John Rawls: The Theory Of Rational Deduction To Procedural Justice

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According to John Rawls, his ‘A Theory of Justice’ is an attempt to offer a system of justice, which is a viable substitute to the prevalent practice of choosing a deviation of the principle of utilitarianism which is limited by the intuitionism of people (Rawls, viii). This, Rawls reasons, is because despite the sophistication of the various theories of Utilitarianism presented by philosophers like Bentham and Mill, it failed to work out a “systematic moral conception” leaving a difference between the principles of Utility and the moral sentiments of the people (ibid). The alternative system of justice provided by Rawls is an attempt to address this difference with rationality. The function of rationality here is to produce a theory that can consistently provide an explanation for human behaviour and motivation. This alternative system of justice is described as ‘justice as fairness’. The name ‘justice as fairness’ is apt only because the ‘original position’ is fair, hence it becomes the most important methodological device as the principles are a result of a fair agreement or bargain (Rawls, 13). The aim of this paper is to understand ‘justice as fairness’ by rationally deducing it, using the ‘original position’ as the main methodological concept to do so. Thus we can equate this process of rational deduction to procedural justice. This essay is first going to answer the question, what is meant by ‘justice as fairness’, by looking at ‘justice as fairness’ as a conception

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