Essay On Social Justice By John Rawls

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Thomas Hobbes famously said that in the "state of nature", human life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". Without law and order, everyone would have the freedom to do as they pleased and thus lead to anarchy; there would be an endless war of all against all. To avoid this, free men made contracts with each other to establish political communities i.e. civil society through a social contract in which they all gain security Harvard professor, John Rawls, was a catalyst for the rebirth of social contract philosophy in modern times. In his book A Theory of Justice (1972). He outlines two different principles for justice as fairness, the liberty principal and the difference principal. Although many philosophers discredit…show more content…
If society were in agreement, Rawls asks, what kind of arrangement would everyone agree to? He states that the contract is a purely hypothetical one: If no one knew what place he or she would have in society? Then what sort of society would they choose? He argued in a fair society there would be justice based on the theory that justice is tied to fairness; politically he thought this to be a conceivable notion. Up until this everyone wanted to maximise their position based on how much wealth they could obtain. There was no theory of justice as fairness before this... The biggest property class at that time was slavery; the major concerns for the people were how to protect their property and to guard against the abolishment of slavery. Under the constitutional convention people already knew what position they were entering into to. He called this the original position; Rawls maintains that the choice would be for a social structure that would best benefit the unknowing chooser if she or he happened to end up in the least desirable position... After considering the main characteristics of justice as fairness Rawls looks at the principles of justice. He identifies two principles: One, that each person should have equal rights, two, that inequalities should be arranged so that they would be to everyone’s advantage and arranged so that nobody would be denied access from…show more content…
In the second part of the work, Rawls considers the implications of his view of justice for social institutions. He discusses in detail equal liberty, economic distribution, and duties and obligations as well as the main characteristics of each that would make up a just society. He does not, however, identify any particular type of social or political system that would be consistent with his theory. He deals only with the demands that his version of justice places on institutions. In the third and final section, Rawls deals with ends or ultimate goals of thinking about social justice. (JF, 274-278) He argues for the need to have a theory of goodness, and he makes a case for seeing goodness as rationality. Then, he turns to moral psychology and considers how people acquire a sentiment of justice. Finally, he examines the good of justice, or how justice is connected to goodness. Rawls argues that in a well-ordered society, ideas of goodness and justice must be consistent with each
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