john rawls theory of justice

Added on - 28 May 2020

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PoliticalIdeas2IntroductionPolitical philosophy relates to the study of politics, property, liberty, law, right, justice and alsothe enforcement of any law by the authority. There are a number of political ideas which areincluded in political philosophy. These ideas are more than often, quite contradictory to eachother and criticize each other in their different ideologies presented. Amongst the prominenttheories in this context is the theory of justice given by John Rawls. His political philosophyattempted to solve the issue of distributive justice by making use of a range of familiar device ofsocial contracts (Gray, 2014).The theory resulting from this was given the name of “Justice as Fairness”, and from this stemsthe two principles of justice. These two in unison, dictate that there is a need for the society to bestructured in such a manner that the members are given the greatest possible liberty, which isonly limited by the idea of liberty of a member should not infringe on the liberty of anothermember. The second principle is that inequalities in economic or social construct could only bepermitted where the worst would be better off in comparison to their under a system of equaldistribution (Corlett, 2016). However, the other political ideas have not been inclined to this verytheory and have offered criticism to this theory. The two prominent outlooks in this regard arethe Marxist and communitarian critique, which would be focused upon in the following parts.Rawls’ Theory of JusticeAs touched upon in the introductory segment, Rawls’ Theory of justice has two principles ofjustice, which are lexically ordered. Rawls has always emphasized upon liberty being given the
PoliticalIdeas3priority. This is the reason why the first reason is usually known as the greatest equal libertyprinciple. This is followed by the second principle which is known as the difference principle;and the second half of this second principle, being the final addendum, which is the equalopportunity principle. This theory is based upon the principled reconciliation of equality andliberty and this has to apply over the very basic structure of the well-ordered society. The centraltheme of this approach is to undertake justice and give a fair choice to the parties where they facesuch situations, and is aligned with some of the views given by Immanuel Kent. The principlesof justice guide the parties’ conduct. The parties have ends which they aim to advance but this isdone in a manner where preference is given to advance these through the others’ cooperationwhich is based on terms which are mutually acceptable (Sen, 2011).As per Rawls, a well off society which is stable and reasonable is cooperative venture for themutual advantage. In addition to the cooperation, a conflict is present amongst its members in thematter of the share of burdens and regarding the benefits of social living. The basic goal of theprinciples given by Rawls is to make certain that this distribution of burdens and benefits to thesociety are fair and are just, to all the members. As per him, the very basic institutions of thesociety have to be constructed in such a manner that a constant distribution of social primarygoods is ensured for all of the members in the society in a just or fair way. The social primarygoods include the powers, opportunities, income, wealth, rights and liberties. And in his views,the distribution of these goods is fair when it is based on the principles of justice (Rawls, 2009).The very first principle provides that every person has an indefeasible claim to a completelysufficient scheme of the equalized basic liberties and this scheme is compatible with the verysame scheme of liberties for everyone. The second principle is that in order for the economic and
PoliticalIdeas4social inequalities there is a need to fulfil two conditions. The first one is that these have to beattached to positions and offices which are open for everyone based on conditions of fair equalityof opportunity; and the second condition is that these have to be for the greatest benefit for suchmembers of society who are least advantaged. As stated earlier, these principles are based onlexical priority, which mean that the first principle needs to be satisfied fully before theapplication of the next principle. A key point which has to be noted here is that Rawls makes asassumption that the principles which are being applied on the society, is one which is well off ina reasonable manner and where the basic material have to be provided for (Mandle, 2009).The key goal priority being given is to give a higher significance to the equal liberties incomparison to the other primary social goods. Rawls, in the basic liberties, included freedom ofconscience, though, of person in addition to right to holding personal property, arbitrary arrestand detention, which in other words shows that freedom of rule of law, and the freedom ofspeech. The fair equality of opportunity of Rawls provides that state has to make certain that inevery aspect, a fair equality is provided, which includes education and economic spheres, alongwith sickness and unemployment benefits. For this, there is a need for welfare state to aid or runthe schools, regulate the economy and the like. By the general conception of justice, Rawlsmeans that only such inequalities which are not just, where some members are put as adisadvantage as is the case with utilitarianism (Grcic, 2011).CommunitarianismThe Rawlsian theory of justice has been criticized from a number of varied perspectives, andamongst the prominent critiques of the theory of justice of Rawls is communitarian critique. This
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