Download A Theory of Justice (Revised Edition) by John Rawls PDF

By John Rawls

because it seemed in 1971, John Rawls's A conception of Justice has turn into a vintage. the writer has now revised the unique variation to resolve a few problems he and others have present in the unique booklet.

Rawls goals to precise a vital a part of the typical center of the democratic tradition--justice as fairness--and to supply a substitute for utilitarianism, which had ruled the Anglo-Saxon culture of political concept because the 19th century. Rawls substitutes the precise of the social agreement as a extra passable account of the elemental rights and liberties of voters as unfastened and equivalent people. "Each person," writes Rawls, "possesses an inviolability based on justice that even the welfare of society as an entire can't override." Advancing the guidelines of Rousseau, Kant, Emerson, and Lincoln, Rawls's concept is as robust this day because it used to be while first released.

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Extra resources for A Theory of Justice (Revised Edition)

Example text

We can express this by saying that in justice as fairness the concept of right is prior to that of the good. A just social system defines the scope within which individuals must develop their aims, and it provides a framework of rights and opportunities and the means of satisfaction within and by the use of which these ends may be equitably pursued. The priority of justice is accounted for, in part, by holding that the interests requiring the violation of justice have no value. 16 This priority of the right over the good in justice as fairness turns out to be a central feature of the conception.

It may be observed, however, that once the principles of justice are thought of as arising from an original agreement in a situation of equality, it is an open question whether the principle of utility would be acknowledged. Offhand it hardly seems likely that persons who view themselves as equals, entitled to press their claims upon one another, would agree to a principle which may require lesser life prospects for some simply for the sake of a greater sum of advantages enjoyed by others. Since each desires to protect his interests, his capacity to advance his conception of the good, no one has a reason to acquiesce in an enduring loss for himself in order to bring about a greater net balance of satisfaction.

One excludes the knowledge of those contingencies which sets men at odds and allows them to be guided by their prejudices. In this manner the veil of ignorance is arrived at in a natural way. This concept should cause no difficulty if we keep in mind the constraints on arguments that it is meant to express. At any time we can enter the original position, so to speak, simply by following a certain procedure, namely, by arguing for principles of justice in accordance with these restrictions. It seems reasonable to suppose that the parties in the original position are equal.

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