The Case of Justice
Rawls: Justice as fairness o John Rawls wrote two big books - A Theory of Justice (1971), followed by Political Liberalism (1993) (trust me aur c ha O The ideas at the heart of Rawls's theory of justice, which he calls justice as fairness, are the original position and the veil of ignorance. O He imagines people choosing principles in an original position, behind veil of ignorance O Rawls asks us to imagine, What would happen if people deprived of all knowledge that might serve to distinguish them from one another how clever they are, whether they are Christian, Muslim or atheist - were to get together and decide how they wanted their society to be organized. 6
People in Original Position, don't know two things O First, they are ignorant of their talents - their natural endowments - and their social position. O Second, they don't know their conception of the good. They don't know what makes life valuable or what is worthwhile. 7
Some things which they know O They know, 'the capacity to frame, revise and pursue a conception of the good O And they know that, to exercise that capacity, they need certain all-purpose goods, i.e 'primary goods': Such as liberties, opportunities, powers, income and wealth, self-respect. 8
Rawl's explanation of 'Original Position O It is a way of representing particular claims about how we should think about justice. Rawls's idea is that it models fair conditions by abstracting from people's natural endowments and social (class) position, and from their particular conceptions of the good. O It models conditions under which people solely regarded as free and equal are to agree on fair terms of social cooperation. O Society, for Rawls, should be understood as a fair scheme of cooperation between free and equal citizens, and the original position models/represents that understanding O He asks us to, what distributive principles you would have reason to endorse if you didn't know who you were, there by thinking of 9yourself and your fellow citizens as equals.
The principle which Rawls think people behind the veil of ignorance would choose are :- 1. Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all 2. Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, and (b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity (1) Has priority over (2) And 2(b) > 2(a) 10
Would people in the original position really choose these principles? Pause Think-and then Listern and then Listen..
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