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John Rawls is the most important American philosopher who works with the idea of justice. Rawls departs definitively from the liberal tradition of Mill and Friedman and looks more like a democratic socialist in his understanding of justice. Rawls’s problems with justice are twofold. (1) Rawls tries for Plato-style rational legitimation of his principles of justice. In this effort, Rawls fails. (2) Rawls, like Plato, Mill and Friedman before him, is likewise a racist. Making this case about Rawls is a bit more difficult, probably because of Rawls’s intense focus on theory. Nevertheless, his focus on theory does not relieve Rawls of responsibility to confront real injustices of daily life. Rawls’s focus on theory is no excuse and, like Mill and Friedman before him, Rawls too is a racist.
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- John Rawls, American Philosopher (1921–2002)
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