Rawls Theory Of Justice

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In A Theory of Justice, Rawls describes justice as “the first virtue of social institutions”, and as a matter of fairness. He sets out his aim for a theory building on the social contract idea, as a feasible alternative to classical utilitarian conceptions of justice (Rawls, 1971, p. 3). In seeking an alternative to utilitarianism, Rawls argues against what he regards as the prevailing dominant theory. He comments that in the utilitarian view of justice “it does not matter, except indirectly, how the sum of satisfactions is distributed among individuals” (Idis, p. 23). In other words, utilitarianism does not take seriously the distinction between individuals (categorizing everyone in one branch). In this respect, one could say that it pays…show more content…
He identifies the basic structure of society as the primary subject of justice and considers justice a matter of the organization and internal divisions of a society. Therefore, justice is the most important political value and applies to the basic institutions of society. The form of a society's basic structure will have profound effects on the lives of citizens. The basic structure will influence not only their life prospects, but more deeply their characters, their goals, their attitudes, and their relationships. Rawls principles of justice articulates the central liberal ideas that the social cooperation (within a society) is necessary for citizens to be able to lead decent lives. It is important that cooperation should be fair to all citizens regarded as free and as equals. For instance, the fact that a citizen was born a white, rich male provides no reason for this individual to be favoured by social institutions over other citizens that are deem different. Thus, all social goods are to be distributed equally, unless an unequal distribution would be to everyone's advantage. So, if a society is a matter of cooperation between equals for mutual advantage, the conditions for this cooperation need to be defended and any inequalities in social positions must be justified. And so, the principles of justice, must be ‘the principles that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality as defining the fundamental terms of their association’ (Idis, 1971, p. 10). Justice, then, is
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