Reading Rawls

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From the thread about lying about books you’ve read comes a question about books I have read:

Also, any suggestions on books by or on Rawls?

In terms of book by Rawls, the trouble is that while A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism are both great books, neither is really what I’d call a good book. They’re not fun to read and they’re not short. But if you want to read Rawls, they’re the books you have to read. There’s also Justice as Fairness: A Restatement which is short and tries to synthesize the two works.


This kind of thing, incidentally, is one reason why I’m glad I majored in philosophy in college. Other things I’m interested in, like history, I find it’s pretty feasible to learn about on my own by trying to ask people for suggestions on good books to read and so forth. But a lot of key philosophical writings are things I would find it extremely difficult to get through without teachers. The good news on the Rawls front, though, is that these days people can check out Samuel Freeman’s Rawls which is a book-length explication and defense of Rawls’ work. It came highly recommended to me, and it’s definitely what the doctor ordered. It’s not an easy read by any means, but it’s a clear presentation of the ideas and the general consensus is that it’s the best introduction to the subject available.