John Rawls

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John Bordley Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard. His magnum opus, A Theory of Justice (1971), is now regarded as "one of the primary texts in political philosophy."[1] His work in political philosophy, dubbed Rawlsianism,[2] takes as its starting point the argument that "most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position."[1] Rawls employs a number of thought experiments—including the famous veil of ignorance—to determine what constitutes a fair agreement in which "everyone is impartially situated as equals," in order to determine principles of social justice.[1] He is one of the major thinkers in the tradition of liberal political philosophy.

Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls' work "helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself."[3]

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