The philosophical interest of John Rawls' recently rediscovered senior thesis, completed just before he shipped out for the Pacific in 1942, cannot be separated from our knowledge of Rawls' later work - but his defining intellectual quality and moral motivation are already visible in his defense of a conception of faith as membership with all other persons in a spiritual community with one another and with God. Much modern philosophy defined itself against religion, yet Christian beliefs give the basic structure to Rawls' Theory of Justice. The notion of the 'veil of ignorance', for instance, echoes Jesus' teaching that we must behave well even to the least of our brothers and sisters. His philosophy is deeply resonant of a Protestant Christianity that features the deepest sense of the value of the individual. In addition to the thesis and 'On My Religion', a statement written for Rawls' family in his last decade of writing that reflects his ongoing engagement in theological thought, this book includes a philosophical introduction by Thomas Nagel and Joshua Cohen and a theological commentary by Robert Merrihew Adams.
Publisher: Harvard University Press