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Volume 47 • Number 1

January 2010



Recent Work on Rawls 's Law of Peoples: Critics versus Defenders

by Gillian Brock

There is much current and growing interest in theorizing about global justice. Contemporary events in the world probably account for most of this, but if any philosophical text can be identified as igniting theorists' relatively newly found interest, it must be John Rawls's influential book, The Law of Peoples (1999). There is a lively debate between critics and advocates of Rawls's approach, and much theorizing about global justice is framed in terms of that exchange. Because of its enormous influence in shaping the terms of discussion, familiarity with this work is important for being able to participate in the current theoretical conversations about global justice. In this article I examine that debate and assess the state of play. I briefly outline the central themes of Law of Peoples in section 2 and criticism these ideas attracted in 3. In section 4 I cover some defenses of Rawls's account. In section 5, I assess the state of play and implications for debates about global justice.

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ISSN: 2152-1123