There are Peoples and There are Peoples: A Critique of Rawls' Law of Peoples

Florida Philosophical Review 1 (2):1-24 (2001)
In this paper, I aim to show that the arguments offered and conclusions at which Rawls aims in his book, The Law of Peoples, are telling as to the intellectual legitimacy of his larger theoretical project. To show this I first investigate how (1) non-liberal peoples fit within the limitations Rawls describes in The Law of Peoples and (2) how liberal peoples would react to such rules. I argue from the answers to these questions to the further conclusion that by spreading the principles and tools of A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism to the international realm some assumptions implicit in the earlier works come out more clearly. The final section of the paper analyzes some of the implications of the newly exposed assumptions for Rawls's project of liberal justice.
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