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A Theory of Justice (Harvard paperbacks) Paperback – 1 Jul 1971


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Product details

  • Paperback: 607 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 16th Edition edition (1 July 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674880145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674880146
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 15.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,048,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

Since it appeared in 1971, John Rawls's A Theory of Justice has become a classic. The author has now revised the original edition to clear up a number of difficulties he and others have found in the original book. Rawls aims to express an essential part of the common core of the democratic tradition--justice as fairness--and to provide an alternative to utilitarianism, which had dominated the Anglo-Saxon tradition of political thought since the 19th century. Rawls substitutes the ideal of the social contract as a more satisfactory account of the basic rights and liberties of citizens as free and equal persons. "Each person", writes Rawls, "possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override." Advancing the ideas of Rousseau, Kant, Emerson and Lincoln, Rawls's theory is as powerful today as it was when first published. --Christine Buttery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

In his magisterial new work...John Rawls draws on the most subtle techniques of contemporary analytic philosophy to provide the social contract tradition with what is, from a philosophical point of view at least, the most formidable defense it has yet received...[and] makes available the powerful intellectual resources and the comprehensive approach that have so far eluded antiutilitarians. He also makes clear how wrong it was to claim, as so many were claiming only a few years back, that systematic moral and political philosophy are dead...Whatever else may be true it is surely true that we must develop a sterner and more fastidious sense of justice. In making his peerless contribution to political theory, John Rawls has made a unique contribution to this urgent task. No higher achievement is open to a scholar. -- Marshall Cohen "New York Times Book Review"

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In this introductory chapter I sketch some of the main ideas of the theory of justice I wish to develop. Read the first page
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Aljoscha on 24 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
Buyers should be advised that this edition (2005) is the reissue of the first edition (1971) of A Theory of Justice. The revised edition (1999) A Theory of Justice Rev (Paper) (Belknap) is shorter. If you read Theory of Jutice for a course, I'd ask the lecturer which edition you should buy. On the one hand, a lot of the secondary literature will refer to the 1971 edition (basically everything written between 1971 and 1998--note that the revised edition includes a conversion table). On the other hand, the 1999 edition reflects Rawls' thought at the time slightly more faithfully (still: to understand Rawls' later work, one needs to read his Political Liberalism (John Dewey Essays in Philosophy) and, perhaps, also his (2001) Justice as Fairness: A Restatement).

Theory of Justice itself has become a classic and is quite beyond an Amazon rating. Anyone interested in political philosophy should read it--whether you agree with its thesis or not is an entirely different question.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Feb 1998
Format: Paperback
Rawls exposition is clear; He defines Justice as the first virtue of society, and then defines Justice as Fairness, and proceeds from there to a description of a set of formally fair procedures for constructing a just society. Chief among those is his doctrine of "The Original Position", i.e. the situation in which a person takes no thought for personal advantage, including one's own in-born abilities, and then attempts to construct an ethical framework to guide the constitution of society. Although the work is vague, it is because he necessarily works at a very high level of abstraction. I also believe his work is -wrong- (because I think valuing human life is the first virtue of human society, not justice), but it is the clearest description of Kantian analytic social theory ever presented. As such, if it -is- wrong, it is because analytic social theories are wrong as a class, not because Rawls made mistakes. A very good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oisin Mc Namara on 4 Dec 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book provokes a great discussion on the what the nature of justice may be. Proposing an egalitarian distributive model of justice and of human goods that has and will continue to inspire. Striking at the roots of the very concept of justice, Rawls provokes deep thoughts and great discussions.
This book as one of the most prevailing contemporary work on the ethics of justice is one that should be read by anybody who has an interest in philosophy, law, politics, sociology and history. However these are but a few disciplines that this book speaks to, as it has such a wide relevance across so many disciplines that 'A Theory of Justice' is a book for the ages. Even if it is for no more than something to talk about over a pint or a cup of tea this this book will come in useful.
A must if you want to know anything, this book will do the job and change your life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. MOHAMADI on 22 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
A classic! If you are going to read only one book in political philosophy read this one and its revised version. John Rawls's conception of social justice of course is yet to be fully appreciated ( although over 5000 academic papers were published on the themes introduced in this book in the first few years following its publication). Some commentators have placed him next to Aristotle and John Locke and if you like to know why find your answer in a close reading of this marvellous treasure. Some have gone further and suggested for centuries to come the world won't see another great philosopher at his stand. You won't be surprised if you read this book for yourself and find out why there is so much emphasis on this book and its relation to political philosophy and Jurisprudence at present. John Rawls himself was surprised by the huge public reaction and the ever- increased interest generated following the publication of this book considering he was relatively unknown at the time and the discipline of political philosophy was pronounced dead by some of the greatest minds on earth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Saulmarged on 4 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was delivered more speedily than I had expected. It was in excellent condition and I have already started to read it. My first excursion into philosophy and I'm enjoying this book.
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By Paul Caden on 9 Dec 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Misses liked this book thanks for the prompt service. I would recommend your services and look forward to using you again.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By NA Choudhury on 28 Sep 2000
Format: Paperback
John Rawls was deservingly noted for his contributions to philosophy with the National Humanities Medal in 1999. This remarkable book examines justice in society through the prisms of utilitarianism and social contract theory: evaluating the two it clearly argues for the recognition of "individual" experience. It is drawn from journal essays written over a number of years, and is divided into three parts: Theory, Institutions, and Endsthink. This revised edition is one of the most substantial contributions to moral philosophy of the past few decades. It is a very persuasive book, being very well argued and carefully composed, with possible objections and counterarguments fairly weighed and considered: at the same time it conveys a moral vision and a ruling idea, maintaining the strongly marked personal attitude to experience. Although the book is firmly within the traditions of analytical philosophy, and has the virtues of this genre, there is no pretense of a degree of precision that the subject matter does not admit.
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