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John Rawls [Paperback]

Catherine Audard

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Book Description

Feb. 8 2007 Philosophy Now (Book 10)
John Rawls (1921-2002) is one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. Contemporary political philosophy has been reshaped by his seminal ideas and most current work in the discipline is a response to them. This book introduces his central ideas and examines their contribution to contemporary political thought. In the first part of the book Catherine Audard focuses on Rawls' conception of political and social justice and its justification as presented in his groundbreaking A Theory of Justice. This includes sustained examination of Rawls' moral philosophy and its core thesis, the primacy of justice, the complex relation between Rawls' views and utilitarianism, and his most famous concept, the Original Position Device. In the second half of the book, Audard explores Rawls' more practical concerns for stability and political consensus, citizenship and international justice, and shows the continuity between these concerns and his earlier work. Throughout, Audard contextualizes Rawls' ideas by giving a sense of their historical development, which underlines the intellectual cohesion of his thought. The move between ethics and politics so characteristic of Rawls' work, and which makes for the richness of his philosophy, is shown to also create for it significant problems. John Rawls combines clear exposition with insightful analysis and provides an interpretative and critical framework that will help shape ongoing debates surrounding Rawls' work.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Review

"Audard's book offers a concise reading of John Rawls's political philosophy. It is all at once instructive, pedagogical, provocative, and well informed... it will play an important role in the future for Rawls scholarship and must be taken very seriously by all Rawlsian scholars." - Ethics "An impressive book, written by someone who has an extensive and deep appreciation of Rawls' work. It offers a nuanced discussion of his central ideas, proceeding nicely from a discussion of A Theory of Justice through to Rawls' account of international political morality." - Matthew Clayton, University of Warwick --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Catherine Audard is a visiting fellow, philosophy, the London School of Economics.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good intro to Rawls Aug. 26 2007
By AdamZach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For anyone looking for an accessible and solid introduction to
Rawls's work, this a good place to start. Audard explains clearly
some of Rawls's keys ideas, and some of her criticisms of those
ideas and possible responses to them are useful.
However, there are parts when Audard's setting up of criticisms
and leaving them dangling without seeing how Rawls's ideas could
counter them do seem contrived. Often the method here is to claim
that Ralws overlooked a point and that he did not formulate a response
clearly enough. Perhaps there may be some truth in these claims, but
a close reading of Rawls's texts may show that in many cases he did respond.
The point here is that Audard is not sympathetic enough to Rawls ideas
to be able to see the depth and subtlety in many of his notions and his
defence of them. Perhaps Samuel Freeman's new book on Rawls may fill that
gap.

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