When philosophers again began to take an interest in normative ethics in the s, no theory could rival utilitarianism as a plausible and systematic basis for moral judgments in all circumstances. Yet, many philosophers found themselves unable to accept utilitarianism.
Print PDF ontemporary philosopher John Rawls provides one example of an ethical theory that places the concept of justice at its center. The basis of such principles is found in a concept that Rawls termed the original position. Imagine a group of people representing the range of human diversity and then place them behind a veil of ignorance so that they no longer know who they are on the other side.
Rawls contends that from this original position people would agree to establish a social order based on the moral standards of an egalitarian form of justice. That is, they would promote rules and institutions that would ensure their own well-being once the veil is lifted.
In its strictest sense, egalitarianism requires that all persons receive an equal distribution of certain political, social, and economic goods and rights; however, Rawls does not advocate a strict egalitarianism. He maintains that inequalities are inevitable but can be justified and minimized with at least two principles discoverable in the original position.
The first is the liberty principle, which advocates that each person should have an equal right to as many basic liberties as possible and still allow a similar system of liberty for all Munson That is, each individual should possess as much liberty to live and seek opportunity as is possible, short of infringing on the liberty interests of others.
The second principle that Rawls identifies is termed the difference principle and requires that social and economic inequalities be arranged so that they benefit those who are least advantaged. In other words, differences in wealth and social position are acceptable as long as they can be shown to benefit everyone and, in particular, those who have the fewest advantages.
This principle also requires that systems allow for all people to have access to goods and positions under conditions of fair equality of opportunity based on both need and merit Munson Page 1 of 2.Rawls proposes that the most reasonable principles of justice for a society are those that individuals would themselves agree to behind the “veil of ignorance”, in circumstances in which each is represented as a moral person, endowed with the basic moral powers.
John Rawls|John Rawls's A Theory of Justice is the classic of modern political philosophy. I will return to this argument in the section discussing Rawls's moral argument. The original position The original position is a situation where the members of society are placed behind a veil of ignorance.
Rawls . In Rawls' thinking, the veil of ignorance is a device that can be used to help a person determine whether something (an action or an institution or such) is moral. john Rawls Theory of Justice- the original position and veil of ignorance/justice as fairness Define "justice" according to Rawls Summarize Rawls' two principles of justice Critique the premise of Rawls' theory, the "original position".
the veil of ignorance According to John Rawls, only a person ignorant of his own identity can make a truly ethical decision.
This thought process is based on _____. What are the shortcomings of the "veil of ignorance" thought experiment as proposed by John Rawls? Under the veil of ignorance, what society would you wish for? What is the best argument against the claim that democracy entails the tyranny of the majority?