John Rawls

No contemporary philosopher has had more influence on political philosophy than John Rawls. With A Theory of Justice, published in 1971, Rawls both reinvigorated the then-moribund discipline and provided the theory to which nearly everything that followed was a response.

While most libertarians disagree with the core positions Rawls set out, some have argued that his ideas are in fact quite compatible with libertarian policies. Regardless of his compatibility with libertarianism, however, John Rawls is a massively influential thinker—and one any student of liberty should be familiar with.


A (Revised) Theory of Justice

by Brian Kogelmann on Jun 6, 2013

The classic argument John Rawls sets out in A Theory of Justice provides a strong foundation for libertarianism, Kogelmann says.

Free Thoughts

Arguments for Liberty: Rawlsianism

featuring Kevin Vallier, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Jul 7, 2017

Kevin Vallier joins us to talk about his Arguments for Liberty chapter on the ethical system of John Rawls. Does Rawls have value for libertarians?


Rawls, John (1921-2002)

by Will Wilkinson on Aug 15, 2008

John Rawls was a political theorist who revived interest in the field. Though not libertarian, his work can be interpreted in support of some free-market ideas.


A Rawlsian Case for Libertarianism

by Kevin Vallier on Jan 3, 2017

The ethical system of John Rawls, properly understood, justifies libertarian political institutions.


Property is Not a Second-Class Right

by Grant Babcock on Oct 6, 2015

For libertarians, property rights are deeply linked with our rights to bodily integrity, but for leftists, property rights aren’t seen as particularly important.

Free Thoughts

Objections to Libertarianism (with Eric Mack)

featuring Aaron Ross Powell, Trevor Burrus, and Eric Mack on May 10, 2019

Eric Mack joins our show again to talk about common objections to libertarianism by dissecting John Rawls viewpoint. 


Contractarianism/Social Contract

by Jan Narveson and David Trenchard on Aug 15, 2008

One common model of state formation, the social contract consists of the voluntary exchange of protection and rights between governments and citizens.


An Introduction

by Julian Sanchez on Nov 3, 2011

Julian Sanchez discusses his perspective and philosphical interests.


Challenging Ideal Theory

by David S. D’Amato on Apr 20, 2018

“Ideal theory” political philosophy, like that of Rawls, glosses over the core problems with social democracy and other forms of statism.