Ethics & International Affairs Volume 11 (1997): Articles: Reconstructing Rawls's "Law of Peoples" [Abstract

Dec 4, 1997

In his recent article "The Law of Peoples," John Rawls attempts to develop a theory of international justice. Paden contrasts "The Law of Peoples" with Rawls's "A Theory of Justice," reconstructing Rawls's new theory to be more consistent with the earlier work. Paden finds Rawls's new theory inadequate in its response to communitarian criticisms, those that advocate a different theory of good than that of liberal societies. Paden goes back to "A Theory of Justice" to state that all societies seek one good, that is, the protection of their just institutions. In so doing, he provides a more expansive view of the interests of societies, which, he argues, is more consistent with "A Theory of Justice" than "The Law of Peoples," yet avoids the flaws identified in the original argument.

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