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Rawls Is Given Two Awards For Book on Justice Theory


John Rawls, professor of Philosophy, received two awards this past week for his most recent book, A theory of Justice.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society gave Rawls its Ralph Waldo Emerson Award last Friday, and he New York Times Book Review named Rawls's work one of the "Five Significant Books of 1972" in last Sunday's edition.

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award is given in recognition of "interpretive syntheses that carry forward the great tradition of human learning," a Harvard University Press spokesman said yesterday.

"My award means that people recognize that those in my subject are doing important things," Rawls said yesterday.

He said that his work, which is a reevaluation of moral philosophy, took "a traditional point of view and updated it."

"I may be the first philosopher to get it (the Emerson Award)," he added.

The New York Times Book Review listed Rawls's book as one of "particular important and excellence," and called it "a magisterial exercise in 'moral geometry.'"

The Times said that "Rawls's arguments are persuasive; its political implications may change our lives."

Rawls said, however, "I am not sure that views of this kind can have an effect."

"I am pessimistic of philosophy's influence," he said.

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