Rawls - John Rawls A Theory of Justice So, first of all,...

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John Rawls A Theory of Justice
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So, first of all, notice that we are not worried about the original contract entering us into a particular society, or setting up some government. Rather, what we’re aiming for with the contract is to establish principles of justice from which to derive the basic structure of society (forms of government, social cooperation, etc.). “They are the principles that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality as defining the fundamental terms of their association”.
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What does talk about a ‘contract’ amount to? “It implies a certain level of abstraction. In particular, the content of the relevant agreement is not to enter a given society or to adopt a given form of government, but to accept certain moral principles.” It’s just “principles that would be chosen by rational persons (which we can use to explain and justify our conceptions of justice)”
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Like all contract theories . . . (1) interpretation of the initial situation (equality behind the veil of ignorance or the state of nature) and, of course, (2) set of principles which, it is argued, would be agreed to.
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Start with (1). Rawls calls it something like ‘the original position’. It’s important that we get this position right, because “as the circumstances [of the original position] are presented in different ways, correspondingly different principles are accepted.”
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position. (1) It corresponds to the state of nature, but we’re not supposed to think of the original position as a real, historical state of affairs. It’s purely a hypothetical situation used to
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This note was uploaded on 10/14/2011 for the course PHIL 2103 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Arkansas.

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Rawls - John Rawls A Theory of Justice So, first of all,...

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