- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2002

BOSTON (AP) Harvard University yesterday announced that it had lost two of its most prominent names with the death of one of the last century's most important political theorists and the retirement of its law school dean.
John Rawls, a giant of 20th-century philosophy who revived the study of ethics and became an intellectual hero of liberalism, died Sunday at age 81 of heart failure at his home in Lexington, the university said in a statement yesterday.
Mr. Rawls, who won the rare title of "university professor," had suffered a series of debilitating strokes starting in the mid-1990s, although he continued publishing until last year.
He is best known for his 1971 book, "A Theory of Justice," which revived, in the field of academic philosophy, the idea of government as a social contract that entitles each person to certain equal rights. Mr. Rawls' basic argument was that unequal social arrangements would not be accepted if the best-off did not know whether they might find themselves in the place of the worst-off.
"He combined profound wisdom with equally profound humanity," Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers said. "Few if any modern philosophers have had as decisive an impact on how we think about justice. Scholars in many different fields will continue to learn from him for generations to come."
Also yesterday, Harvard Law School Dean Robert C. Clark, who presided over a major reorganization of the student body, said he would step down at the end of the academic year.
Mr. Clark, a corporate law scholar and dean since 1989, said he planned to return to the school's faculty after a sabbatical.
Mr. Clark, 58, oversaw an overhaul at the school, reshaping the student body into seven groups of roughly 80 students each. He also led a $183 million fund-raising campaign, completed in 1995.
"The Law School has flourished under Bob Clark's outstanding leadership," Mr. Summers said in a statement, adding that he would appoint a faculty group to advise him on a successor.

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