Rawls - Rawls'KeyIdea:JusticeasFairness Rawls takes justice...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Rawls' Key Idea: Justice as Fairness      Rawls takes justice to be the “first virtue of social institutions,” analogous to the way in which truth is the first virtue of systems of thought. One important consideration is the just distribution of social resources, by which is meant not only economic goods, but also things like rights, opportunities, positions of office, etc. In this sense, voting rights and marriage rights would be considered resources, as would things like the “social bases of self-esteem.” His primary concern is with the general principles of justice as applied to the distribution of these basic social resources, not with the particular institutional structures a government may assume. Rawls maintains that the principles of justice are those principles that would be agreed to under fair bargaining conditions, a hypothetical situation that he calls the original position . The principles that emerge from this original position of fairness are principles of justice. They are fair in the sense that all parties to this original agreement are in a state of equality. Also, there must be unanimity, which gives each an effective veto power over the outcome. Once agreed upon, these principles define the fundamental basis of political association, and they regulate all subsequent agreements. Rational actors under these conditions would supposedly choose two principles: (1) The Liberty Principle : each has an equal right to the most extensive set of basic liberties, compatible with an equal liberty for all others. (2) The Difference Principle : social inequality is justified only to the extent that such differences in social advantage benefit all people. Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged in such a way that they are both (a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, and (b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity. Since there is a plurality of principles, the problem of prioritizing them becomes important, in the event that there is a conflict. Rawls deals with this by what he terms lexical ordering : for him, the problem is how to give weighting to principles of justice without relying on intuitionism or utilitarianism. In his scheme, liberty is given priority: principle (1) needs to be fulfilled before principle (2) can take effect. The only case in which it is permissible to limit a basic liberty covered under the first principle is for the sake of liberty itself. The Original Position and the Veil of Ignorance
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course ECON 131 taught by Professor Dfsfddsf during the Spring '11 term at Université Paris 12 - Val-de-Marne.

Page1 / 4

Rawls - Rawls'KeyIdea:JusticeasFairness Rawls takes justice...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online