An introduction to one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century.
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. Catherine Audard introduces his central ideas and examines their contribution to contemporary political thought. Audard begins with an exploration of Rawls' conception of political and social justice and its justification as presented in his groundbreaking A Theory of Justice. She provides a sustained examination of Rawls' moral philosophy, the complex relation between Rawls' views and utilitarianism, and his most famous concept, the Original Position Device. She concludes with an analysis of Rawls' more practical concerns for stability and political consensus, citizenship and international justice, showing the continuity between these concerns and his earlier work. John Rawls places the philosopher's ideas within an historical context and provides an interpretative and critical framework that will help shape ongoing debates surrounding Rawls' work.