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Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- John Rawls: A Theory of Justice March 1, 2009

Filed under: itethic — hikaru011 @ 2:59 pm
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Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- John Rawls: A Theory of Justice

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn the theory of justice

  • Principles of Justice

Quote:

“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’s 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. ”

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

“Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both:

· Reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage

· Attached to positions and offices open to all.”

Book Review:

According to the book, no one in the society know his place and does not know his fortune in the distribution of the natural assets, abilities, etc. I think it says that all of us have no idea who we really are, what is our status or position in the world we live in. Because of this, no one has the advantage over the other. When we think that most of us are unaware on whom we really are, then no one can lead us and force us to do something.

The first principle of justice: Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others. It means that whatever we are experiencing must be experience with others. When we are indulging ourselves because of freedom, other people must also indulge themselves. We are all equal. We have equal right in the most basic and the most crucial controversies. The second principle state that the distribution of wealth should be of everyone’s advantage, wealth in a sense of natural wealth, I think.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is the first principle of Justice?
  2. What is the second principle of justice?
  3. Who stated the theory of Justice?
  4. Do we all know our class or status in the society?
  5. The principles of justice are chosen behind what?

What I have learned:

I have learned about the principle of justice. All of us are equal, we should be treated equally. What I have must be what others have.

Review Questions:

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

No one knows his position in the society. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. This ensures that no one is advantage or disadvantage in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance of social circumstances.

  1. State and Explain Rawl’s first principle of Justice.

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

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

Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both:

· Reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage

· Attached to positions and offices open to all.

The first and second principle should be arranged in order. “This ordering means that a departure from the institutions of equal liberty required by the first principle can not be justified by greater and economic advantage.”

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?

In a way I think, we can exercise the equality of our right. By having an equal right does not mean that we should take advantage. We should also watch our actions.

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?

Yes.

 

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