Dear Dr. Rawls,
Thank you for your MS “A Theory of Justice”, submitted to Philosophy of Politics Review on 07/02/71.
It contained some lively ideas and interpretations, although at times the dryness of the prose took away in enthusiasm what it may have granted in clarity. I read it with some interest, though I’m afraid to say I found myself dissatisfied.
Your insistence on the separateness of persons assumes, without sufficient warrant, too Kantian a basis. The majority of Utilitarian theorists working in the field will be unmoved by this premise. As for your attempt to revive social contract theory via a model of hypothetical agreement, I cannot see this gaining any traction with other researchers: to turn a phrase, a hypothetical contract isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on. Finally, there is a distinct lack of engagement with relevant scholarship in the field. As far as I can see you do not refer to the work of a single living author in the main body of the text, whilst your footnote references to Sidgwick’s The Methods of Ethics are excessive and disproportionate vis-à-vis contemporary output. Surely something published within the last 5 or 10 years is worthy of direct consideration?
I therefore regret to inform you that the Journal will not be proceeding with publication. I hope this does not deter you from considering us as forum for your research in future.