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Rawls's Egalitarianism


  • Date Published: June 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108429115

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • This is a new interpretation and analysis of John Rawls's leading theory of distributive justice, which also considers the responding egalitarian theories of scholars such as Richard Arneson, G. A. Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, Martha Nussbaum, John Roemer, and Amartya Sen. Rawls's theory, Kaufman argues, sets out a normative ideal of justice that incorporates an account of the structure and character of relations that are appropriate for members of society viewed as free and equal moral beings. Forging an approach distinct amongst contemporary theories of equality, Rawls offers an alternative to egalitarian justice methodologies that aim primarily to compensate victims for undeserved bad luck. For Rawls, the values that ground the most plausible account of egalitarianism are real equality of economic opportunity combined with the guarantee of a fair distribution of social goods. Kaufman's analysis will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of political theory and political philosophy, particularly those working on justice, and on the work of John Rawls.

    • Focuses on John Rawls's contribution to egalitarian thought
    • Re-examines the central concerns of Rawls's project, which the author argues have been lost through the ensuing decades of secondary literature
    • Provides precise accounts of the principles of justice and how they work together as a unit
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Kaufman's book is an important contribution to the elaboration of Rawls's theory of distributive justice and its defense against many recent criticisms developed over the past 10–15 years. It should appeal to academic philosophers and political theorists who work on Rawls and on distributive justice more generally, including graduate students and upper level undergraduates.' Samuel Freeman, Avalon Professor of the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

    'This book reflects a deep engagement with the work of John Rawls, and it captures both the general spirit and the details of that theory better than the great majority of commentaries. The most prominent criticisms of Rawls's work - including notably those of G. A. Cohen and Amartya Sen - rely on misunderstandings of the target view, and this manuscript goes a long distance toward explaining how and why that is so. Graduate students in philosophy or political science who are writing on Rawls (or on the particular critics considered here) will do very well to read this book, regardless of whether their own work is ultimately in sympathy with Rawls's work or critical of it. Critics of Rawls would also do well to read this book, since that would enable sharper and more sympathetic treatment of Rawls's views in the presentations of their own criticisms.' Jon Garthoff, University of Tennessee

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108429115
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: democratic equality: retrieving Rawls's egalitarianism
    1. Rawls's practical conception of justice opinion, tradition and objectivity in political liberalism
    2. Stability, fit, and consensus
    3. Rawls and ethical constructivism
    4. A satisfactory minimum conception of justice reconsidering Rawls's maximin argument
    5. Cohen's ambiguities
    6. Justice as fairness and fair equality of opportunity
    7. Democratic equality
    8. Ideal theory and practical judgment
    9. Poverty, inequality, and justice.

  • Author

    Alexander Kaufman, University of Georgia
    Alexander Kaufman is Associate Professor of political science at the University of Georgia. His research explores the relation of central values of the democratic political tradition to issues in contemporary politics. His work examines the meaning and policy implications of the notions of freedom and equality that are centrally emphasized in the democratic tradition. Kaufman's research investigates these issues in the context of projects that examine the justification of the welfare state and the nature of egalitarian justice.

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