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.