Rawls Theory of Justice

1853 Words Nov 20th, 2010 8 Pages
The conventional accounts of Justice normally begin by stating a fundamental rule of Aristotle – Justice is to treat equals equally and unequals unequally, and that unequal treatment should be in proportion to the inequality. In everyday life though, justice is seen as an attribute of law, while all laws are not necessarily just. Many great socio- political movements of the world have focused from time to time on unjust laws eg Apartheid laws in South Africa and
Caste laws in India. Impartiality and fairness are understood to be the two aspects of justice. But it would be misleading to suggest that Justice refers solely to the fair application of a rule. Some rules, though fairly applied, may produce results repugnant to our
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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.

These principles are arranged by Rawls in a specific order and are subject to the priority rule, ie the first principle has to always precede the second and 2a should always come before 2b. Rawls’ commitment to equality, his passionate defense of liberty and his acceptance of inequality only when it brings advantages to the least advantaged are the basic principles of his theory. Thus Rawls advocates a constitutional democracy as the arrangement for upholding these principles. Although this theory seems like a foolproof and universal arrangement in favour of justice and
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