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on 30 December 2007
Thomas Pogge's splendid new book --John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice--presents Rawls's remarkable philosophical project accessibly without in any way sacrificing its complexity and richness. Its interesting and moving sketch of Rawls's life also situates, for the first time, his theoretical work in the context of his personal life and sustained concern about the major political problems of his time. To call this book a superb introduction Rawls's work, however, would understate its merits. Pogge is a vigorous and highly original thinker in his own right, and his treatment of topics such as the normative structure of theories of justice, the ethical importance of focusing on the basic structure of systems of social cooperation, the status of moral and political theories, and the degree of 'realism' that should be demanded of philosophical thinking about politics, are filled with fresh insights and should be read by anyone interested in reflecting philosophically on social justice. Indeed, Rawls' thought has so significantly shaped the way his philosophical peers (and heirs) conceive of their craft that Pogge's book provides an invaluable introduction to contemporary political philosophy as a whole, as well as an important contribution to it. -----Christian Barry, Australian National University----
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