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  • John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University and the Fulbright Fellowship at Christ Church, Oxford. Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls's work "helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself." His magnum opus, A Theory of Justice, was said at the time of its publication to be "the most important work in moral philosophy since the end of World War II" and is now regarded as "one of the primary texts in political philosophy". His work in political philosophy, dubbed Rawlsianism, takes as its starting point the argument that "the most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position". Rawls employs a number of thought experiments—including the famous veil of ignorance—to determine what constitutes a fair agreement in which "everyone is impartially situated as equals," in order to determine principles of social justice.

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Year Award category Award winner Winning work Ceremony Achievement level Notes/Description
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  • Philosophy

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