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.


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 been incapacitated in varying degrees since suffering a stroke in 1995.

The publication of his book “A Theory of Justice” in 1971 was perceived as a watershed moment in modern philosophy and came at a time of furious national debate over the Vietnam War and the fight for racial equality. Not only did it veer from the main current of philosophical thought, which was then logic and linguistic analysis, it also stimulated a revival of attention to moral philosophy. Dr. Rawls made a sophisticated argument for a new concept of justice, based on simple fairness.

New York Times