THE PATH TO “A THEORY OF JUSTICE”: WORKS BY JOHN RAWLS OF THE 40s — EARLY 50s

JOHN RAWLS’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.15407/fd2022.01.023

Keywords:

John Rawls, community, disagreement, ethical principles, justice

Abstract

Over the many years that have passed since John Rawls published “A Theory of Justice” (1971), researchers have considered Rawls’s theory to be a new stage in the development of the liberal tradition of Locke and Kant. However, after Rawls’s papers were opened at the Harvard Uni- versity Archive, it became clear that this established idea is not entirely accurate. Studying Rawls’s early works, most of which are still unpublished, allowed to see more comprehensively both the stages and the features of the formation of his theory and, in general, to look at the history of the development of political philosophy in the twentieth century in a new way. The focus of this paper is on the works of Rawls, written in the 40s and the first half of the 50s. They are still poorly studied. Moreover, since we are talking about works written before Rawls’s trip to Oxford, when his “Wittgensteinian turn” (P. Mackenzie Bock) was completed, we can consider them a separate stage in the development of his thought. They are undoubtedly of interest to researchers. An anal- ysis of early works by Rawls makes it possible to see that he was beginning to form the basic concepts of the Rawlsian theory of justice even before his trip to Oxford. In these works, Rawls has not yet studied the topic of justice itself; nevertheless, they lay the foundations for the concepts of a “well-ordered society” and the “original position”, the interpretation of the circumstances of justice that we find in “A Theory of Justice”. And, although after the war Rawls renounces religion, resulting in his search for basic ethical principles of fair cooperation that can be rationally justified, he nevertheless retains in his further works a general orientation towards the social ideal, which he formed in the 40s within the tradition of neo-orthodox Protestant theology.

Author Biography

Denys Kiryukhin

Candidate of Sciences in Philosophy; Research Fellow at the Department of Social Philosophy, H.S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, NAS of Ukraine, 4, Triokhsviatytelska St., Kyiv, 01001 

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2022-04-06

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Kiryukhin, D. (2022). THE PATH TO “A THEORY OF JUSTICE”: WORKS BY JOHN RAWLS OF THE 40s — EARLY 50s: JOHN RAWLS’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY . Filosofska Dumka, (1), 23–35. https://doi.org/10.15407/fd2022.01.023

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