Theorist of Modern Liberalism by Jerome C. Foss

– Jerome C. Foss, "John Rawls: Theorist of Modern Liberalism," The Heritage Foundation, Makers of American Political Thought Series.
Jerome Foss offers an introduction to the liberalism of John Rawls, and focuses particularly on the differences of that liberalism with the thought of the American founding. Excerpt: Rawls’s theory is meant to give us a new way of thinking about the… More

Thomas Picketty and Rawls

– Cass Sunstein, "Why Worry About Inequality?" Bloomberg View, May 13, 2014.
What, exactly, is wrong with economic inequality? Thomas Piketty’s improbable best-seller, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” has put that question in sharp relief. As just about everyone now knows, Piketty contends that over the next century,… More

“Obama’s Rawlsian Vision”

– Steven Mazie, "Obama's Rawlsian Vision," The Economist, February 19, 2013.
LAST week’s state-of-the-union address received unexpectedly low marks from some commentators. For Paul Krugman, it was “not very interesting”. For countless other observers, it was a mere “laundry list” of proposals that have no chance of passing… More

John Rawls, Friend and Teacher

– Samuel Freeman, "John Rawls, Friend and Teacher," Chronicle of Higher Education, December 13, 2012.
Excerpt: The philosopher John Rawls has died at 81. It’s well known that he had an enormous influence on academic discussions of social, political, and economic justice: His 1971 book, A Theory of Justice, is widely recognized as the most significant… More

The Veil of Opulence

– Benjamin Hale, "Veil of Opulence," New York Times, August 12, 2012.
More than 40 years ago the philosopher John Rawls, in his influential political work “A Theory of Justice,” implored the people of the world to shed themselves of their selfish predispositions and to assume, for the sake of argument, that they were… More

Occupation as Fairness: What John Rawls Would Make of the Occupy Movement

– Seth Resler and Joshua Cohen, Boston Review, November 17, 2011.
Seth Resler: John Rawls’s magnum opus is A Theory of Justice, published in 1971. Let’s talk about what the theory actually is. It has its own name, which is “justice as fairness,” and there are two principles involved. Tell me about them. Joshua… More

Why Political Liberalism?: On John Rawls’s Political Turn

– Paul Weithman, Why Political Liberalism?: On John Rawls's Political Turn (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2011).
From the publisher: In Why Political Liberalism? , Paul Weithman offers a fresh, rigorous, and compelling interpretation of John Rawls’s reasons for taking his so-called “political turn”. Weithman takes Rawls at his word that justice as… More

Rawls on Wall St.

– Steven Mazie, "Rawls on Wall St." New York Times, October 11, 2011.
Whether it fizzles with the first snowfall or develops into a true counterweight to the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street will go down as the first protest movement in recent memory to shine a critical light on the staggering levels of economic inequality in the… More

God and Rawls

– Peter Berkowitz, "God and Rawls," Hoover Institution Policy Review, June and July 2009.
Excerpt: It is commonly supposed that liberalism — the political theory that holds that all human beings are by nature free and equal, that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed, and that government’s task is to secure the… More

Rawls’s A Theory of Justice: An Introduction

– John Mandle, ed., Rawls's A Theory of Justice: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
From the publisher: “A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls, is widely regarded as the most important twentieth-century work of Anglo-American political philosophy. It transformed the field by offering a compelling alternative to the dominant utilitarian… More

Rawls’ Utopianism

– William Galston, "Rawls' Utopianism," New Republic, April 7, 2009.
It had been known for some time that during his last two undergraduate years at Princeton, John Rawls had immersed himself in Christian theology and considered studying for the Episcopal priesthood. More recently, a professor in Princeton’s religion… More

Going off the Rawls

– David Gordon, "Going off the Rawls," The American Conservative, July 28, 2008.

Nussbaum and Rawls on Religion and “Public Reason”

– Richard Neuhaus, "Review of 'Liberty of Conscience,' by Martha Nussbaum", New York Sun, February 27, 2008.
Martha Nussbaum straddles several disciplines, holding appointments in the philosophy department, the law school, and the divinity school at the University of Chicago. In her new book, “Liberty of Conscience” (Basic Books, 406 pages, $27.50), she… More

Nozick and Rawls

– David Lewis Schaefer, "Robert Nozick and the Coast of Utopia," New York Sun, April 30, 2008.
In 1971, a previously obscure Harvard philosophy professor, John Rawls, published a book that ultimately brought him acclaim as “America’s greatest political philosopher.” In the book, “A Theory of Justice,” Rawls set forth an… More

John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice

– Thomas Pogge, John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007).
Summary: This book is about the philosopher John Rawls and about his largest body of work in social justice. The book opens with a comprehensive biography of Rawls, which is the result of this book’s author’s academic and later personal… More


– Samuel Freeman, Rawls (London: Routledge, 2007).
From the publisher: “In this superb introduction, Samuel Freeman introduces and assesses the main topics of Rawls’ philosophy. Starting with a brief biography and charting the influences on Rawls’ early thinking, he goes on to discuss the… More

John Rawls

– Catherine Audard, John Rawls (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007).
From the publisher: This book introduces Rawls’s central ideas and examines their contribution to contemporary political thought. In the first part of the book Catherine Audard focuses on Rawls’ conception of political and social justice and its… More

A Rawlsian View of Inequality in Contemporary U.S. Politics

– David Lewis Shaefer, "Justice and Inequality," Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2007.
Excerpt: In other words, the absolute economic well-being of most Americans matters less than their relative position. Legitimizing this spirit of envy is the work of philosophers unknown to the vast majority of Americans. One of the most influential was John… More

Rawls’s Law of Peoples: A Realistic Utopia?

– Rex Martin and David Reidy, ed., Rawls's Law of Peoples: A Realistic Utopia? (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
From the publisher: “This volume examines Rawls’s theory of international justice as worked out in his controversial last book, The Law of Peoples.”

Justice and the Social Contract: Essays on Rawlsian Political Philosophy

– Samuel Freeman, Justice and the Social Contract: Essays on Rawlsian Political Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).
Summary: John Rawls (1921-2002) was one of the 20th century’s most important philosophers and continues to be among the most widely discussed of contemporary thinkers. His work, particularly A Theory of Justice, is integral to discussions of social and… More

The Endless Party

– William Voegeli, "The Endless Party," Claremont Review of Books, December 2004.

The Privilege of a Lifetime: Studying with John Rawls

– Amy Gutmann, "The Privilege of a Lifetime: Studying with John Rawls," Princeton Independent, January 29, 2003.
Excerpt: Is justice possible in light of the apparent evil in the world? This question animated John Rawls’s passion for philosophy back when he was a Princeton undergraduate and graduate student. I recently learned this by reading his student files… More

The Economist Obituary

The Economist, December 5, 2002.
WHEN young, John Rawls was a talented athlete. Instead of becoming one of America’s most distinguished political thinkers, he could have been a baseball player. Thin, quick and gangly, he would have made a perfect third baseman, a position requiring… More

The Academic Liberal

– Peter Berkowitz, "The Academic Liberal," The Weekly Standard, December 16, 2002.
Excerpt: The influence of Rawls’s work has been massive. One quickly saw professors doing nothing but elaborating or applying ideas from Rawls’s theory. And those who did not occupy themselves with criticizing Rawls–those who attempted… More

Making Philosophy Matter to Politics

– Martha Nussbaum,“Making Philosophy Matter to Politics,” New York Times, December 2, 2002
Excerpt: John Rawls, who died last week at the age of 82, was the most distinguished political philosopher of the 20th century. His is not a household name, in part because he disliked publicity. Yet, to a great degree, it is thanks to John Rawls that… More

Bringing Logic to Bear on Liberal Dogma

– Michael M. Weinstein,“Bringing Logic to Bear on Liberal Dogma,” New York Times, December 1, 2002.
Excerpt: THE most influential political philosopher of his generation died last week. But Prof. John Rawls of Harvard, who was 82, was decidedly not a man of the current era. At least not in the United States. In Britain and Canada, where the nature of… More

The Guardian Obituary

The Guardian, November 27, 2002.
With the death of John Rawls, from heart failure at the age of 81, the English-speaking world lost its leading political philosopher. An exceptionally modest and retiring man, with a bat-like horror of the limelight, he consistently refused the honours he was… More

John Rawls, Theorist on Justice, Is Dead at 82

– Douglas Martin, "John Rawls, Theorist on Justice, Is Dead at 82," New York Times, November 26, 2002.
Excerpt: John Rawls, the American political theorist whose work gave new meaning and resonance to the concepts of justice and liberalism, died on Sunday at his home in Lexington, Mass. He was 82. The cause was heart failure, his wife, Margaret, said. She said… More

New York Times Obituary

New York Times, November 26, 2002.
John Rawls, the American political theorist whose work gave new meaning and resonance to the concepts of justice and liberalism, died on Sunday at his home in Lexington, Mass. He was 82. The cause was heart failure, his wife, Margaret, said. She said he had… More

John Rawls, Historian

– Michael Zuckert, "John Rawls, Historian," Claremont Review of Books, Summer, 2002.

Dangerous Egalitarian Dreams

– John Kekes, "Dangerous Egalitarian Dreams," City Journal, Autumn 2001.
Excerpt: The most celebrated public philosophers of our time—our Rousseau and Voltaire, so to speak—are John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin. Prophets of a non-Marxist socialism, they provide the rationale for the domestic agenda of the left wing of the… More

The Enduring Significance of John Rawls

– Martha Nussbaum,“The Enduring Significance of John Rawls,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 2001.
Excerpt: John Rawls is the most distinguished moral and political philosopher of our age. Initially isolated in a world of Anglo-American philosophy preoccupied with questions of logic and language, Rawls played a major role in reviving an interest in the… More

Natural Law and Public Reason

– Robert P. George and Christopher Wolfe, “Natural Law and Public Reason,” in Robert P. George and Christopher Wolfe, eds., Natural Law and Public Reason (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2000).

The Idea of a Political Liberalism: Essays on Rawls

– Victoria Davion and Clark Wolf, eds., The Idea of a Political Liberalism: Essays on Rawls (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999).
From the publisher: “In this unique volume, some of today’s most eminent political philosophers examine the thought of John Rawls, focusing in particular on his most recent work. These original essays explore diverse issues, including the problem… More

Justice and Justification

– Norman Daniels, Justice and Justification (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
From the publisher: This wide-ranging collection of essays explores the claim that justification in ethics, whether of matters of theory or practice, involves achieving coherence or “reflective equilibrium” (as Rawls has called it) between our… More

John Rawls et la Theorie de la Justice

– Jacques Bidet, John Rawls et la Theorie de la Justice (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1995).
This book was important in introducing Rawls, a thinker squarely in the Anglo-American tradition, to the Francophone world.

Political Liberalism

– Michael Sandel, “Political Liberalism,” Harvard Law Review 107 (1994).

Political Liberalisms

– Bruce Ackerman, “Political Liberalisms,” The Journal of Philosophy 91 (7) (July 1994).

Justice Lite

– Robert Bork, “Justice Lite,” First Things 37 (November 1993).

Rawls: A Theory of Justice and Its Critics

– Chandran Kukathas and Pettit Philip, eds., Rawls: A Theory of Justice and Its Critics (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990).
From the publisher: John Rawls’ “A Theory of Justice” has been influential in philosophy, political theory, welfare economics and jurisprudence. This book is thought to be the first full-length study of Rawls’ work. It provides a… More

Realizing Rawls

Thomas Pogge, Realizing Rawls (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989).

The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy

– Richard Rorty, "The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy," in Merrill Peterson and Robert Vaughn, eds., The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

Rawls and Rights

– Rex Martin, Rawls and Rights, (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1985).

John Rawls

– Alan Ryan, “John Rawls,” in Quentin Skinner, ed., The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 1985).
From the Publisher: The past quarter of a century has seen dramatic developments in social and political thought. These essays offer an indispensable introduction to some of the most influential amongst them. Quentin Skinner’s Introduction traces broad… More

Defending Liberalism

– William Galston, “Defending Liberalism,” American Political Science Review 76 (September 1982).

Liberalism and the Limits of Justice by Michael Sandel

– Michael Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1982; second edition, 1998).
From the publisher: A liberal society seeks not to impose a single way of life, but to leave its citizens as free as possible to choose their own values and ends. It therefore must govern by principles of justice that do not presuppose any particular vision… More

Equality of What?

– Amartya Sen, "Equality of What?" Tanner Lecture on Human Values, May 22, 1979.

Understanding Rawls

– Robert Paul Wolff, Understanding Rawls (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977).
According to Professor Wolff, Rawls’ device of a bargaining game among self-interested parties is designed to solve Kant’s problem of deriving substantive moral and political principles from purely formal criteria of rationality. This book traces the… More

Rawls, Nozick, and Educational Equality by James Coleman

– James Coleman, "Rawls, Nozick, and Educational Equality," The Public Interest, Spring: 1976.
Excerpt: Two recent treatises on moral philosophy have attracted far more general attention than is ordinarily given to works in academic philosophy: A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls, and Anarchy, State, and Utopia, by Robert Nozick. Together, they… More

Rawls on Justice by Victor Gourevitch

– Victor Gourevitch, “Rawls on Justice,” The Review of Metaphysics 28 (1975).
Victor Gourevitch examines Rawls’ concept of justice and compares it to other understandings in the history of political philosophy.

Distributive Justice

– Robert Nozick, “Distributive Justice,” in his Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974).

Rawls on Justice

– Thomas Nagel, “Rawls on Justice,” Philosophical Review 87 (April 1973).

The Original Position

– Ronald Dworkin, “The Original Position,” University of Chicago Law Review 40 (Spring 1973).

A New Philosophy of the Just Society

– Stuart Hampshire, "A New Philosophy of the Just Society," New York Review of Books, February 24, 1972.
Excerpt: I think that this book is the most substantial and interesting contribution to moral philosophy since the war, at least if one thinks only of works written in English. It is a very persuasive book, being very well argued and carefully composed, with… More