THE PREGNANCY that preceded the birth of this book was so long – more than thirty years – that no brief list of acknowledgments could be adequate. I had started to think about some of these problems when I was a graduate student, and had occasion to think further about guilt and justice when I worked as an interrogator for U.S. Military Intelligence in an old German penitentiary in the Rhineland in the spring of 1945. In the fall of 1947 I started teaching social philosophy at Princeton, and in 1952, during my first leave of absence, I actually started writing a book with the title “Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” But I abandoned that for other projects and have made no use here of that manuscript.
In the 1960s I began to present my doubts about justice in various forms to different audiences. On Law Day, May 1, 1965, at the University of Pennsylvania, Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke after me and sat next to me during the panel discussion that followed. During the International Philosophy Year, at Brockport, N.Y., in November 1967, George McGovern was the next major speaker, and I could discuss my paper with him. When that version appeared in print, I dedicated it “to the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought injustice, embodying and teaching pride, courage, gentleness, and unconquerable freedom from resentment-‘out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.’ ”
Trying out some of my ideas in lectures and articles, I profited from discussion and criticism, over a period of several years. I am particularly grateful to the American Psychological Association for inviting me to address its annual meeting in September 1971, in Washington, D.C., on a subject of my own choosing. I spoke about decidophobia and could not have hoped for a more enthusiastic and encouraging reception.
It is a pleasure to give thanks once again to Princeton University for many things; above all, for its enlightened policy regarding leaves of absence. The first complete draft of this book was finished during a sabbatical in 1970-1971.
In September/October 1970 I was a guest of the Rockefeller Foundation for one month, at the Villa Serbelloni. This is a heavenly place, and I have paid tribute to it in “the case of the beautiful garden” in the chapter on guilt.
In November/December 1970 I was in Jerusalem as the guest of the department of philosophy of the Hebrew University and the Van Leer Jerusalem Foundation. I want to give special and heartfelt thanks to Yuda Elkana and Fred Simons at the Foundation. During the academic year 1968/1969 a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities released me from some of my teaching duties at Princeton and enabled me to devote most of my time to “A Study of Justice.”
Many friends and colleagues read early drafts of one, two, or three chapters. I am grateful for their criticisms and encouragement to W. W. Bartley, III, Donald Davidson, Howard DeLong, Abraham Edel, Joel Feinberg, Colin Hardie, Gilbert Harman, Siegwart Lindenberg, Richard Rorty, T. M. Scanlon, Michael Sukale, Melvin Tumin, and Gregory Vlastos. I have also been helped by discussions with Anthony Baxter, Hazel Kaufmann, David Lewis, Lilly Russow, BenAmi Scharfstein, James Stephens, and Y. Yovel.
John G. Stoessinger, Herman Wouk, and Richard Rorty read and criticized a complete draft for the book in 1971. In the case of the first two, my embarrassment was mitigated by the fact that I had earlier performed similar services for them, but Rorty had done the same thing for me once before. I have reason to be very grateful to all three-and to Gilbert Harman, Siegwart Lindenberg, and Robert Nozick, who commented on the all but final version in the fall of 1972.
Princeton University provided undergraduate research assistants: Mark Krosse during the academic year 1971-1972, Kevin Ashley during the summer of 1972 and the following academic year. Both not only performed many helpful chores but also read the entire manuscript and discussed it with me, making many suggestions. My sustained dialogue with Kevin Ashley during the crucial final months has made the book much better than it might have been otherwise.
While the idea of writing about justice goes back very far, the decision to include guilt was made in Jerusalem in 1970. It was also in Jerusalem that I first taught a seminar on justice, in 1962-1963. The students in that seminar included Yirmiyahu Yovel, Lee Weiner, and quite a number of others who have become well known since then, but nobody contributed more than Jerry Rubin. It was also in Jerusalem that I completed the first draft in December 1970. I feel that no other place could have been more appropriate.