of late modernity. Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MAGoogle Scholar
  19. Pogge T (1989) Realizing Rawls. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NYGoogle Scholar
  20. Pogge T (2007) John Rawls: his life and theory of justice. Oxford University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  21. Talisse R (2001) On Rawls. Wadsworth Publishing, Belmont, CAGoogle Scholar
  22. Weithman P (2010) Why political liberalism? Oxford University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  23. Wolff, Robert Paul. Understanding Rawls, Princeton University Press, 1977. Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  24. Young S (2009) Reflections on Rawls. Ashgate, Burlington, VTGoogle Scholar

Edited Collections of Journal Articles About Rawls

  1. Kukathas C (ed) (2003) John Rawls: critical assessments, vol 4. Routledge, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  2. Reidy D (ed) (2008) John Rawls. Ashgate Publishing, Burlington, VTGoogle Scholar
  3. Richardson H, Weithman P (eds) (1999) The philosophy of Rawls, vol 5. Garland, New York, NYGoogle Scholar

Other Internet Resources on Rawls

  1. Richardson H “John Rawls.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.iep.utm.edu/r/rawls.htm
  2. Wenar L “John Rawls.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rawls/

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sally Scholz
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA