Rawls on international justice: A defense

Political Theory 32 (3):291-319 (2004)
Abstract
Rawls's "The Law of Peoples" has not been well received. The first task of this essay is to draw (what the author regards as) Rawls's position out of his own text where it is imperfectly and incompletely expressed. Rawls's view, once fully and clearly presented, is less vulnerable to common criticisms than it is often taken to be. The second task of this essay is to go beyond Rawls's text to develop some supplementary lines of argument, still Rawlsian in spirit, to deflect key criticisms made by Rawls's critics. The overall defense given here of Rawls's position draws on a deep theme running throughout all of Rawls's work in political philosophy, namely, that the task of political philosophy is to mark the moral limits given by and through a common human reason, itself socially and historically achieved, within which human nature must develop (and reveal itself over time) if it is to be an expression or manifestation of human freedom
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