Justice as Fairness: A Restatement

John Rawls, edited by Erin Kelley, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001).

Summary from Publisher:

This book originated as lectures for a course on political philosophy that Rawls taught regularly at Harvard in the 1980s. In time the lectures became a restatement of his theory of justice as fairness, revised in light of his more recent papers and his treatise Political Liberalism (1993). As Rawls writes in the preface, the restatement presents “in one place an account of justice as fairness as I now see it, drawing on all [my previous] works.” He offers a broad overview of his main lines of thought and also explores specific issues never before addressed in any of his writings.

Rawls is well aware that since the publication of A Theory of Justice in 1971, American society has moved farther away from the idea of justice as fairness. Yet his ideas retain their power and relevance to debates in a pluralistic society about the meaning and theoretical viability of liberalism. This book demonstrates that moral clarity can be achieved even when a collective commitment to justice is uncertain.

Table of Contents:

Editor’s Foreword


Part I Fundamental Ideas

1. Four Roles of Political Philosophy
2. Society as a Fair System of Cooperation
3. The Idea of a Well-Ordered Society
4. The Idea of a Basic Structure
5. Limits to Our Inquiry
6. The Idea of the Original Position
7. The Idea of Free and Equal Persons
8. Relations between the Fundamental Ideas
9. The Idea of Public Justification
10. The Idea of Reflective Equilibrium
11. The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus

Part II Principles of Justice

12. Three Basic Points
13. Two Principles of Justice
14. The Problem of Distributive Justice
15. The Basic Structure as Subject: First Kind of Reason
16. The Basic Structure as Subject: Second Kind of Reason
17. Who Are the Least Advantaged?
18. The Difference Principle: Its Meaning
19. Objections via Counterexamples
20. Legitimate Expectations, Entitlement, and Desert
21. On Viewing Native Endowments as a Common Asset
22. Summary Comments on Distributive Justice and Desert

Part III The Argument from the Original Position

23. The Original Position: The Set-Up
24. The Circumstances of Justice
25. Formal Constrains and the Veil of Ignorance
26. The Idea of Public Reason
27. First Fundamental Comparison
28. The Structure of the Argument and the Maximum Rule
29. The Argument Stressing the Third Condition
30. The Priority of the Basic Liberties
31. An Objection about Aversion to Uncertainty
32. The Equal Basic Liberties Revisited
33. The Argument Stressing the Second Condition
34. Second Fundamental Comparison: Introduction
35. Grounds Falling under Publicity
36. Grounds Falling under Reciprocity
37. Grounds Falling under Stability
38. Grounds against the Principle of Restricted Utility
39. Comments on Equality
40. Concluding Remarks

Part IV Institutions of a Just Basic Structure

41. Property-Owning Democracy: Introductory Remarks
42. Some Basic Contrasts between Regimes
43. Ideas of the Good in Justice as Fairness
44. Constitutional versus Procedural Democracy
45. The Fair Value of the Equal Political Liberties
46. Denial of the Fair Value for Other Basic Liberties
47. Political and Comprehensive Liberalism: A Contrast
48. A Note on Head Taxes and the Priority of Liberty
49. Economic Institutions of a Property-Owning Democracy
50. The Family as a Basic Institution
51. The Flexibility of an Index of Primary Goods
52. Addressing Marx’s Critique of Liberalism
53. Brief Comments on Leisure Time

Part V The Question of Stability

54. The Domain of the Political
55. The Question of Stability
56. Is Justice as Fairness Political in the Wrong Way?
57. How Is Political Liberalism Possible?
58. An Overlapping Consensus Not Utopian
59. A Reasonable Moral Psychology
60. The Good of Political Society


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