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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: February 2015

80 - Freeman, Samuel

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Samuel freeman (b. 1950) is an American political and legal philosopher. After obtaining a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Freeman clerked for Justice Dan K. Moore at the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1977–1978 and again for Judge Dickson Phillips at the US Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit, in 1979. While in law school, Freeman had read Rawls’s A Theory of Justice and in this he found a political philosophy that was original, persuasive, and that represented his beliefs about social justice. After he read A Theory of Justice, Freeman decided that his future should be in political philosophy. And so, in 1979, he left the legal profession to enter the graduate program in philosophy at Harvard University.

In 1985 Freeman graduated from Harvard with the dissertation “Contractarianism and Fundamental Rights (Democracy, Judicial Review, Persons),” written under the supervision of Rawls and Burton Dreben. Inluenced also by Scanlon’s work, Freeman was at the time interested primarily in the contractarian justiication of basic rights, but Rawls insisted that Freeman pursued the reconciliation of democratic ideals and judicial review.Rawls’s insistence was vindicated when Freeman’s article “Constitutional Democracy and the Legitimacy of Judicial Review” – a shortened and revised version of chapter 3 of his dissertation – was awarded the APA Berger Prize in 1993.