A DEATH IN THE LIBERAL

A DEATH IN THE LIBERAL FAMILY: John Rawls died today at the age of 81. Who is John Rawls? A liberal philosopher of the highest order — here’s Jacob Levy’s take: “the sheer accomplishment of Rawls’ work is– as one of his sharpest critics, the late Robert Nozick, said quite forcefully– tremendous. Within Anglo-American philosophy ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast.

A DEATH IN THE LIBERAL FAMILY: John Rawls died today at the age of 81. Who is John Rawls? A liberal philosopher of the highest order -- here's Jacob Levy's take: "the sheer accomplishment of Rawls' work is-- as one of his sharpest critics, the late Robert Nozick, said quite forcefully-- tremendous. Within Anglo-American philosophy it renewed the sense that it was possible to engage in rigorous, serious, meaningful debate about moral and political questions. And it serves to this day as the most influential, most important critique of both aggregative-utilitarian substitutes for a theory of justice and radically-egalitarian versions of such a theory. He was, in addition, a famously effective teacher who shaped two generations of Harvard philosophers, and a gracious gentleman who sought conversation and shared intellectual progress." He will be missed.

A DEATH IN THE LIBERAL FAMILY: John Rawls died today at the age of 81. Who is John Rawls? A liberal philosopher of the highest order — here’s Jacob Levy’s take: “the sheer accomplishment of Rawls’ work is– as one of his sharpest critics, the late Robert Nozick, said quite forcefully– tremendous. Within Anglo-American philosophy it renewed the sense that it was possible to engage in rigorous, serious, meaningful debate about moral and political questions. And it serves to this day as the most influential, most important critique of both aggregative-utilitarian substitutes for a theory of justice and radically-egalitarian versions of such a theory. He was, in addition, a famously effective teacher who shaped two generations of Harvard philosophers, and a gracious gentleman who sought conversation and shared intellectual progress.” He will be missed.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner

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