Rawlsian Justice

John Rawls claims that justice comes down to a notion of fairness. He proposed a thought experiment wherein he proffers an ideal “original position.” The idea is that representatives of the people operate behind a “veil of ignorance” when determining what policies are in the best interests of all of the citizens. In brief, representatives are ignorant of their “The race, ethnicity, gender, age, income, wealth, natural endowments, comprehensive doctrine, etc. of any of the citizens in society, or to which generation in the history of the society these citizens belong” and “The political system of the society, its class structure, economic system, or level of economic development” (Wenar 4.6). They do understand different people have different life plans, that even if resources are scarce, “there is enough to go around,” and have good common sense.

Discussion task: Imagine you are a representative behind this veil. Discuss and defend several measures you would take to ensure a fair and equitable redistribution of resources.

Wenar, Leif, “John Rawls”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Edited by Edward N. Zalta 9 January 2017. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rawls/

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