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Rawl Justice as Fairness

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Dawn Thomas

on 4 February 2014

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Transcript of Rawl Justice as Fairness

States that every individual has an equal right to basic liberties (personal property, a home, etc.) these are inalienable and no government can take them away
Fair equality of opportunity
Rawls Justice as Fairness
Principle 1
Right to vote
freedom of speech
freedom to own personal property
freedom of arbitrary arrests
Fair Equality of
positions should be available to any individual, regardless of social background, ethnicity or sex.
Difference Principle
regulates inequalities and only those that work in the advantage of the 'worst off'

Maximun Rule:
everyone should receive a minimum level of benefits.
Difference Principle

1939 attend Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude
accepted into The Ivy Club and the American Whig-Cliosophic Society
1943 enlisted into the Army and fought during WWII, leaving in 1946
1950 Ph.D from Princeton
Assistant then full time professor at Cornell in Philosophy
1962, Professor of philosophy at Cornell
Tenured position at MIT
1971 published "A Theory of Justice" selling over 400,000 copies in many languages even in Arabic
Notable Awards:
Receiver of the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy
Receiver of the National Humanities Medal in 1999
Recognized by former President Bill Clinton, for his work" helping a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself," President Clinton.
Failing to honor contracts, to invade
personal privacy or pressuring
co workers to vote for a candidate
would be unethical.

intimidating someone to do what you want
(Image from economist.com)
John Rawls
1921- 2002
Freeman, S. (2007) Rawls (Routledge, Abingdon)
The theory is based on two general principles of justice which are used to structure society in the world:
Principle of Equal Liberty
Difference Principle
Behind the Theory
Key components to Rawls
Theory of Justice
the concept of


from behind what he terms a
"veil of ignorance"
Create a world that's fair
Society falls into a social hierarchy in terms of
and other relevant factors.
A person does not know what category they fall into and that biases of the current society can help to prevent biases in establishing future society
Basic Structure of Society
basic structure
effects the lives of citizens, influencing their prospects, their goals, their attitudes, their relationships, and their characters
He defines "veil of ignorance" as the way people can construct society.
a society without any preconceived notions or prejudices.
(Winter, 2013)
(Winter , 2013)
John Rawls, Political Liberalism (Columbia University Press, 1996); abbreviated as PL.
Martin and Reidy, 2006
The first principle takes priority
The condition of being free from restrictions or control
Webster, 1982
Provides good to the community and individual freedom
Highlights democratic values and concern for the less fortunate
Leaders treat followers fairly
Provides useful decision-making skills
Principles can only apply to democratic societies
People disagree about fairness and justice
Lack of consensus about the most important rights
Full transcript