Rawl’s Theory Of Justice

A Theory of Justice, Rawls argues for a rational reconciliation of liberty and equality, which he claims should apply to the fundamental framework of a well-ordered society. An account of the circumstances of justice, influenced by David Hume, and a fair choice situation for parties confronted with such circumstances, akin to some of Immanuel Kant’s views, are at the heart of this attempt. The parties’ actions are to be guided by fairness principles. They are neither natively altruistic nor totally egoistic, and they are considered to face mild scarcity. They have goals they want to achieve, but they prefer to do so in collaboration with others on mutually agreeable terms. Rawls proposes a model of a fair choice situation (the original position with its veil of ignorance), in which parties would hypothetically adopt mutually accepted justice principles. Under such conditions, Rawls argues that parties would prefer his preferred principles of justice over a variety of alternatives, including utilitarian and ‘right wing’ libertarian versions.


ORIGINAL POSITION – Rawls is a member of the social contract tradition, however his perspective differs from that of prior theorists. Rawls constructs what he argues are justice principles through the use of an artificial device he calls the Original position, in which everyone decides on justice principles from behind a veil of ignorance. This “veil” effectively blinds people to all facts about themselves, preventing them from tailoring principles to their own benefit: No one understands his social position, class, or social rank, nor his luck in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, such as intelligence, strength, and the like. I’ll even presume that the parties are unaware of each other’s concepts of good and psychological proclivities. Behind a veil of ignorance, the ideals of justice are chosen.”
According to Rawls, a lack of awareness of these personal features will lead to principles that are equitable to all. If a person does not know where he will end up in his imagined society, he is unlikely to favour any one group over another, but rather to devise a system of justice that treats everyone equally. Rawls’ Original Position is based on a “thin theory of the good,” which he claims “explains the reasoning underlying the Original Position’s choice of principles.” Following the derivation of principles from the original viewpoint, we arrive at a thorough theory of the good. [1]
PRINCIPLES OF JUSTICE– The first principle, frequently referred to as the greatest equal liberty principle, is modified and developed by Rawls. The second principle is known as the difference principle.

Principle of equal liberty- This is the first principle to emerge from the original viewpoint; it ensures all citizens’ basic liberties, which take precedence above social value and welfare considerations. Personal liberty is a core liberty that cannot be altered or infringed upon by the government, according to Rawls. He believed in individual liberties and opposed majority rule. He advocated for a system of equal rights and personal liberty for all people.

Difference principle- This principle is based on the idea of distribution. It mentions the fact that only those social and economic inequalities will be permitted that work to the advantage of the least well off members of the society. Hence all inequalities could not be rejected if an inequality works for those at bottom of the society it would not be rejected.

This theory significantly defines concept of justice and provided wide outline to trace and justice. The idea of viel of ignorance has highlighted the idea of equality and basically dealt with rights of minorities or less well off.

References- [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Theory_of_Justice

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