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John Rawls

November 25th, 2002 · No Comments

An announcement on the Harvard philosophy department page notes that philosopher John Rawls died Sunday. Perhaps this is unusual for someone with my political position, but I was very much influenced by Rawls — perhaps almost as much as by his antithesis, Robert Nozick, who we lost a little less than a year ago. Rawls’s Theory of Justice sparked one renaissance in political philosophy, and his Political Liberalism launched what I see as a healthy, “postmetaphysical” conversation in the same field. In other words, he wrote two major books, and each one revolutionized his discipline. This is a tremendous loss that should be mourned by people of all perspectives.

Update: The obituaries are appearing, and the best so far is, unsurprisingly, in the Harvard Crimson. Jacob Levy has an excellent reflection on Rawls.

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