The principles of Justice
INT354 - Economic theories & globalization
John Rawls was one of the most important and influential political philosophers of our time.
He took an old idea, thought of a fresh way of using it, and came up with principles for a just society. The task Rawls has challenged is that of establishing what moral principles should govern the basic structure of a just society
Most of his important ideas are presented in his 1971 book, A Theory of Justice. Composed in twenty years of labor, it reconstructs the complexity of political values and principles from a single basic idea: We citizens of a modern democratic society should design its basic rules in accordance with a public criterion of justice. This book has a profund impact across philosophy, politics, law, and economics.
Uniquely ambitious and illuminating, this theory is a brilliant achievement in political philosophy. No one concerned for social justice in the real world can afford not to study it closely.
I choose this topic because professional ethics + rawls is one of the most significant and influencial philosopher of the twentieth century… + justice is one of the value I respect the most INTRO P 36 + preface livre blanc a clear understanding of the theory I believe A Theory of Justice presents a vision of society worth striving for. In this writeup I am not going to try to persuade you, however. I will simply attempt to outline the main elements of Rawls's theory. Merely doing that will result in a long and complex writeup. I will leave the criticism or defence of Rawls to further writeups.
The scope of Justice
“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.”
The original position
In the original position; the perspective that a hypothetical creator of a society must adopt in order to ensure that the society will be just; rational agents, each representing an individual in society are gathered together to select the principles of justice that decided how society should be ordered. Two principles in particular, of “justice as fairness” would emerge with this consensus. So before analyzing these two major principles defined in The Theory of Justice of John Rawls, we need to consider how the answer was reached to them. Indeed, given the limitless number of possible principles, how would the parties in the original position decide which principles of justice to choose? Or should we say, for what reasons would they choose the two principles of “justice as fairness”? In order to resolve this, Rawls explained in its original position, what he thinks about the right strategy to adopt, and the reason for, the final choice of principles.
First, we have to define what a social contract is; the concept that human beings have made an agreement with their government. This theory of social contract is based on the idea that humans abandoned a natural, free and ungoverned condition in favor of a society that provides them with order, structure, and, very importantly, protection. I found the version of John Locke, an English philosopher of the 17th century very relevant and explicit. According to him, the social…