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Jan 23, 2017

After the Second World War, political philosophy was dead. This changed in 1971 when John Rawls published his Theory of Justice, reviving philosophy and injecting it with normative foundations. Whilst this view has subsequently been subjected to several corrective arguments, they all implicitly confirm the view that Rawls transformed political philosophy. And they also infer that Anglo-American political philosophy has been relatively static ever since. A second view, held by those interested in the broader history of the 20th century and the history of ideology, tells a by now very familiar story about post-war welfarist ideology and its crisis in the 1970s. On this view, welfarists and collectivists were overthrown by various forms of liberalism. How does the view of the 17970s as this great period of re-invention in philosophy correspond to that vision of the decade as a moment of political crisis? How, if the dominance of central liberalism now seems over, should we rethink its recent history as told in the first? In this lecture, Katrina Forrester explores these competing perspectives.