John Rawls’ Theory Justice Influence-20th Century

John Rawls’ Theory Justice Influence-20th Century

John Rawls was arguably the most fundamental political philosopher of the twentieth century. Apart his book, A Theory of Justice that he wrote in 1971 he also wrote many influential articles in 1950s and 1960s that shaped Anglo-American political and moral philosophy on substantive problems. In the book, A Theory of Justice, Rawls, articulates and defends the vision of egalitarian liberalism by revitalizing the social-contract tradition (Maffettone, 2011). Rawls contribution to justice and fairness through his theory of justice plays a critical role in shaping the political philosophy in twentieth century. In his theory, Rawls develops principles of justice to govern the modern social order. The theory goes further to establish a framework that observes and lays emphasis on the importance of the society that embraces political and personal liberties, free and equal persons, cooperative arrangements and equal opportunity that benefits many as well the marginalized people in the society. Based on the Rawls’ Theory of Justice principles, this essay holds that John Rawls Theory of Justice is widely recognized as the most influential work on the political philosophy in twentieth century. Besides, the Rawls’ work has continued to be influential in the field of economics, political science, law and ethics and it has been translated into to more than 27 languages.

From the above observations, it is evident that John Rawls is the most contemporary political philosopher of the twentieth century. According to Jerry Cohen, the Rawls’ Theory of Justice Book is the third most important book in the world after Plato’s Polietia and Hobbes’ Leviathan. This argument makes it clear that the Rawls’ justice theory is not only significant in twentieth century but also in the current century. First, this essay explain the influence of the John Rawls’ work in the 20th century in reference to the sad political philosophy that existed in the mid-20th century. This argument can be linked to the words of Isaiah Berlin in 1961 who depicted that “no commanding work of political philosophy has appeared in the 20th century” (Brooks & Nussbaum, 2015) Berlin went further to ask whether political theory still existed. The theorists appeared to have limited research in the field of philosophy and therefore, their work largely revolved around on exploring on questions such as; ‘What is right?’, ‘What is liberty?’, and ‘What is freedom?’ (Kukathas, 2013): END OF PREVIEW ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW


Brooks, T., & Nussbaum, M. (2015). Rawls’s Political Liberalism,. Columbia University Press.: New York.

Kukathas, C. (2013). John Rawls: Critical Assessments of Leading Political Philosophers. London: : Routledge.

Maffettone, S. (2011). Rawls: An Introduction, . London: : Polity.

O’Neill, M., & Williamson, T. (2012). Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Voice, P. (2011). Rawls Explained: From Fairness to Utopia. Chicago: Open Court.

Weithman, P. (2011). Why Political Liberalism? On John Rawls’s Political Turn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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