John Rawls’s Theory of Justice

  • Klaus Mathis
  • Deborah Shannon
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 84)

John Rawls’s theory of justice is an attempt to reconcile calculated self-interest with basic rights. In order to define generally consensual principles of justice, in his A Theory of Justice (1971) Rawls goes back to classical theories of the social contract. He makes reference to Locke and, most particularly, to Rousseau and Kant but not to Hobbes, whose sovereignty theory he rejects.2. However, Rawls is concerned not with the question of how to legitimize power but with how to shape a state in accordance with the principle of justice. The leitmotif of his theory is justice as fairness.


Original Position Thought Experiment Difference Principle Primary Good Basic Liberty 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Mathis
    • 1
  • Deborah Shannon
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of LucerneSwitzerland
  2. 2.NorwichUnited Kingdom

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