Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 1, Issue 3, 2001

The Philosophy of John Rawls

Jonathan Wolff
Pages 347-361

John Rawls
Liberal Democracy Restated

The paper starts with brief biographical details of John Rawls’s life, and indications regarding the significance of his proposal. The most relevant part of the article is dedicated to the discussion of the concept of democracy as it is included in Rawls’s theory of Justice. Rawls tries to find a solution to the incompatibility of two different motivations for democracy: the instrumental and the intrinsic defence. It follows from Rawls’s proposal that the two defences need not necessarily to be incompatible. Participation in public decision procedures helps citizens to improve their capacities. According to the author of the paper, the main criticisms of Rawls come not so much from doubts about the validity of these arguments, but from questioning the realism of his proposals.