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Rawls’ Theory of Justice

by | Apr 26, 2022 | Philosophy

 

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Post approximately 200 words in response to the week’s reading by class time.
Post approximately 100 words as commentary on another student’s post.
Other student’s post:
I find it interesting that Rawls’ Theory of Justice is borne out of the social contract tradition. The theory’s basis in this schema suggests to me that Justice as Fairness, as Rawls understands it, is intrinsically social in nature. That is to say that whatever principles of justice are established in the original position behind the veil of ignorance are subject to the process of reflective equilibrium.
The idea of reflective equilibrium is appealing to me because it allows for flexibility in principles of morality or justice that have been determined via this metaphorical social contract to which no individual was ever a party. Whether we take Rawls’ two principles of justice to be sound or not then is irrelevant to the structure of Justice as Fairness. The idea of reflective equilibrium allows us to reconcile whatever principles of justice we adhere to with our judgments (or intuitions) of right and wrong in contingent circumstances.
What I find particularly interesting about this conception is the implication that principles of justice are unlikely to be “self-evident”. Contrary to the foundationalist view which argues that at least some moral principles are fixed, I understand Rawls’ theoretical principles of justice to be derived from the contractual environment of the original position. Therefore, while it is likely that behind the veil of ignorance mostly egalitarian principles will be proffered, there is no presumption that such principles are axiomatic or unalterable. The coherence of these principles and our judgments is what ensures a working theory of justice.
materials to use:
Letter from a Birmingham Jail” ”, pp. 310-317;
Rawls, “A Theory of Justice”, 319-327.
14 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Nozick, from Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Korematsu v. United States, 278-282,
Brown v. Board, 285-288.

 

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