John Rawls Is Presented As a Justice Theorist Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

John Rawls' theory…. In his book A Theory of Justice John Rawls offers readers a "Kantian Interpretation" of his "original position," according to an essay in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SAP). First, a review of Rawls' "original position" will set up the explanation of his Kantian link. Rawls posits (in his "original position") that in understanding his philosophy readers should imagine themselves as "…free and equal" and as willing to agree to "commit themselves to the principles of social and political justice" (SAP, p. 1). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy asserts that the "main distinguishing feature" of Rawls' "original position" is "the veil of ignorance" (SEP, p. 1). What that means is that in order to be certain there is a total "impartiality of judgment, the parties are deprived of all knowledge of their personal characteristics and social and historical circumstances" (SEP. p. 1).

In the original position (the "veil of ignorance") the parties are aware of generalized data on biology, economics, and psychology, but now they are impartial when given a list of justice conceptions and asked to choose from among several alternatives regarding the "…conception of justice that best advances their interests" (SEP).

As for Rawls he sees this experiment as producing two principles of justice: a) the first principle "guarantees the equal basic rights and liberties needed to secure the fundamental interests of free and equal citizens"; moreover in the first principle Rawls asserts that people will be able to "…pursue a wide range of conceptions of the good"; and b) the second principle offers "fair equality of educational and employment opportunities" that allows everyone to have a fair shot at competing for the "powers and prerogatives of office" and guarantees at the very minimum that people will be able to achieve their goals and be self-respecting as well as free and equal (SEP, p. 1). Looked at another way, Rawls actually argues that a just society can be imagined as one in which souls, prior to being born, would agree to be thrust into at birth. Their self-interest would be up for grabs because they would not know to what degree they would be successful socially or economically, but that, in Rawls' view, would be based on the "veil of ignorance."

Rawls can be described as a person who to some degree embraces a "Kantian" philosophy" -- although he believes Kant's view on justice fails to show how "moral principles express our nature" (SEP, p. 2). Rawls agrees with Kantian constructivism when Kant argues that judgments based on the actual principles of justice "are true" -- and that includes the "moral rules of…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Brooks, Thom, and Freyenhagen, Fabian. (2005). The Legacy of John Rawls. New York:

Continuum International Publishing Group.

Piccard, Richard. (2003). A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls. Ohio University. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from

Rorty, Richard. (2007). Pragmatism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved February

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