John Bordley Rawls has conducted a number of thought experiments related to determining principles of social justice. He is considered one of the leading thinkers in the tradition of liberal political philosophy.
Rawls was born in Baltimore, Maryland to William Lee Rawls and Anna Abell Stump. He spent his early childhood in Baltimore and went to school there before being transferred to Kent School. With his father a well-known lawyer and his mother a chapter president of the League of Women Voters, Rawls had a strong inclination towards education and it became evident that he would enter a scholarly field. Rawls first went to Princeton to study and after graduating in 1939 he became a member of the Ivy Club. At Princeton, he developed major interest in theology and its doctrines. In 1943, after completing a bachelor’s degree in Arts, he joined the Army. He had his first professorial responsibilities at Cornell and MIT. In 1962 he became a faculty member at Harvard, where his teaching tenure lasted for more than thirty years.With such a family background, Rawls’s adult life was a scholarly one with the major portion spent on his writings. However, during this period he also witnessed World War II and the Vietnam conflict which had a deep influence on him. During World War II, he was appointed as a soldier in the Pacific, where he visited the Philippines and Japan. After witnessing the effects of the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima, Rawls decided to quit the army in 1946. He had a strong faith in Christianity and wanted to study priesthood but, after witnessing Holocaust, his faith weakened. The Vietnam conflict compelled Rawls to identify the defects in the political system of the US. He considered the war to be unjust and conveyed as to how citizens could have no say in the government’s aggressive policies. Rawls was married to Margaret Fox in 1949, who was a Brown University graduate.Overview of Rawls’ philosophy
Rawls is famous for his remarkable contributions to liberal political philosophy. His ideas have received wide appreciation. .