The Role of Justice in Society

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Through the egalitarian reasoning of John Rawls and the act-utilitarianist perspective of J.J.C. Smart, I will analyze the concept of justice. In accordance with Rawls, I intend to argue that any changes in society that will increase the burden carried by the poorest 5% are unjust, even if these changes increase the average level of happiness for the other 95%. With regard to ethics, justice is defined as fairness, where all situations should be treated alike. For one to exhibit justice, one must portray the quality of being fair and reasonable in all situations. While egalitarians evaluate justice based on equality, utilitarians are only interested in justice as a means to an end. Smart advocates the principle of utility, which defines…show more content…
The two parts of the second principle are ‘the difference principle' and ‘the principle of fair equality of opportunity.' The difference principle makes justifications for inequalities as long the situation of everyone affected is improved. Equality of opportunity refers to "the distribution of income and wealth and to the design of organizations that make use of difference in authority". As with the difference principle, inequalities in wealth, power, and status are permitted, as long as the advantages produced by the inequities benefit everyone. The ordering of the second principle implies that defiance of equality of opportunity cannot be rationalized by the possibility of economic or social advantages.

The ideas set forth by Rawls influential book A Theory of Justice received considerable praise and attention from the scholastic community. As with all publications, Rawls' work has been critiqued by other philosophers. The most prominent objection to Rawls' concept of justice, and the only area I would criticize, is the difference principle. As a libertarian, Robert Nozick offers one of the most renowned arguments against difference principle. Nozick argued in his book Anarchy, State and Utopia that equality through fair distribution will indefinitely intrude on civilian
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