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Gwybodaeth Lyfryddol
Political Philosophy Now: John Rawls - Towards a Just World Order
Patrick Hayden
ISBN: 9780708317280 (0708317286)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Ebrill 2002
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, Caerdydd
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 216x138 mm, 220 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Allan o Stoc - Archebir yn l y galw Ein Pris: £19.99 
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Astudiaeth feirniadol o waith damcaniaethwr ac athronydd gwleidyddol pwysig, yn adlewyrchu ei gyfraniad sylweddol i ddadleuon ar gyfiawnder rhyngwladol a hawliau dynol.

A critical study of the work of an influential political theorist and philosopher, reflecting his substantial contribution to debates on international justice and human rights.
John Rawls's A theory of justice, which was first published in 1971, is, arguably, one of the most widely read and most influential works on political philosophy that has appeared since the end of the Second World War. It is devoted to analysing and commending what he terms ‘justice as fairness'. In the tradition of social contract theory, Rawls invites us to consider what principle or set of principles we would choose to be governed by if we were to choose behind a 'veil of ignorance', not knowing what our social, economic or cultural position would be.

Rawls suggests that we would, as rational persons, choose the principles that embody his conception of 'justice as fairness’. In the first place we would choose the maximum degree of liberty of action consistent with all other members enjoying the same degree of liberty. In the second place we would choose an equal distribution of goods and benefits and that would admit of only one exception. An exception to the principle of equality would be allowed if it could be shown to be to the benefit of the least advantaged members of society. These are the principles of political liberalism that Rawls believes a rational person would and should choose to be governed by.

Patrick Hayden, who is Professor of Political Philosophy at Northern State University, has written a critique which is largely sympathetic to Rawls's approach to analysing the nature of justice. His book falls into two parts: the first part sets out in clear, accessible terms, the main features of Rawls's treatment of 'justice as fairness' as far as the internal or domestic needs of a sovereign, nation state are concerned. He charts the respects in which Rawls modifies his position in later works, notably Political liberalism (1996) and The Law of Peoples (1999) and he defends Rawls against his critics. In the latter half of the book Hayden criticises Rawls quite sharply for failing to apply the principles of justice which characterise justice on the domestic scene with sufficient rigour to the relations between persons on the international scene. In Hayden's view, Rawls is too ready to accommodate his treatment to the tradition of the law of nations which centres on relations between sovereign nation states. Hayden wants justice on an international plane to be conceived in terms of relationships, not between states, but between persons, establishing a cosmopolitan sense of justice embodying a fully-fledged body of rights attributable to persons as persons. In these respects Hayden is more Rawlsian than Rawls himself.

For those with a relish for a neo-Kantian approach to the problems of philosophy drawing political prescriptions from an abstract, utopian vision of harmony between persons and peoples, Hayden offers a more rigorous application than Rawls himself of what had come to be regarded as one of the challenging statements of a philosophical defence of the leading principles of political liberalism.

D.O. Thomas

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio’r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatad Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Gwybodaeth Bellach:
John Rawls: Towards a Just World Order
Patrick Hayden
pp 211 April 2002
paperback £14.99 ISBN 0-7083-1728-6
hardback £30.00 ISBN 0-7083-1729-4
Since
the publication of A Theory of Justice (1971), John Rawls has been viewed as one of the
most important political theorists of the twentieth century. In John
Rawls: Towards a Just World Order, Patrick Hayden discusses Rawls’s views
regarding the nature of social justice among states. He examines Rawls’s
most important writings in order to assess how adequately his theory of justice
is able to accommodate claims to universal human rights and shows how Rawls’s
work can contribute to the construction of a cosmopolitan approach to issues of
international justice.
Beginning
with Rawls’s attempt to develop an account of international justice and human
rights that is consistent with his earlier theory of justice as fairness, Hayden
then offers a critical examination of Rawls’s political philosophy and
international thought which argues for a cosmopolitan variation on Rawls’s
‘law of peoples’. John Rawls: Towards
a Just World Order is a concise and detailed analysis of one of the foremost
political philosophers of our time that demonstrates the importance of Rawls’s
work for contemporary debates regarding international relations, world politics
and human rights.
Patrick
Hayden is
Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern State University. He is the
author of Multiplicity and Becoming: The
Pluralist Empiricism of Gilles Deleuze (1998), the editor of The Philosophy of Human Rights (2001) and has published widely on
contemporary philosophy, human rights and the work of John Rawls.
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