John Rawls John Rawls (b. 1921, d. 2002) was an American political philosopher in the liberal tradition.

His theory of, justice as fairness envisions a society of free citizens holding equal basic rights cooperating within an egalitarian economic system. His account of political liberalism addresses the legitimate use of political power in a democracy, aiming to show how enduring unity may be achieved despite the diversity of worldviews that free institutions allow. His writings on the law of peoples extend these theories to liberal foreign policy, with the goal of imagining how a peaceful and tolerant international order might be possible. Rawls was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. His father was a prominent lawyer, his mother a chapter president of the League of Women Voters. Rawls studied at Princeton, where he was influenced by Wittgenstein's student Norman Malcolm; and at Oxford, where he worked with H. L. A. Hart, Isaiah Berlin, and Stuart Hampshire. His first professorial appointments were at Cornell and MIT. In 1962 Rawls joined the faculty at Harvard, where he taught for more than thirty years. Rawls's adult life was a scholarly one: its major events occurred within his writings. The exceptions were two wars. As a college student Rawls had considered studying for the priesthood; as an infantryman in the Pacific in World War II he lost his Christian faith on seeing the capriciousness of death in combat and learning of the horrors of the Holocaust. Then in the 1960s Rawls spoke out against the US involvement in Vietnam. The Vietnam conflict impelled Rawls to analyze the defects in the American political system that led it to prosecute so ruthlessly what he saw as an unjust war, and to consider how citizens could conscientiously resist their government's aggressive policies. Rawls's most significant achievement is his theory of a just liberal society, called justice as fairness. Rawls first set out justice as fairness in systematic detail in his 1971 book, A Theory of Justice. Rawls continued to rework justice as fairness throughout his life, restating the theory in Political Liberalism (1993), The Law of Peoples (1999), and Justice as Fairness (2001). Those interested in the evolution of justice as fairness from 1971 onwards should consult Freeman (2007). This entry reflects Rawls's final statement of his views on justice as fairness, as well as on political liberalism and on the law of peoples.

John Rawls was arguably the most important political philosopher of the 20th century. He wrote a series of highly influential articles in the 1950s and 60s that helped refocus AngloAmerican moral and political philosophy on substantive problems about what we ought to do. His first book, A Theory of Justice [TJ] (1971), revitalized the social-contract tradition, using it to articulate and defend a detailed vision of egalitarian liberalism. In Political

Liberalism [PL] (1993), he recast the role of political philosophy, accommodating it to the effectively permanent reasonable pluralism of religious, philosophical, and other comprehensive doctrines or worldviews that characterize modern societies. He explains how philosophers can characterize public justification and the legitimate, democratic use of collective coercive power while accepting that pluralism. Although most of this entry will be devoted to TJ, the exposition of that work will take account ofPolitical Liberalism and other later works of Rawls. TJ sets out and defends the principles of Justice as Fairness. Rawls takes the basic structure of society as his subject matter and utilitarianism as his principal opponent. Part One of TJ designs a social-contract-type thought experiment, the Original Position (OP), and argues that parties in the OP will prefer Justice as Fairness to utilitarianism and various other views. In order to understand the argument from the OP, one must pay special attention to the motivation of the parties to the OP, which is philosophically stipulated and provided with a Kantian interpretation. Part Two of TJ checks the fit between the principles of Justice as Fairness and our more concrete considered views about just institutions, thereby helping move us towards a reflective equilibrium that supports those principles. Part Three of TJ addresses the stability of a society organized around Justice as Fairness, arguing that there will be an important congruence in such a society between people s views about justice and what they value. By the time he wrote Political Liberalism, however, Rawls had decided that an inconsistency in TJ called for recasting the argument for stability. In other ways, the argument ofTJ rested on important simplifications, which had the effect of setting aside questions about international justice, disability, and familial justice. Rawls turned to these problems of extension, as he called them, at the end of his career. John Bordley Rawls was born and schooled in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Although his family was of comfortable means, his youth was twice marked by tragedy. In two successive years, his two younger brothers contracted an infectious disease from him diphtheria in one case and pneumonia in the other and died. Rawls s vivid sense of the arbitrariness of fortune may have stemmed in part from this early experience. His remaining, older brother attended Princeton for undergraduate studies and was a great athlete. Rawls followed his brother to Princeton. Although Rawls played baseball, he was, in later life at least, excessively modest about his success at that or at any other endeavor. Rawls continued for his Ph.D. studies at Princeton and came under the influence of the first of a series of Wittgensteinean friends and mentors, Norman Malcolm. From them, he learned to avoid entanglement in metaphysical controversies when possible. Rawls s doctoral dissertation (1950) already showed, however, that he would not be content to deconstruct our impulse to ask metaphysical questions; instead, he devoted himself to constructive philosophical tasks. Turning away from the then-influential program of attempting to analyze the meaning of the

especially that of H. PL at 327. TJ remains the cornerstone of Rawls s reputation. substantive work in legal and political philosophy. which reveals Rawls s thorough study of economics as well as his internalization of themes from the philosophers covered in his teaching. Two Concepts of Rules (1955). Hart had made progress in legal philosophy by connecting the idea of social practices with the institutions of the law. he replaced it with what was for a philosopher a more practically oriented task: that of characterizing a general method of moral decision making. Rawls inspired many who have become influential interpreters of these philosophers. Rousseau. Rawls s second published essay. Mill. being named a University Professor in 1979. Rawls took up a position in the philosophy department at Harvard in 1962. Throughout his career. Hegel. with exciting. large-scale values. has since been translated into 27 languages. he devoted considerable attention to his teaching. This project first took the form of a series of widely-discussed articles about justice published between 1958 and 1969. Kant. Rawls met a brilliant historian of political thought someone who.A. Cf. uses a conception of social practices influenced by Hart to explore a kind of rule-utilitarianism. such as liberty (which he distinguished as either negative or positive) and equality. In Isaiah Berlin.L.moral concepts. Rawls s Mature Work: A Theory of Justice (1971) . While there are those who would claim a greater originality for Political Liberalism. There he remained. Rawls focused meticulously on great philosophers of the past Locke. In his lectures on moral and political philosophy. during a year (1952-3) as a Fulbright Fellow in Oxford. Berlin influentially traced the historical careers of competing. and others always approaching them deferentially and with an eye to what we can learn from them.. This was an early attempt to tackle the central question of Rawls s mature theory: what sort of decision procedure can we imagine that would help us resolve disputed claims in a fair way? Of equal significance to Rawls s turn away from conceptual analysis and towards a more practical conception of moral philosophy was his encounter. Hume. had been driven away from philosophy by the aridity of mid-century conceptual analysis. (1951). by his own account. The initial publication of A Theory of Justice in 1971 brought Rawls considerable renown. Mentor to countless graduate students over the years. After teaching at Cornell and MIT. Part of this dissertation work was the basis of his first published article. Marx. Hart and Isaiah Berlin. Outline of a Decision Procedure for Ethics. Leibniz. Rawls embarked on what was to become a life-long project of finding a coherent and attractive way of combining freedom and equality into one conception of political justice. This complex book. Not long after his time in Oxford. Compare TJ at 48n.

however. Utilitarianism as the Principal Opponent Rawls explains in the Preface to the first edition of TJ that one of the book s main aims is to provide a workable and systematic moral conception to oppose utilitarianism. it fails to take seriously the distinction between persons. The Basic Structure of Society The subject matter of Rawls s theory is societal practices and institutions. b. Once society has been organized around a set of fair rules. PL at 258. the 19th century theory of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. its recurrence will be eternal. Classical utilitarianism. Others can foster alienation and exploitation. TJ at 24. The more modern version is average utilitarianism. About classical utilitarianism. but rather its average level in society. His critique of average utilitarianism will be described below. people can set about freely playing the game. While fair institutions will influence the life chances of everyone in society. Rawls also offered some highly influential criticisms of utilitarianism. The Original Position . he suggests.a. is to be addressed as a background matter by constitutional and legal provisions that structure social institutions. Utilitarianism historically dominated the landscape of moral philosophy. Utilitarianism comes in various forms. often being refuted. In addition to developing that constructive alternative. and how they assign fundamental rights and duties and shape the division of advantages that arises through social cooperation. they will leave individuals free to exercise their basic liberties as they see fit within this fair set of rules. The utilitarian idea. as Rawls confronts it. c. which asks us not to maximize the amount of good or happiness. he famously complains that it adopt[s] for society as a whole the principle of choice for one man. Rawls takes as the subject matter of TJ the basic structure of society. that we should put all our effort into seeing to it that the rules of the game are fair. is that society is to be arranged so as to maximize (the total or average) aggregate utility or expected well-being. is the philosophy of the greatest good of the greatest number. To carry out this central idea. or a fair distribution of advantages. defined (as he later put it) as the way in which the major social institutions fit together into one system. Is there a way of organizing society that can keep these problems within livable limits? Can society be organized around fair principles of cooperation in a way the people would stably accept? Rawls s original thought is that equality. TJ at xvii. in effect. Some social institutions can provoke envy and resentment. Rawls s suggestion is. Rawls s view was that until a sufficiently complete and systematic alternative is put on the table to compete with utilitarianism. without interference. but always rising again from the ashes. In so doing.

but moderately so and (b) that there is. is to see which principles would be chosen in a fair set-up. which principally include (a) the fact that material goods are scarce. The idea is to help justify a set of principles of social justice by showing that they would be selected in the OP. the social contract was sometimes described as if it were an actual historical event. Rawls s social-contract device. . The OP is a thought experiment that asks: what principles of social justice would be chosen by parties thoroughly knowledgeable about human affairs in general but wholly deprived by the veil of ignorance of information about the particular person or persons they represent? i. we must offer the parties a menu of principles to choose from. 22. It also isolates the parties choice from the contingencies the sheer luck underlying the variations in people s natural abilities and talents. TJ at sec. The veil of ignorance plays a crucial role in this set-up. alienation. their social backgrounds. He insists there that it is up to the theorist to construct the social-contract thought-experiment in the way that makes the most sense given its task of helping us select principles of justice. TJ at sec. To use the OP this way. Rousseau. Rawls has the parties simply assume that it is characterized by the circumstances of justice.Recognizing that social institutions distort our views (by sometimes generating envy. PL at 75. Especially because of its frankly hypothetical nature. or false consciousness) and bias matters in their own favor (by indoctrinating and habituating those who grow up under them). Rawls saw the need for a justificatory device that would give us critical distance from them. religious. While Rawls is most emphatic about this in his later work. 23. a plurality of worldviews conceptions of the good moral. TJ at 230-32. It assures that each party to the choice is equally or symmetrically situated. TJ at 10. The OP is accordingly set up to build in the moral conditions deemed necessary for the resulting choice to be fair and to insulate the results from the influence of the extant social order. and secular. the fulcrum he uses to obtain critical leverage. resentment. TJ at 116. such as John Locke s Second Treatise of Civil Government(1690). Rawls offers them various principles to consider. rather. as Rawls designs it. is frankly and completely hypothetical. e. 121. Rawls s OP carries to a higher level of abstraction the familiar theory of the social contract as found. say in Locke. with none enjoying greater power (or threat advantage ) than any other. within society. and Kant. About their society. self-consciously builds on the long social-contract tradition in Western political philosophy. classical and average. The point of the thought experiment. it is clear already inTJ. and their particular society s historical circumstances. The Conditions and Purpose of the Original Position The OP. By contrast. Among them are his own principles (to be described below) and the two versions of utilitarianism. In classic presentations. like his earlier decision procedure. It would be too fanciful to think of the parties to the OP as having the capacity to invent principles.g. The original position (OP) is his Archimedean Point.

Rawls suggests. The most crucial difference concerns the motivation that is attributed to the parties by stipulation. Given Rawls s opposition to utilitarianism. for whom they are. both the sympathetic-spectator tradition in ethics. Rawls instead defines the parties as having a determinate set of motivations. and reaction against. as with the motivations ascribed to the parties. Cf. In their pursuit of the primary goods. TJ at 152. but. The veil deprives the parties of any knowledge of the values the conception of the good of the person into whose shoes they are to imagine stepping. however. The parties are motivated neither by benevolence nor by envy or spite. The Motivations of the Parties to the Original Position The parties in the hypothetical OP are to choose on behalf of persons in society. What. and opportunities. his answer is somewhat mysterious. the ascription of mutual disinterest is not intended to mirror human nature. commitments or aversions of those persons. liberties. TJ at 123. the parties are defined as being mutually disinterested: each is motivated to obtain as many primary goods as he or she can and is does not care if other attain primary goods. trustees. To give the parties a definite basis on which to reason. The veil of ignorance. its parties will not prefer average utilitarianism to Rawls s competing principles. they will therefore want to maximize the average level of well-being in society. They also know nothing particular about the society for which they are choosing.The crux of Rawls s appeal to the OP is whether he can show that the parties will prefer his principles to average utilitarianism. ii. it would be ironic if Rawls s thought experiment supported it. 106. Harsanyi (1953) Since they do not know who they will be. however. exemplified by David Hume and . then. can the parties choose? To ascribe to them a full theory of the human good would fly in the face of the facts of pluralism. Would rational parties behind a veil of ignorance choose average utilitarianism? The economist John Harsanyi argues that they would because it would be rational for parties lacking any other information to maximize their expectation of well-being. At the core of these are what he calls the primary goods: rights. Many commentators think that this assumption of the parties mutual disinterest reflects an unattractively individualistic view of human nature. On what basis. we should ascribe to them a thinner or less controversial set of commitments. The assumption of mutual disinterest reflects Rawls s development of. Rawls postulates that the parties normally prefer more primary goods rather than less. prevents the parties from knowing anything particular about the preferences. Instead. PL at 76. This is the only motivation that TJ ascribes to the parties. and the social bases of self-respect. TJ at 12. are they to prefer? Since Harsanyi refuses to supply his parties with any definite motivation. then. likes or dislikes. Because Rawls s OP differs from Harsanyi s choice situation in important ways. in effect. income and wealth. for such theories are deeply controversial.

observer of the human scene. which can be boiled down to this: either they involve neglecting the separateness of persons (in roughly the same way that utilitarianism does when it adds up everyone s happiness). Although this claim seems quite modest. Each of these approaches asks us to imagine what such a spectator or observer would morally approve. The former tradition attempts to imagine the point of view of a fully benevolent spectator of the human scene who reacts impartially and sympathetically to all human travails and successes. philosophers rebutted it by describing life plans or worldviews for which one or another of the primary goods is not useful. it is important to attend to Rawls s rationale for giving this motivation to the parties. Rawls raises a number of objections. By insisting. if they seek to avoid utilitarian aggregation. This combination. 16. TJ at 166. See CP essays 13. TJ at 128. he argues. TJ at 54. The primary goods are supposed to be uncontroversially worth seeking. These Kantian ideas ended up providing a new rationale for the primary goods. rather. the definite positive motivations that Rawls ascribes to the parties are crucial to explaining why they will prefer his principles to average utilitarianism. Against these theories. Because the parties motivations are essential to the arguments bearing on this central philosophical contest. As we will see. Rawls was determined to get beyond this impasse. 23. Kant argued. The ideal-observer theory typically imagines a somewhat more dispassionate or impersonal. TJ at 164. and the more recent ideal-observer theory. making it central to his teaching of the subject. He suggests that the OP should combine the mutualdisinterest assumption with the veil of ignorance. all difficult questions of human conflict will be simply reproduced within the sympathetic spectator s breast. the moral law is a law that . they will find that benevolence is at sea as long as its many loves are in opposition in the persons of it many objects. TJ aims to build on Kant s central ideas and to improve on them in certain respects. TJ at sec. but still omniscient. as against utilitarianism.Adam Smith. or. Kantian Influence and Interpretation of the Original Position Rawls had long admired Immanuel Kant s moral philosophy. Kant held that the true principles of morality are not imposed on us by our psyches or by eternal conceptual relations that hold true independently of us. on the separateness of persons. Rawls carries on Kant s theme of respect for persons. At roughly the same time. will achieve the rough moral equivalence of universal benevolence without either neglecting the separateness of persons or sacrificing definiteness of results. These counterexamples revealed the need for a different rationale for the primary goods. albeit not for their own sakes. TJ presented the primary goods simply as goods that normally have a use whatever a person s plan of life. Initially. In other words. 41. iii. Rawls began to develop further the Kantian strand in his view.

Rawls s attempt to solve the problem of expression also led him towards a fuller articulation of the parties motivations. Rawls addresses the issue of abstractness in many ways perhaps most fundamentally by dropping Kant s aim of finding an a priori basis for morality. as against Kant. Rather. reasonable and rational person. Reasonableness enters the OP not principally by the rationality of the parties but by the constraints on them most especially the veil of ignorance. The parties to the OP.Once it is so set up the parties are to choose principles. Another feature that reduces the abstractness of Rawls s view is his focus on institutions on the basic structure of society. his claim is that the rational (or vernünftig) nature that each person shares shapes a single moral law. To be autonomous. he insists. In this light. Rawls suggests that the OP well models Kant s central ideas. Smith or Mr. The OP. such as the formal constraints of the concept of right. An intermediate step in this direction is his characterization of our three highest-order powers. TJ at 44. Kant s position is not that morality requires whatever Ms. for they are equally situated and are rational by definition. In designing the OP. valid for all: the categorical imperative. TJ at sec. in selecting principles. namely our freedom to endorse principles in a way that is not controlled by the historical contingencies of the society into which we are born. Although Rawls s use of the veil of ignorance keeps particular facts at a distance. our nature as free and equal reasonable and rational beings. that moral theory must be free to use contingent assumptions and general facts as it pleases. ascribing to them certain highest-order interests. The veil also expresses (or models ) a crucial aspect of our freedom. Rawls also aimed to resolve what he took to be two crucial difficulties with Kant s moral theory: the danger of empty abstractness early stressed by Hegel and the difficulty of assuring that the moral law s dictates adequately express. TJ at 226. a law adequate to one s nature as a free and equal. Their task of choosing principles thus models the idea of autonomy. The rational corresponds to .our reason gives to itself. the moral powers that persons haveas reasonable and rational beings. self-chosen or autonomous law. The OP also addresses the second problem with Kant s moral theory the problem of expression. for Kant. Jones chooses to believe it does. The OP is set up so that the parties reflect our nature as reasonable and rational Rawls s dual way of rendering the Kantian adjective vernünftig. in this sense. is to act on a law that one gives oneself. How they represent equality and rationality are obvious. we can see his institutional focus as carrying forward Hegel s insight that the idea of human freedom can achieve an adequately concrete realization only by a unified social structure of a certain kind. 23. may be viewed as a procedural interpretation of Kant s conception of autonomy and the categorical imperative within the framework of an empirical theory. They are also constrained in ways not yet mentioned and that we shall not discuss further. TJ at 225. It is. implement this idea of autonomy. as Kant thought they must. Rawls suggests.

In Political Liberalism. Rawls s assumptions about the motivations of the parties involve frankly moral content and are justified on openly moral grounds. by extension. about those persons ability to pursue what they particularly care about or are committed to. there is. the reasonable corresponds to Kant s categorical imperative. In addition to providing a new rationale for the primary goods. Third. In addition. This is to cast the primary goods as items objectively needed by moral persons occupying the role of free and equal citizens. complicated ways. the motivation of the parties is importantly extended by postulating that these hypothetical beings care about the moral powers of persons in society and also. we can also revise our ends when we see reason to do so. Rawls describes the motivation as: The parties in the original position have no direct interests except an interest in the person each of them represents and they assess principles of justice in terms of primary goods. While the list of primary goods may not be a perfect or complete account of what is needed to support this aspect of moral personality. This Kantian conception of the powers of reasonable and rational persons directly supports Rawls s later account of the motivations of the parties. To conceive of persons as reasonable and rational. in his later work. is to conceive of them as having certain higher-order powers. Rawls claims that it is the best available account that we can muster in the face of the fact of reasonable pluralism. Second. Rawls defends the primary goods as being required for free and equal citizens to promote and protect their three moral powers. PL at 188-9. then. in his later work. Rawls s account of the moral powers explains why it makes sense to postulate that the parties are motivated to secure the primary goods. PL at 105-6. the power to frame our ends our conception of the good and to pursue it by selecting effective means to satisfying them. we have the power or capacity to act from an effective sense of justice: we can do the right thing. as he had always avowed. relatively fixed points among our . they are concerned with securing for the person they represent the higher-order interests we have in developing and exercising our moral powers and in securing the conditions under which we can further our determinate conceptions of the good. nonetheless. Here. first. Rawls s account of the moral powers also became. On the side of the rational. whatever it is. it is only in his later works that Rawls uses this idea to defend and elaborate the motivation of the parties in the OP. irrespective of what our ends are. the moral law that demands that we do the right thing. His aim remains. to assemble in the OP a series of relatively uncontroversial. on the side of the reasonable. Although the account of the moral powers was present in TJ.Kant s hypothetical imperative with its directive to take effective means to one s ends. The parties are conceived as having highest-order interests that correspond directly to these highest-order powers. In various. a basis for elaborating the motivations ascribed to the parties.

Secondly. and in general social advantages. the question whether the parties will insist upon securing a scheme of equal basic liberties and upon giving them top priority. (That the view adequately secures the social basis of self-respect is something that Rawls argues more holistically). assuming that they will. He refers to the two principles of Justice as Fairness. They further know. PL at 5. e. as a general fact about human beings. . wealth. Making the latter choice. the principle of Fair Equality of Opportunity concerns opportunities. TJ at 107. or else should be addressed in a utilitarian way. The Principles of Justice as Fairness Justice as Fairness is Rawls s name for the set of principles he defends in TJ. Each of these parts of the argument from the OP is considerably aided by the clarified account of the primary goods that emerges in Rawls s later work and that has been set out above in the section on the motivation of the parties to the OP. The second part of the second principle is the famous or infamous Difference Principle. Regarding the first part of the argument from the OP. It holds that society must assure each citizen an equal claim to a fully adequate scheme of equal basic rights and liberties. The second principle addresses instead those aspects of the basic structure that shape the distribution of opportunities. comprising Fair Equality of Opportunity and the Difference Principle. which scheme is compatible with the same scheme for all. It holds that social and economic inequalities are to be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society. The Argument from the Original Position The argument that the parties in the OP will prefer Justice as Fairness to utilitarianism and to the various other alternative principles with which they are presented divides into two parts. TJ at 477-8. offices. the crucial point is that the parties are stipulated to care about rights and liberties. PL at 6. d. and so inserting utilitarianism into a position subordinate to the First Principle. yields what Rawls calls a mixed conception. there remains the question whether social inequalities should be governed by Rawls s second principle. and the Difference Principle primarily concerns income and wealth. income. but the second has two parts.considered moral judgments and to build an argument on that basis for the superiority of some principles of justice over others. Each of these three centrally addresses a different set of primary goods: the First Principle concerns rights and liberties. first. These principles address two different aspects of the basic structure of society: the First Principle addresses the essentials of the constitutional structure. The first part of the second principle holds that the social structures that shape this distribution must satisfy the requirements of fair equality of opportunity. There is. that the determinate persons on whose behalf they are choosing are likely to have firmly and deeply-held religious.

he argues that securing the First Principle importantly serves the higher-order interest in an effective sense of justice and does so better than the pure utilitarian alternative by better promoting social stability. First. The second part of the argument from the OP takes the First Principle for granted and addresses the matter of social inequalities. He argues that protecting one s ability to exercise one s highest-order power to change one s mind about such things requires an adequate scheme of basic liberties. the expectations that matter are not those of particular people but those of representative members of broad social classes. the parties will realize that society might depart from this starting point by instituting a system of social rules that differentially reward the especially productive and could achieve results that are better for everyone than are the results under rules guaranteeing full equality. Rawls admits that persons deeply-held views are not always set in stone. Accordingly. In addition. for instance. Three main refinements are worth noting. PL at 311. to make his exposition a little simpler.philosophical. PL at 317-24. Since they know all the general facts about human societies. mutual respect. It is the Difference Principle that would most clearly demand deep reforms in existing societies. This is the kind of inequality that the Difference Principle allows and requires: departures from full equality that make some better off and no one worse off. informal argument for the difference principle: because equality is an ideal fundamentally relevant to the idea of fair cooperation. PL at 311 They also have a higher-order interest in protecting these persons abilities to advance these conceptions. Its sticking point has always been the Difference Principle. on the possibility that those they represent espouse a majority or dominant religion. which strikingly and influentially articulates a liberal-egalitarian socioeconomic position. Second. however. the OP situates the parties symmetrically and deprives them of information that could distinguish them or allow one to gain bargaining advantage over another. Rawls s statement of the principle is more careful and precise. they cannot take chances by permitting a lesser liberty of conscience to minority religions. and social unity. the parties will consider the situation of equal distribution a reasonable starting point in their deliberations. Rawls makes some technical assumptions that let him focus only on the expectations of the least-well-off representative class in a given society. PL at 312-3. say. it is far less controversial. the possibility of increasing the inequality between the rich and the middle-class . Given this set-up. both in theory and in practice. The set-up of the OP suggests the following. While there are questions about Rawls s precise formulation and implementation of the principle of Fair Equality of Opportunity. While this is the intuitive idea behind the Difference Principle. because the principle pertains to the basic structure of society and because the parties are comparing different societies organized around different principles. but he insists that not all circumstances in which they may change are morally acceptable. and moral views. (These assumptions of close-knitness and chain-connection enable him to ignore.

It is markedly different from the rule of maximizing expected value. The Difference Principle requires society to look out for the least well off. from the point of view of which Rawls s argument for the Difference Principle appeared to be a plain mistake.TJ at 72. the more averaging sort of rule that Harsanyi s parties employ. This formulation already takes account of the third refinement. it would be irrational to choose the Difference Principle. they will naturally choose any principle that will maximize their utility expectation. he defends them as versatile means. version of the Difference Principle. which recognizes that the people who are the worst off under one set of social arrangements may not be the same people as those who are worst off under some other set of social arrangements. PL at 7n. Applied to the theory of social justice. It took a while for commentators to grasp the degree to which Rawls s characterization of the OP departed from the much simpler one favored by Harsanyi. Rawls departs from Harsanyi s version of the thought experiment by attributing a determinate motivation to the parties. Rawls s interpretation of the OP matters. In laying out the reasoning that favors the Difference Principle. or lexical. Yet as we have seen.without affecting those on the bottom. Harsanyi s parties. the Difference Principle thus holds that social rules allowing for inequalities in income and wealth are acceptable just in case those who are least well off under those rules are better off than the least-well-off representative persons under any alternative sets of social rules. to average utilitarianism. of their conceptions of the good. they are barepersons. For parties like Harsanyi s. With this departure from Harsanyi in mind. Rawls argues that the parties will have reason to use the maximin rule. In the later theory. maximin is an approach a person would choose for the design of a society in which his enemy is to assign him his place. With nothing but the bare idea of rationality to guide them. lack any determinate motivation: as Rawls puts it. The maximin rule directs one to select that alternative where the minimum place is higher (on whatever the relevant measure is) than the minimum place in any other alternative. Cf. we may finally explain why the parties in the OP will prefer the principles of Justice as Fairness. Since this is what the principle of Average Utilitarianism does. . But would the parties to the OP prefer the Difference Principle to a utilitarian principle of distribution? Here. Rawls offers a multi-tiered. Rather. Allowed by these simplifying assumptions to focus only on the least well off representative persons. they will choose it. the primary goods are defended as facilitating the pursuit and revision. while denying that an index of the primary goods provides an interpretation of what the parties conceive to be good. including the Difference Principle. they do care about whether the persons they represent can pursue and revise them. The maximin rule is a general rule for making choices under conditions of uncertainty. TJ at 133. While the parties do not know what those conceptions of the good are. For those who find these simplifying assumptions too restrictive. TJ at 152. by the persons the parties represent. Rawls never defends the primary goods as goods in themselves.

on reflection. however. If the parties knew they had in hand an adequate sketch of the good. TJ at 152. If it does. TJ at 42. it suggested a different approach to justifying moral theories than was being commonly pursued. TJ at 18. If those results clash with some of our more concrete considered judgments about justice. The idea of reflective equilibrium takes two steps away from the sort of conceptual analysis that was then prevalent. Rawls wrote. then we have reason to think about modifying the OP. but they also know. They must do what they can to assure to the persons they represent have a sufficient supply of primary goods for those persons to be able to pursue whatever it is that they do take to be good. But Rawls s parties instead know that the primary goods that they are motivated to seek do not adequately matchanyone s conception of the good. accept. in effect. Accordingly. the parties will give special importance to protecting the persons they represent against social allocations of primary goods that might frustrate those persons ability to pursue their determinate conceptions of the good. we shall find a description of the initial situation that matches out considered judgments duly pruned and adjusted. Accordingly. Eventually. he foresaw the need to work from both ends. The reflective equilibrium has been an immensely influential idea about moral justification. we can endorse the results of the OP. When it was introduced. They care about the primary goods and the highest-order moral powers. Reflective Equilibrium Although the OP attempts to collect and express a set of crucial constraints that are appropriate to impose on the choice of principles of justice. Alternatively and this is what Rawls means by working from both ends instead of modifying the OP. they might use that to assess the gamble they face. What matters. we need to stop and consider whether. the sort of pruning and adjusting that Rawls . in fact. f. Ibid. It is not a full theory of justification. TJ at 19. we might decide that the argument from the OP gives us good reason to modify the considered judgments of justice with which its conclusions clash. choosing in a maximizing way like Harsanyi s parties. that the primary goods that they are motivated to seek are not what the persons they represent ultimately care about. working on the basis of considered judgments suggests that it is not necessary to build moral theories on necessary or a priori premises. Rawls recognized from the beginning that we could never just hand over the endorsement of those principles to this hypothetical device. Second. Rawls characterizes considered judgments as simply judgments reached under conditions where our sense of justice is likely to operate without distortion. rather. is whether the premises are ones that we do. That is. pruning and adjusting things as we go.The parties to Rawls s OP are not bare-persons but determinate-persons. we may hope that this process reaches a reflective equilibrium. Rather. it is rational for them to take a cautious approach. First.

He held that no one deserves the social position into which he or she is born or the physical characteristics with which he or she is endowed from birth. g. recurs in PL. He also held that no one deserves the character traits he or she is born with. The natural distribution is neither just nor unjust. Since it is up to each person. There is hardly space here even to summarize all the worthwhile points that Rawls makes about these topics. the hope is that each person will reach a reflective equilibrium that coincides with every other person s. and the justification of civil disobedience. that of tolerating the intolerant. A third novel idea about justification thus emerges from this picture: it involves arguments built in various different directions at once. Rawls writes that objections by way of counterexample are to be made with care. In Part Two. Rawls stresses that the reader must make up his or her own mind. the problem of justice between generations. TJ at 44. The resulting justification. getting what one deserves). Rawls suggests pruning and adjusting those judgments in a number of places. Checking a theory s fit with one s more concrete considered judgments is only a way-station on the route to reflective equilibrium. As he wrote. In addition to serving its main purpose of facilitating reflective equilibrium on Justice as Fairness. however. such as his or her capacity for hard work. As we have seen. is a matter of the mutual support of many considerations. Rawls was deeply aware of the moral arbitrariness of fortune. will illustrate how he proceeds. as Rawls puts it. These are simply natural facts. What is just and unjust is the way that institutions deal with these facts. A summary of his controversial and influential discussion of the idea of desert (i. such as the idea of the rule of law. One of the thorniest such issues. Eventually. to determine which arguments are most compelling. Reaching it might involve revising some of those more concrete judgments. we tend to think that people who work harder deserve to be rewarded for their . TJ at 87. Rawls sets out to square this stance on the moral arbitrariness of fortune with our considered judgments about desert. 507. however. For instance. which do hold that desert is relevant to distributive claims. rather than trying to predict or anticipate what everyone else will think.assumes will be involved in the search for reflective equilibrium implies that theories need not aim for a perfect fit with theory-independent data. Just Institutions Part Two of TJ aims to show that Justice as Fairness fits our considered judgments on a whole range of more concrete topics in moral and political philosophy. Part Two also offers a treasure trove of influential and insightful discussion of these and other topics in political philosophy. TJ at 45. Consistent with the idea of reflective equilibrium. nor is it unjust that persons are born into society at some particular position.e. TJ at 19. Whereas the practitioners of conceptual analysis had raised to a fine art the method of generating counterexamples to a general theory.

When they are qualified in line with this presupposition. he uses the term legitimate expectations as a term of art to express the claims of desert appropriately so qualified. Rawls argues. Are they set up so as to assure. and that when they are. he suggests. whether or not they deserved those talents in the first place. Rawls does not disagree. h. an appropriate relationship between effort and reward? It is this justice of the basic structure that is Rawls s topic. but he clarifies them by responding to them dialectically. (This dialectical clarification of the moral import of desert. Rawls s alternative proposal is that the common-sense precepts about desert generally presuppose that the basic structure of society is itself fair. With these common-sense precepts of justice. Stability In pursuing his novel topic of the justice of the basic structure of society. Rawls posed novel questions. define the property claims and transfer rules that make up the marketplace are just. . in Part Three of TJ. If any set of institutions realizing a given set of principles were inherently unstable. A crucial idea of Justice as Fairness is that fundamental principles of justice must be respected for the rules of social cooperation to be fair. Accordingly. that whether one deserves the compensation one can command in the job marketplace. that would suggest a need to revise those principles. depends on whether the basic social institutions are fair. to say that desert is a direct basis for distributional claims even if the socio-economic system is unfair. Unstable institutions would not secure the liberties. and opportunities that the parties care about. however. See Robert Nozick (1974). One set of questions concerned what he calls the stability of those societies whose institutions live up to the requirements of a given set of principles of justice. TJ at sec. however. Rawls argues. We may also think that the talented deserve to be rewarded for the use of their talents. and taxation that. among other things. contract law. Rawls supports them. rights. He questions whether these common-sense claims are meant to stand independently of any assumptions about whether or not the basic institutions of society especially those institutions of property law. that institutions embodying Justice as Fairness would be stable even more stable than institutions embodying the utilitarian principle. It is unreasonable.effort. for instance. It is much more reasonable to hold. 48. To prevent the unqualified and the qualified claims from being confused with each other. The stability of the institutions called for by a given set of principles of justice their ability to endure over time and to re-establish themselves after temporary disturbances is a quality those principles must have if they are to serve their purposes. we should allow the free operation of the market largely to determine people s legitimate expectations. did not satisfy all commentators. in effect. TJ at 398-400..

In TJ. 8. Stability of a kind might be achieved by arranging a stand-off of opposing but equal armies. for instance. he later came to think that this account violated the assumption of pluralism. say. the stability question he asks concerns whether. Rawls describes the gradual development of individuals senses of justice as involving three stages: the morality of authority. PL at lxii. In order to address the first of these issues. SeeCP at 232-5. Congruence . the morality of association. CP at 398. to think of fairness in terms of the principles of Justice as Fairness. that the reasons on the basis of which the citizens accept the principles are reasons affirmed by those very principles. TJat chap. i. in a society that conforms to the principles. In order to standardize the terms of comparison. about the strength of the sense of justice. Rather. 80-81. the account of stability for the right reasons involved imagining that this wholeheartedness arose from individuals being thoroughly educated. Assessing the comparative stability of alternative well-ordered societies requires a complex imaginative effort at tracing likely phenomena of social psychology. and the morality of principles.In addressing the question of stability. Rawls never leaves behind the perspective of moral justification. Wholeheartedness will require. PL at xxxix. As we will see. Cf. The gist of it is that the relevant principles of justice are publicly accepted by everyone and that the basic social institutions are publicly known (or believed with good reason) to satisfy those principles. One conception of justice is more stable than another if the sense of justice that it tends to generate is stronger and more likely to override disruptive inclinations and if the institutions it allows foster weaker impulses and temptations to act justly. citizens can wholeheartedly accept those principles. The results of such a balance of power are not of interest to Rawls. an enlightened and ideally-run set of institutions embodying Justice as Fairness with the stupidest possible set of institutions compatible with the utilitarian principle. As Rawls comments. TJ at secs. which is fostered in families. Rawls discusses only the well-ordered societies corresponding to each of the rival sets of principles. along Kantian lines. He argues that each of these stages of moral education will work more effectively under Justice as Fairness than it will under utilitarianism. He also argues that a society organized around the two principles of Justice as Fairness will be less prone to the disruptive effects of envy than will a utilitarian society. Chapter VIII develops a rich and somewhat original account of moral education. Drawing upon empirical research in developmental psychology. The imaginative exercise of assessing the comparative stability of different principles would be useless and unfair if one were to compare. If stability can be grounded on such wholeheartedly moral reasons as opposed to ulterior reasons then it is stability for the right reasons. PL at xlii. His notion of a well-ordered society is complex.

If. in the wellordered society. each of which may be presumed to be of value to just about everyone: (i) the development and exercise of complex talents (which Rawls s Aristotelian Principle presumes to be a good for human beings). With regard to autonomy. that support the just institutions of that society. or expected to do. TJ at sec. (Not long after TJ was published. TJ at 359-72. TJ develops an account of the good for individuals. Rawls argues that the type of objectivity claimed for the principles of Justice as Fairness is not at odds with the idea of the autonomous establishment of principles. Some of its main threads are pulled together by Samuel Freeman in his contribution to The Cambridge Companion to Rawls. is answerable to certain principles of deliberative rationality. Ironically. 78. but within the well-ordered society of Justice as Fairness. to supplement the positive argument flowing from the Kantian interpretation of the OP. TJ at 462. the veil of ignorance disconnects the argument from the OP from any given individual s full conception of the good.g. and the like (whichever rider is appropriate). then there is a match between justice and goodness that Rawls calls congruence. (iii) community. He further argues that Justice as Fairness supports the kind of tightlyknit community he calls a social union of social unions. This idea. Rawls influentially developed and deployed the notion of a life plan. these ways are hardly trivial. TJ at 350. Rawls s argument for congruence is spread out across many sections of TJ.As we have seen. having those attitudes is also a good for the persons who have them. TJ at 374. Rawls starts from the suggestion that A is a good X if and only if A has the properties (to a higher degree than the average or standard X) which it is rational to want in an X. (ii) autonomy. Chapter VII of TJ. Sandel (1998). developed in dialogue with the leading alternatives from the middle of the 20th century. and (iv) the unity of the self. It appeals to at least four types of intermediate good. Freeman (2003). A rational plan of life for an individual. he argued. the communitarian critique focused largely on Parts One and . E. marked by the shared purpose or common aim of cooperating together to realize their own and another s nature in ways allowed by the principles of justice. not in general. in fact. Rawls s argument for congruence that having an effective sense of justice built around the principles of Justice as Fairness will be a good for each individual is a complex and philosophically deep one. The final question addressed by TJ attempts to reconnect justice to each individual s good. still repays attention. TJ at 350-1. A stable society is one that generates attitudes. it came under attack by a set of critics who identified themselves as communitarians. MacIntyre (1984). If Rawls is right about the congruence of goodness and justice. In order to address this question of congruence. such as are encapsulated in an effective sense of justice. develops a quite general theory of goodness called goodness as rationality and then applies it to the special case of the good of an individual over a complete life. To work out this suggestion for the case of the good for persons. These Rawls sets out in a low-key way that masks the power and originality of his formulations. given what X s are used for.

instead. 83-85. his intelligence. Rousseau and Kant. He notes the advantages of a conception of the unity of the self that hangs. Rawls offers a model of a fair choice situation (the original position with its veil of ignorance) within which parties would hypothetically choose mutually acceptable principles of justice. Principles of justice are sought to guide the conduct of the parties. on the regulative status of principles of justice. It was originally published in 1971 and revised in both 1975 (for the translated editions) and 1999. but desire to advance them through cooperation with others on mutually acceptable terms. In A Theory of Justice. In TJ.Two of TJ. Rawls criticizes the Procrustean sort of unity that could come from attaching oneself to a single dominant end. and a fair choice situation (closer in spirit to Immanuel Kant) for parties facing such circumstances. including utilitarian and libertarianaccounts. and the unity of the self is to support the claim of Justice as Fairness to congruence. strength. In a well-ordered society corresponding to Justice as Fairness. Specifically. A Theory of Justice is a widely-read book of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls. community. Central to this effort is an account of the circumstances of justice (inspired by David Hume). Rawls argues for a principled reconciliation of liberty and equality. This "veil" is one that essentially blinds people to all facts about themselves that might cloud what notion of justice is developed. Rawls believes that parties would find his favored principles of justice to be especially attractive. However. In A Theory of Justice. giving short shrift to the powerful articulation of this ideal of community in Part Three. Under such constraints. Locke. autonomy. The "original position" Main article: Original position Like Hobbes. and they are neither naturally altruistic nor purely egoistic: they have ends which they seek to advance. and the like. Rawls develops what he claims are principles of justice through the use of an entirely and deliberately artificial device he calls the Original position in which everyone decides principles of justice from behind a veil of ignorance. his class position or social status. Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social contract. regarding the unity of the self. The resultant theory is known as "Justice as Fairness".) Finally. from which Rawls derives his two famous principles of justice: the liberty principle and the difference principle. "no one knows his place in society. Rawls' social contract takes a slightly different view from that of previous thinkers. winning out over varied alternatives. nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities. TJat secs. Rawls belongs to the social contract tradition. Rawls concludes. I shall even . this congruence between justice and goodness is the main basis for concluding that individual citizens will wholeheartedly accept the principles of justice as fairness. These parties face moderate scarcity. an effective sense of justice is a good for the individual who has it. The cumulative effect of these appeals to the development of talent.

means of production) and freedom of contract as understood by the doctrine of laissez-faire are not basic. Rawls seeks to persuade us through argument that the principles of justice that he derives are in fact what wewould agree upon if we were in the hypothetical situation of the original position and that those principles have moral weight as a result of that.[1] The basic liberties of citizens are. Rawls believes that this principle would be a rational choice for the representatives in the original position for the following reason: Each member of society has an equal claim on their society s goods. but rather develop a scheme of justice that treats all fairly. and so they are not protected by the priority of the first principle. What. must be to an equal share in material wealth." According to Rawls. p 11] It is important to keep in mind that the agreement that stems from the original position is both hypothetical and ahistorical. The First Principle of Justice First: each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others. under certain legitimating conditions. to vote and run for office). roughly speaking.. could justify unequal distribution? Rawls argues that inequality is acceptable only if it is to the advantage of those who are worst-off. In particular. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. not what they have agreed to. he is likely not going to privilege any one class of people. liberty of conscience. for example. It is hypothetical in the sense that the principles to be derived are what the parties would. However. so the basic right of any individual.g.assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological propensities. Rawls claims that the parties in the original position would adopt two such principles. It is ahistorical in the sense that it is not supposed that the agreement has ever. before further considerations are taken into account. freedom of speech and assembly. In other words. If an individual does not know how he will end up in his own conceived society. freedom of personal property. which would then govern the assignment of rights and duties and regulate the distribution of social and economic advantages across society. then. he says: liberties not on the list. and freedom from arbitrary arrest.[2] . agree to.e.The difference principle permits inequalities in the distribution of goods only if those inequalities benefit the worst-off members of society. the right to own certain kinds of property (e. political liberty (i. or indeed could actually be entered into as a matter of fact. ignorance of these details about oneself will lead to principles that are fair to all. Rawls claims that those in the Original Position would all adopt a maximin strategy which would maximise the prospects of the least well-off. Natural attributes should not affect this claim. They are the principles that rational and free persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality as defining the fundamentals of the terms of their association [Rawls.

will tend to seriously undermine the value of the political liberties and any measures towards fair equality of opportunity. meaning that at least one of the criteria which could provide an alternative to equality in assessing the justice of distributions is eliminated. distribution. may require greater equality than the difference principle. 1971. thus we are not entitled to all the benefits we could possibly receive from them. pg. even when they are to the advantage of the worst-off. However. however. even for the sake of the second principle. 92] are justified only to the extent that they improve the lot of those who are worst-off under that distribution in comparison with the previous. which stands on its own as an important (if controversial and much criticized) work of political philosophy. and may not be violated. above an unspecified but low level of economic development (i. Rawls is also keying on an intuition that we do not deserve inborn talents. it may be necessary to trade them off against each other for the sake of obtaining the largest possible system of rights. is that inequalities can actually be just on Rawls' view. There is thus some uncertainty as to exactly what is mandated by the principle. [edit]The Second Principle of Justice Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that (Rawls. as long as they are to the benefit of the least well off. An important consequence here. p. b) offices and positions must be open to everyone under conditions of fair equality of opportunity Rawls' claim in a) is that departures from equality of a list of what he calls primary goods 'things which a rational man wants whatever else he wants' [Rawls. . The discussion in this entry is limited to his views as they stood in A Theory of Justice. but that all have reasonable opportunity to acquire the skills on the basis of which merit is assessed. because various basic liberties may conflict. because large social and economic inequalities. and it is possible that a plurality of sets of liberties satisfy its requirements. His position is at least in some sense egalitarian. he modified his theory substantially in subsequent works. equal. under most conditions. His argument for this position rests heavily on the claim that morally arbitrary factors (for example. The stipulation in b) is lexically prior to that in a). the first principle is. It is often thought[by whom?] that this stipulation. the family we're born into) shouldn't determine our life chances or opportunities. lexically prior to the second principle).e. with a proviso that equality is not to be achieved by worsening the position of the least advantaged.The first principle is more or less absolute. 1971.303): a) they are to be of the greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society (the difference principle). [edit]Relationship to Rawls' later work Although Rawls never retreated from the core argument of A Theory of Justice. 'Fair equality of opportunity' requires not merely that offices and positions are distributed on the basis of merit. and even the first principle of justice.

such as Susan Moller Okin. rallying around the theme of 'the personal is political'.[12] Some egalitarian critics have raised concerns over Rawls' emphasis on primary social goods.[13] In a related vein. and in particular. Anarchy. arguing for a right to health care within a broadly Rawlsian framework.[3] Because it is. private property or the market economy. For instance. took Rawls to task for failing to account for injustices found in patriarchal social relations and the gendered division of labor. Rawls' colleague at Harvard. but also how effectively people are able to use those goods to pursue their ends. the two books are now often read together. Another Harvard colleague. In reply Rawls has emphasized the role of the original position as a "device of representation" for making sense of the idea of a fair choice situation for free and equal citizens. Of particular note is his work Justice as Fairness: A Restatement (2001).His subsequent work is discussed in the entry titled John Rawls. Feminists. the use of maximin reasoning. wrote a defence of communitarian political philosophy. Michael Sandel (also a Harvard colleague) wrote Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. Spheres of Justice.[11] Rawls has also emphasized the relatively modest role that maximin plays in his argument: it is "a useful heuristic rule of thumb" given the curious features of choice behind the veil of ignorance. Robert Nozick. Michael Walzer. have also been criticized (most notably by Kenneth Arrow[9] and John Harsanyi). Wolff argues in this work that Rawls' theory is an apology for the status quo insofar as it constructs justice from existing practice and forecloses the possibility that there may be problems of injustice embedded in capitalist social relations. In a related line of criticism. [edit]Critics of A Theory of Justice In 1974.[5] which took Rawls to task for asking us to think about justice while divorcing ourselves from the very values and aspirations that define us. The assumptions of the original position.[4] as a result of a seminar he co-taught with Nozick. in part. which criticized Rawls from a roughly Marxist perspective.[8] largely focused on the extent to which Rawls' theory could account for (if at all) injustices and hierarchies embedded in familial relations. in which he clarified and re-organised much of the argument of A Theory of Justice. State. published a defense of libertarian justice. and Utopia. a reaction to A Theory of Justice. especially in the household.[10] with the implication either that Rawls designed the original position to derive the two principles.[14] and some of his subsequent work has addressed this question. Amartya Sen has argued that we should attend not only to the distribution of primary goods. or that an original position more faithful to its initial purpose would not lead to his favored principles.[6] Robert Paul Wolff wrote Understanding Rawls: A Critique and Reconstruction of A Theory of Justice[7] immediately following the publication ofA Theory of Justice. Rawls argued that justice ought only to apply to the "basic structure of society". . Norman Daniels has wondered why healthcare shouldn't be treated as a primary good. Feminist critics of Rawls. Sandel's line of argument in part draws on critiques of Rawls advanced by both Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre who argue for the importance that moral ontologies have on ethical arguments.

. Philosopher and Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen. Recent criticisms of Rawls' theory have come from the philosopher G. and against Rawlsian fetishism with primary goods (again. criticized Rawls for failing to account for the existence of natural right in his theory of justice. against his application of the principle only to social institutions. Cohen's series of influential papers culminated in his book. the metric which Rawls chooses as his currency of equality). Cohen.Philosopher Allan Bloom. critiques and attempts to revitalize A Theory of Justice in his 2009 book The Idea of Justice. and wrote that Rawls absolutizes social union as the ultimate goal which would conventionalize everything into artifice. Sen claims that there are multiple possible outcomes of the reflective equilibrium behind the veil of ignorance.A. How Come You're So Rich? Cohen's criticisms are leveled against Rawls' avowal of inequality under the difference principle. If You're An Egalitarian. a former student of Rawls'. a student of Leo Strauss. He defends the basic notion of justice as fairness but attacks the notion that the two principles of justice emerging from the Original position are necessary.

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