This book originated as lectures for a course on political
philosophy that Rawls taught regularly at Harvard in the 1980s. In
time the lectures became a restatement of his theory of justice as
fairness, revised in light of his more recent papers and his
treatise "Political Liberalism" (1993). As Rawls writes in the
preface, the restatement presents "in one place an account of
justice as fairness as I now see it, drawing on all my previous]
works." He offers a broad overview of his main lines of thought and
also explores specific issues never before addressed in any of his
Rawls is well aware that since the publication of "A Theory of
Justice" in 1971, American society has moved farther away from the
idea of justice as fairness. Yet his ideas retain their power and
relevance to debates in a pluralistic society about the meaning and
theoretical viability of liberalism. This book demonstrates that
moral clarity can be achieved even when a collective commitment to
justice is uncertain.
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