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11-04-2021 | Culture and Society | Issue 1/2021

Society 1/2021

Commentary Celebrating the Centenary of Rawls’s Birth and the 50th Anniversary of A Theory of Justice

Journal:
Society > Issue 1/2021
Author:
Johnny Lyons
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Abstract

This essay seeks to get a handle on the question of the legacy of John Rawls, one of the most influential political philosophers of the last century. After placing his masterpiece, A Theory of Justice, in its historical and philosophical context, it argues that the enduring significance of Rawls resides more in his demonstration of philosophy’s place in helping us understand politics and less in the particular conception of political morality put forward in his seminal work. The paper concludes by suggesting that, while it is probably still too early to arrive at a reliable verdict about the precise nature of Rawls’s legacy, it is undoubtedly the case that A Theory of Justice remains a landmark in the history of modern political thought.

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