With the publication of his first book, A Theory of Justice ( LJ 4/1/72), Harvard philosopher Rawls catapulted himself into the first rank of contemporary political philosophers. His difficult and rewarding book offered an ingenious defense of the "social contract" as binding society together in the interests of not only justice but fairness. With Political Liberalism , his second book, Rawls responds to his critics by confronting the dilemmas inherent in developing a liberal theory of the good society that acknowledges cultural diversity and ethical pluralism. His approach is to "describe the steps whereby a constitutional consensus on certain principles of basic political rights and liberties and on democratic procedures become an overlapping consensus." Not all readers will be satisfied by his solution, but they will be dazzled by his clarity of purpose and logic. Highly recommended for academic libraries.
- Kent Worcester, Social Science Research Council, New York