Why this book?
If there is a classic, great book in political philosophy that will be discussed and taught for many more years to come, alongside the iconic books of John Locke and JS Mill, then this is the one. When I studied at Oxford during the 1980s, it was near impossible to write about anything in political philosophy without referring to Rawls’ philosophy. Rawls convinced me that of all the values, justice is the most important value in life. And he provided a comprehensive answer to the intriguing question: What is justice? I engage with this book constantly, reread it and refer to its rationale in many of my writings. I keep copies of this seminal book at home and at my office. I was fortunate to meet Rawls at Tel Aviv University.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
Since it appeared in 1971, John Rawls's A Theory of Justice has become a classic. The author has now revised the original edition to clear up a number of difficulties he and others have found in the original book.
Rawls aims to express an essential part of the common core of the democratic tradition--justice as fairness--and to provide an alternative to utilitarianism, which had dominated the Anglo-Saxon tradition of political thought since the nineteenth century. Rawls substitutes the ideal of the social contract as a more satisfactory account of the basic rights and liberties of citizens as free and equal…