{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

incentive_egalit - Incentives and Egalitarianism 1 Three...

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

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Incentives and Egalitarianism 1. Three Responses. Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness proceeds on two levels. Substantively, justice as fairness proposes a reconciliation of liberty and equality. Instead of treating liberty and equality as warring values, Rawls aims to give both values due consideration, particularly in the idea that maximizing the minimum worth of liberty is the aim of social justice. Methodologically, justice as fairness relies on the device of the original position. To specify the principles of justice for a democratic society of free and equal persons, Rawls proposes that we consider which principles would be selected by such persons, under a veil of ignorance designed to model the idea that persons are free and equal and social cooperation should be fair between persons thus conceived. Critics have objected to this proposed accommodation in several ways. Let me note a few, with no pretence to completeness. Thus, libertarian critics have argued that justice as fairness does not give due weight to liberty. It does not include the full range of economic liberties in the first principle. That neglect, according to this criticism, comes in part because justice as fairness treats talents as morally irrelevant, and thus locates them behind the veil of ignorance, rather than supposing that they are part of our endowment by right. A second line of argument—styled communitarian—argues that Rawls places too much weight on personal liberties because he relies on a model of persons that is too individualistic: that he abstracts individuals from their social context, instead of emphasizing that we are members of political communities. The communitarian argues that individuals are best understood as part of “we”, with common values, and that reasoning about justice should use those common values as the basis for argument. According to the communitarian, we cannot really make sense of Rawls’s own endorsement of the difference principle, with its notion of talents as common assets, except on the assumption that individuals regard themselves as part of a community. A third line of criticism argues that Rawls aims to do too much at the level of philosophical theory, and leaves too little to be decided by the real politics of democracies. In particular, this line of criticism urges that issues of fair distribution are so central to political debate in democracies, and that democratic self-government is so important, that it is a mistake to try to resolve the distributive disagreement at the level of philosophical theory—through a prior choice of principles in the original position— because that would deprive democratic politics of so much of its substance. 2. Incentives Argument GA Cohen has suggested a fourth line of criticism, arguing, perhaps surprisingly, that Rawls’s view is insufficiently egalitarian—and, in a closely related complaint, that the limits on its egalitarianism come from its failure to see that the personal is political.
Image of page 1

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

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

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern