Rawls, the Well-Ordered Society and Intergenerational Justice



This article outlines the contribution Rawls's ‘well-ordered society’ makes to the ongoing discourse of intergenerational justice. Can Rawls's ‘realistically utopian’ vision of a well-ordered society, a society comprising just institutions that embody the goods of liberty and individual self-authorship of the good life, secure justice between the generations? By considering the totality of the Rawlsian project rather than specific sections of his work such as his ‘just savings principle’, it is possible to assess the ability of ideal liberal theory to guarantee the rights of future citizens while simultaneously addressing pressing environmental crises, the most notable of which being climate change.