This last book by the late John Rawls, derived from written lectures and notes for his long-running course on modern political philosophy, offers readers an account of the liberal political tradition from a scholar viewed by many as the greatest contemporary exponent of the philosophy behind that tradition.
Rawls's goal in the lectures was, he wrote, "to identify the more central features of liberalism as expressing a political conception of justice when liberalism is viewed from within the tradition of democratic constitutionalism." He does this by looking at several strands that make up the liberal and democratic constitutional traditions, and at the historical figures who best represent these strands--among them the contractarians Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau; the utilitarians Hume, Sidgwick, and J. S. Mill; and Marx regarded as a critic of liberalism. Rawls's lectures on Bishop Joseph Butler also are included in an appendix. Constantly revised and refined over three decades, Rawls's lectures on these figures reflect his developing and changing views on the history of liberalism and democracy--as well as how he saw his own work in relation to those traditions.
With its clear and careful analyses of the doctrine of the social contract, utilitarianism, and socialism--and of their most influential proponents--this volume has a critical place in the traditions it expounds. Marked by Rawls's characteristic patience and curiosity, and scrupulously edited by his student and teaching assistant, Samuel Freeman, these lectures are a fitting final addition to his oeuvre, and to the history of political philosophy as well.
John Rawls was James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University. He was recipient of the 1999 National Humanities Medal. Samuel Freeman is Professor of Philosophy and Law, University of Pennsylvania.
Editor's Foreword Introductory Remarks Texts Cited Introduction: Remarks on Political Philosophy Lectures on Hobbes Lecture I: Hobbes's Secular Moralism and the Role of His Social Contract Lecture II: Human Nature and the State of Nature Lecture III: Hobbes's Account of Practical Reasoning Lecture IV: The Role and Powers of the Sovereign Appendix: Hobbes Index Lectures on Locke Lecture I: His Doctrine of Natural Law Lecture II: His Account of a Legitimate Regime Lecture III: Property and the Class State Lectures on Hume Lecture I: "Of the Original Contract" Lecture II: Utility, Justice, and the Judicious Spectator Lectures on Rousseau Lecture I: The Social Contract: Its Problem Lecture II: The Social Contract: Assumptions and the General Will (I) Lecture III: The General Will (II) and the Question of Stability Lectures on Mill Lecture I: His Conception of Utility Lecture II: His Account of Justice Lecture III: The Principle of Liberty Lecture IV: His Doctrine as a Whole Appendix: Remarks on Mill's Social Theory Lectures on Marx Lecture I: His View of Capitalism as a Social System Lecture II: His Conception of Right and Justice Lecture III: His Ideal: A Society of Freely Associated Producers APPENDIXES Four Lectures on Henry Sidgwick Lecture I: Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics Lecture II: Sidgwick on Justice and on the Classical Principle of Utility Lecture III: Sidgwick's Utilitarianism Lecture IV: Summary of Utilitarianism Five Lectures on Joseph Butler Lecture I: The Moral Constitution of Human Nature Lecture II: The Nature and Authority of Conscience Lecture III: The Economy of the Passions Lecture IV: Butler's Argument against Egoism Lecture V: Supposed Conflict between Conscience and Self-Love Appendix: Additional Notes on Butler Course Outline Index