Rawls on Liberty and Its Priority

H. L. A. Hart

in Essays in Jurisprudence and Philosophy

Published in print November 1983 | ISBN: 9780198253884
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681431 | DOI:
Rawls on Liberty and Its Priority

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This chapter considers John Rawls' account of the relationship between justice and liberty, and in particular it looks at his idea that justice requires that liberty may only be limited for the sake of liberty and not for the sake of other social and economic advantages. It is assumed that the main features of Rawls' A Theory of Justice are familiar to most, but for those to whom it is not, an account is provided in this chapter. The chapter also describes the principle that basic liberties may be limited only for the sake of liberty. In addition, it addresses the question of whether the principle of limiting liberty only for the sake of liberty provides adequately restrictions on conduct which cause pain or unhappiness to others by methods other than by constraining liberty of action. The chapter closes by explaining a difficulty which is found in the main argument which Rawls uses to show that the priority of liberty prohibiting exchanges of liberty for economic or other social advantages must be included among the requirements of justice.

Keywords: John Rawls; liberty; justice; A Theory of Justice

Chapter.  10326 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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