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McCoubrey & White's Textbook on Jurisprudence

McCoubrey & White's Textbook on Jurisprudence (5th edn)

James Penner and Emmanuel Melissaris
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date: 07 December 2023

12. John Rawls’ Political Liberalismlocked

12. John Rawls’ Political Liberalismlocked

  • J. E. PennerJ. E. PennerProfessor of Law, University College London
  •  and E. MelissarisE. MelissarisSenior Lecturer in Law, London School of Economics


This chapter explores John Rawls’s political liberalism, a contemporary reworking of the idea of the social contract and one which straddles the boundary between Hobbesian rationality and Kantian reasonableness. The discussions cover the ‘fact of reasonable pluralism’; the ‘original position’ and Rawls’s political constructivism; the principles of justice; the stability of the liberal State; the stages of application of the political conception of justice; and justice and liberal legitimacy.

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