John Rawls Theory Of Justice Essay

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John Rawls developed his theory of justice as an amalgamation of intuitionism and utilitarianism in order to form an acceptable, reasonable dominant paradigm that answered how a state should distribute its social primary goods fairly. While this theory is important in developing and understanding of political philosophy, its failure to be accepted as a dominant paradigm stems from its failure to adequately answer objections from both the political left and right.

Rawlsian Justice is a theory of need-based justice through the approach of justice as fairness. In other words, Rawls says that all individuals should be in a position to achieve their basic needs. From this conception of justice, Rawls attempts to describe the principles of justice upon which the most basic structures of state and society should be based. Through two separate approaches, Rawls formulates one conclusion: the lexically ordered Principles of Justice.

However, since its publication in 1971, Rawls’ theory of justice has been criticised from both the politically left and the right. This is largely because Rawls attempts to satisfy the basic requirements of justice from a need-based, merit-based, and equality-based perspective – he is too ambitious
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Rawls’ conception of need and equality based justice is not satisfied by his principles of justice – his argument is consequentially invalid. While Jerry Cohen recognises that there are strengths within his argument, he objects to a Rawlsian conception of justice based on its failure to extend beyond the basic structure, its incorporation of incentives that undermine justice, and its failure to adequately describe the prerequisites for legitimate inequality without risk of abuse motivated by self-interest of the better
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