Quotes & Interesting Facts – John Rawls

John Rawls was an American political philosopher in the liberal tradition. His theory of justice as fairness describes a society of free citizens holding equal basic rights and cooperating within an egalitarian economic system. His theory of political liberalism delineates the legitimate use of political power in a democracy, and envisions how civic unity might endure despite the diversity of worldviews that free institutions allow. His writings on the law of peoples set out a liberal foreign policy that aims to create a permanently peaceful and tolerant international order.

Interesting Facts About John Rawls

  • John Rawls was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to William Lee Rawls, an attorney and Anna Abell Stump Rawls.
  • He suffered from an emotional turmoil early on, when two of his brothers died in childhood due to fatal illnesses.
  • In 1943, soon after obtaining a degree in arts, he was commissioned into the United States Army.
  • He served during the World War II but left the army, after witnessing the Hiroshima bombing.
  • In 1971, he authored ‘A Theory of Justice’,  regarded as one of his most important works on political philosophy and ethics
  • He was given the National Humanities Medal by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Quotes By John Rawls

  • A just society is a society that if you knew everything about it, you’d be willing to enter it in a random place.
  • The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.
  • Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.
  • An injustice is tolerable only when it is necessary to avoid an even greater injustice.
  • It is of first importance that the military be subordinate to civilian government.
  • Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.
  • The sense of justice is continuous with the love of mankind.
  • Thus I assume that to each according to his threat advantage is not a conception of justice.
  • Many of our most serious conflicts are conflicts within ourselves. Those who suppose their judgements are always consistent are unreflective or dogmatic.
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