`This text provides an up to date account of how things currently stand in political philosophy, and will provide an excellent introduction for students from any background. It gives a lucid and careful account of the central controversies and sites of disagreement in political theory over the last thirty years and rather than sacrifice theoretical sophistication and nuance for the sake of clarity and accessibility, it admirably achieves both' - Catriona McKinnon, University of YorkThis comprehensive textbook provides a complete and accessible introduction to the main theorists and issues in contemporary political theory today. The text is organized into two major parts. The first, Contemporary Liberal Theory, outlines four distinct liberal theories of justice to introduce the work of Rawls, Nozick, Gauthier and Dworkin. The second, Alternative Traditions, introduces the theorists and themes associated with four key areas of contemporary debate: communitarianism, multiculturalism, deliberative democracy and feminism. By giving students questions for consideration and using applied examples throughout, the text illustrates the practical relevance of contemporary theoretical debates to everyday issues in policy and politics. The result is an essential overview of all the main traditions, issues and positions in political theory today that will serve as an invaluable resource for all students of contemporary political theory, political ideas and political philosophy. Colin Farrelly is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory will complement Contemporary Political Theory: A Reader edited by Colin Farrelly and also published by SAGE Publications.
Chapter 1: Rawls and Justice as Fairness
Rawls and Justice as Fairness
- Introduction 3
- The Original Position 7
- Equal Opportunity 10
- Cohen on Incentives 15
- The Principles That Apply to Individuals 17
- Who are the Least Advantaged? 21
- Beitz on Global Justice 23
- A Political Conception of Justice 26
John Rawls is arguably the most important political philosopher of the twentieth century. In his two most important books, A Theory of Justice (1971)1 and Political Liberalism (1993), he defends his theory entitled ‘justice as fairness’. Justice as fairness is primarily concerned with ‘the way in which major social institutions distribute fundamental rights and duties and determine the division of advantages from social cooperation’ (Rawls, 1999: 6). As such, justice as fairness is a theory designed to apply to what Rawls calls the ‘basic structure’ – ...