John Rawls Essay

732 WordsJul 25, 20123 Pages
Running head: EVERYONE LIKE RAWLS If Everyone Could Be More Like Rawls EVERYONE LIKE RAWLS John Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. His magnum opus, A Theory of Justice, was hailed at the time of its publication as "the most important work in moral philosophy since the end of World War II" (Gordon, 2008). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy reads “his work in political philosophy takes as its starting point the argument that most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position." Rawls employs a number of thought experiments — including the famous veil of ignorance — to determine what constitutes a fair agreement in which "everyone is impartially situated as equals," in order to determine principles of social justice (Freeman, 2007). Rawls is noted for his contributions to liberal political philosophy. Additional ideas from Rawls' work that have received wide attention are: Justice as Fairness, The Original Position, Reflective Equilibrium, Overlapping Consensus, Public Reason, and Political Constructivism. Rawls utilizes the social contract device, asking what principles of justice individuals would agree to when designing society. Human beings are to Rawls both rational and reasonable. Because we are rational we have ends we want to achieve, but we are reasonable insofar as we are happy to achieve these ends cooperatively if possible by adhering to mutually acceptable regulatory principles. Individuals hold, however, quite different needs and aspirations of individuals: the individual conception of the good. EVERYONE LIKE RAWLS Rawls also believed in a principle of equality that would be agreed upon to guarantee liberties that represent meaningful options for all in society and ensure distributive justice. That everyone have exactly the

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