No work of modern political philosophy, in any language, has generated such a enormous output of learned commentary as John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice. After some twenty years of uninterrupted critical flow, Rawls’s new book is billed as a correction of the original, in the light of subsequent discussion. Political Liberalism offers abundant— even superabundant—evidence of careful response to the reception of A Theory of Justice, in a forest of footnotes to different readings of it. But the attention proves selective, and the result disconcerting.
Rawls’s pristine theory argued for two fundamental principles of justice: first, equal political rights and liberties for all; and second, only such social ...
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