Bulisik

John Rawls: A Theory of Justice

Posted on: March 12, 2009

Chapter: 11- John Rawls: A Theory of Justice

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Author: James E. White

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James

White/dp/0495553204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234122156&sr=1-1

Quote: “Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.”

What I expect to learn:

The learning expectation for this chapter review would be discussion about equal rights.

Chapter Review:

For me, this chapter is all about discussing the justice and equal rights. Rawls’s theory states that there are two principles of justice: The first principle involves equal basic liberties, and the second principle concerns the arrangement of social and economic inequalities. According to Rawls theory, these are the principles that free and rational persons would accept in a hypothetical original position where there is a veil of ignorance hiding from the contractors all the particular facts about themselves.

The first principle of justice states that each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others. The second principle of justice states that social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage and attached to positions and offices open to all.

What I’ve learned:

What have I learned is that it is really important that people should have equal rights in every aspect of life.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is Rawls’s theory?

2. What are the two principles of justice?

3. State Rawls’s first principle of justice.

4. State Rawls’s second principle of justice.

5. What is the main idea of the theory of justice?

Review Questions:

1. Carefully explain Rawls’s conception of the original position.

Rawls’s theory states that there are two principles of justice: The first principle involves equal basic liberties, and the second principle concerns the arrangement of social and economic inequalities. According to Rawls theory, these are the principles that free and rational persons would accept in a hypothetical original position where there is a veil of ignorance hiding from the contractors all the particular facts about themselves.

2. State and explain Rawls’s first principle of justice.

The first principle of justice states that each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.

3. State and explain the second principle. Which principle has priority such that it cannot be sacrificed?

The second principle of justice states that social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage and attached to positions and offices open to all.

Discussion Questions:

1. On the first principle, each person has an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty as long as this does not interfere with a similar liberty for others. What does this allow people to do? Does it mean, for example, that people have right to engage in homosexual activities as long as they don’t interfere with others? Can people produce and view pornography if it does not restrict anyone’s freedom? Are people allowed to take drugs in the privacy of their homes?

This allows people to do anything that won’t affect others. This means that everyone can do anything as long as it is legal and nothing to do other people’s feelings.

2. Is it possible for free and rational persons in the original position to agree upon different principles than give by Rawls? For example, why wouldn’t they agree to an equal distribution of wealth and income rather than an unequal distribution? That is, why wouldn’t they adopt socialism rather than capitalism? Isn’t socialism just as rational as capitalism?

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