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  • Book Notes
  • Andrew Colvin
The Law of Peoples: With "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited." By John Rawls. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999. Pp. viii + 199.

In the two essays contained in The Law of Peoples: With "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited," the eminent political philosopher John Rawls offers his final reflections on his conceptions of political liberalism and public reason. The first and longer of the two essays, "The Law of Peoples," is a reworked version of his 1993 Oxford Amnesty Lecture in which he extends the notion of a social contract based on public reason to the international sphere to form a Society of Peoples. The second essay, "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited," returns to the notion of public reason, the central concept of his Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). Originally published in 1997, "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited" maintains that holders of both religious and nonreligious comprehensive views can see the constraints of public reason, as developed in modern liberal constitutional democracies, as a viable model. Taken together these two essays represent, in Rawls' own words, the "culmination of [his] reflections on how reasonable citizens and peoples might live together peacefully in a just world." [End Page 396]