John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice holds that a rational, mutually disinterested individual in the Original Position and given the task of establishing societal rules to maximise their own happiness throughout life, is liable to choose as their principles of justice a) guaranteed fundamental liberties and b) the nullification of social and economic disparities by universal equality of opportunities, which are to be of greatest benefit to the least advantaged members of society , . Rawls’ system of societal creation has both strengths and weaknesses, but is ultimately sound. One strength is the inherent compulsion to look after the interests of the entire society through the Veil of Ignorance. One is unable to look after the interests of a …show more content…
Rawls’ principles of justice also take individual wellbeing into account. The competing theory of the day – utilitarianism, summarized in the slogan ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’, did not consider the good of individuals in society. Rawls’ theory, however, caters not only to individuals, but also to minorities who might suffer at the hands of utilitarianism. A Utilitarian might argue that Rawls’ assured individual liberties are not conducive to the betterment of society as a whole, in that individual welfare may sometimes conflict with communal welfare. This argument is somewhat negated on consideration of the annulment of disparities, which is not only beneficial to individuals, who could potentially possess some handicap either socially, economically or physically, but also to society, as it is the meritorious individuals who induce economic and social growth. Relative wealth, health and social position are mitigated in the interests of fairness. It stands to reason that the society in question will prosper from a system of formal equality, as it encourages excellence within the community. It also stimulates competition – rational individuals will naturally want more primary goods for themselves , and will be willing to compete for these. This is vital to a healthy economy because it prevents stagnating monopolization by individuals. One weakness in Rawls’ theory is his assumption that the individual
John Rawls was dissatisfied with the traditional philosophical approach to justifying social and political actions therefore he attempted to provide a reasonable theory of social justice through a contract theory approach. In his work, A Theory of Justice, Rawls bases almost the entirety of his piece on the question, what kind of organization of society would rational persons choose if they were in an initial position of independence and equality and setting up a system of cooperation (A Theory of Justice-enotes)? From this seemingly simple question, Rawls goes into further detail describing what he believes society would and should do when setting up a fair and just organizational structure. Throughout his
John Rawls states that the principle of fairness is important as it applies to individuals the principle of fairness are a link between the two principles of social or political justice and individual obligations to comply with specific social practices (Pogge, 2007). By expanding the scope of what one considers to be an ‘end’ to include both aspects of nature as well as future generations, one can transform the implications of Rawls’ theory (Pogge, 2007). Rawls advances his theory of justice through what is called the Original Position which is a hypothetical situation in which all individuals are granted perfect equality and are asked to choose a principle of justice behind a veil of ignorance, which eliminates their biases (Pogge, 2007). The hypothetical persons in the Original Position, ignorant of who and what they will be in society and perfectly equal to one another, are able to truly come to a consensus as to what a just society would be (Pogge, 2007). Justice
John Rawls was the second most important political thinker of his time. His main contribution to the idea of a civil society is his theory of justice. Rawls believed in “social primary goods” which included rights,
Rawls believes that in a situation where a society is established of people who are self-interested, rational, and equal, the rules of justice are established by what is mutually acceptable and agreed upon by all the people. This scenario of negotiating the laws of that society that will be commonly agreed upon and beneficial to
First this essay will demonstrate how Rawls’s theory will affect the society and its structure in terms of basic social institutions, wealth distribution and major economic limits and opportunities. Then, the essay will demonstrate the same for Nozick’s theory on distributive justice. I will then describe, in which society I would prefer to live in and why.
Rawls assumes that these hypothetical people would be conservative risk takers and in a situation of uncertainty would opt for the least disadvantageous outcome in any choice presented to them and they would choose those principles that would maximize the position of the worst off, for just in case they should be the worst off. The two principles of justice that such people choose are:- 1. Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive liberty compatible with a similar liberty to others. 2. Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantages b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality and opportunity.
John Rawls was an American political and moral philosopher. Rawls attempts to determine the principles of social justice. In this essay, I will elucidate John Rawls’ views on forming a social contract, the counter-arguments against Rawls’ theory and finally the state of debate on the counter-arguments. John Rawls set out on his discussion on justice and fairness in his book A Theory of Justice 1971. Rawls theory describes a society with free citizens holding equal basic rights regardless of the social status (poor or rich). Each society has its way of attempting to bring about equality in its political and economic systems. The tenets of distributive justice, therefore, act as an ethical guide to the
In A Theory of Justice John Rawls presents his argument for justice and inequality. Rawls theorizes that in the original position, a hypothetical state where people reason without bias, they would agree to live in a society based on two principles of justice (Rawls 1971, 4). These two principles of justice are named the first and second principles. The first is the equal rights and liberties principle. The second is a combination of the difference principle and the fair equality of opportunity principle, or FEOP (Rawls 1971, 53). Rawls argues that inequality will always be inevitable in any society (Rawls 1971, 7). For example, there will always be a varied distribution of social and economic advantages. Some people will be wealthier than
The general concept of Rawls “original position” is that all social “Primary Good” should be distributed equally to individuals in a society, unless an unequal distribution favors those less fortunate. Rawls call “the situation of ignorance about your own place in society the “original position (242).” Rawls’ theory is in direct response to John Lock’s principles on social contract which states that people in a free society need to set rules on how to live with one another in peace. Rawls’ principles were designed to guards against injustices, which was inflicted upon society, with the help of John Stuart Mills Utilitarianism principle that individuals should act so as to maximize the greatest good for the greatest number. Mills
John Rawls was an America philosopher whose idea was to develop an experiment for individuals to seek a fair notion of justice. Rawls experiment was a hypothetical one that engaged the individual to look at society and fairness from another perceptive. Individuals were to use their imagination and pretend that they were born into different lives, for example, if their mother was a single parent that worked two jobs just to put food on the table vs. the lavish life style one lives today. Society isn’t just, but if the individuals didn’t know their position or their background it could eliminate discrimination and give rise for equal opportunity for all. Rawls believed in the notion of the social contract theory, if everyone was in agreement they could form a sustainable society. Rawls proposed the government could possibly work for everyone, under these pretenses. Rawls had two key principles which focused on
The distributive justice theory of John Rawls concerns justice as fairness. In his theory, Rawls defines justice as demanding equality, unless inequality makes the least advantaged person better off. Rawls proposes two major principles of justice: (1) that each person should have the same equal right to basic liberties and (2) that social and economic inequalities are attached to positions and offices open to all under equality of opportunity and are to the benefit of the least advantaged group of society. This theory is determined by a social contract that assumes there is a natural state on which people will agree based on moral equality. In this social contract, all members wear a veil of ignorance through which they do not know anything about their own
Political philosopher John Rawls believed that in order for society to function properly, there needs to be a social contract, which defines ‘justice as fairness’. Rawls believed that the social contract be created from an original position in which everyone decides on the rules for society behind a veil of ignorance. In this essay, it will be argued that the veil of ignorance is an important feature of the original position. First, the essay will describe what the veil of ignorance is. Secondly, it will look at what Rawls means by the original position. Thirdly, it will look at why the veil of ignorance is an important feature of the original position. Finally, the essay will present a criticism to the veil of ignorance and the original
To achieve a just society, Rawls believes in two principles. The first principle states that each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others. The second principle is that social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both a)reasonably expected to be to everyone's advantage, and b) attached to positions and offices open to all (Rawls, 60).
In what follows, I will attempt to portray the philosophy of John Rawls with regard to the theory of societal justice. My aim is convey Rawls’ conception of justice.
Equality stands side by side with no contingencies. To be truly equal there has to be no disadvantages. A society cannot have equality when arbitrary hinders its growth. John Rawls a philosopher of egalitarianism believes that an equal society is essential to its productivity. It is not fair for moral Arbitrariness to have superiority over the less fortunate in justice and the free market. There should be opportunities given to start at the same starting point regardless of status quo. Everyone has an opinion on equality which fairly is their own. An opinion is just an opinion base on what the individual believe is right by how they feel. What if you could strip away outside inferences, opinions and see equality for what it is. The