Dalhousie Law Journal


Theory of Justice, social contract, utilitarianism


In A Theory of Justice John Rawls constructs a comprehensive social contract theory of justice to stand as a substantive alternative to utilitarianism. This work combines and develops the ideas of earlier essays, such as "Justice as Fairness" (1958), "The Sense of Justice" (1963), "Constitutional Liberty" (1963) and "Civil Disobedience" (1966), into a systematic moral and political philosophy of astonishing power and subtlety. I shall sketch its main principles, their derivation and justification, and then raise some questions about the supposed opposition between the standards of justice and utility.

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