A Theory of Justice [Book Review]

Philosophical Review 110 (3):421-424 (2001)
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A revised edition of John Rawls’s classic work A Theory of Justice has recently been published in English. The revisions appeared in the first foreign translation in 1975 and Rawls has made no further revisions to the text since that date, with the exception of a second preface, written for the French edition in 1987 and modestly revised in 1990. Changes are found on approximately 130 of the book’s 600 pages. Most are minor stylistic changes. About 25 percent of the changes made are to some extent substantive. They do not alter the presentation of the central arguments significantly, but they do introduce some important new ideas. Replacement of the original by the revised edition is, of course, somewhat inconvenient, since the voluminous literature on Rawls refers to the page numbers in the original edition. Also, the new ideas presented in the revisions are more fully developed in Rawls’s later writings. Nevertheless, the emergence of several themes may deepen our understanding of his political philosophy.



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