Rawls: Justice as Fairness


In the theory of justice by Rawls, this philosopher defends a whole new society concept, based on:

– A basic structure (intrinsic value) and the primary purpose of the theory of justice

– a conception of Justice as fairness

– The original position theory (symmetry relations between the partners)

We also have things like coordination, efficiency, stability.

We face the fact of obedience more or less regularly, to have rights and duties, a common life and face the problem of sharing. We have to do a political constitution and an economic and social system. This brings us to a theory of ideal conditions.

The distributional aspects are the basic structure of society.

For what purpose do we have to cooperate cooperation?

The concept of justice is the appropriate balance between competing claims, the concept of justice consists of a set of principles (particularly those of difference and equity). It is the ideal aspect of justice.

Recall the plenoxia Aristotle, or the denial of benefits for oneself.

We have an opposition between individuals and groupe.Nous are faced with a justice as social cooperation.

The main idea of ​​justice is the principles that specify the forms of social cooperation is the theory of justice as fairness.

Cooperation resulting choices of rights and duties that determine the benefits sociaux.Rawls developed his idea for the veil of ignorance (or there is no advantage of chance or contingency). Through the veil of ignorance, no one knows his place in society).

The principles of justice are the result of an agreement in an initial situation it – even fair. We must also consider cooperation and consent to the ability to promote good design, no reason to agree to a permanent loss of satisfaction for himself to increase the total amount. The distribution of benefits should be such that it can lead to the voluntary cooperation of each participant, where the intuitive idea (the well being of each depends on a system of cooperation without which no one can have a satisfying, the worth does not come into account). Utilitarianism is wrong with the cooperation, the principle of utility is incompatible with cooperation.

In the initial situation, we find equality in the allocation of rights and duties as well as basic inequalities are just only if they are offset by the benefits for everyone.

Justice goes beyond the individual and denies the benefit to oneself. The act is right or wrong depending on the institutions asked. This theory has a given field. As an act of justice and individual attitudes and social arrangements.

For an idea of ​​society and an association for cooperation we have two trends:

– Conflict of interest

– identity of interests

We have an association of individuals to increase individual well-being, hence the advantage to cooperate. It is clear that about justice opinions differ, but everyone knows what is right. We are pursuing the same ends so we have a civic friendship.

We try to increase the benefits of the whole society and to spread the benefits. It is necessary to choose a concept and principles of justice to define the laws and institutions for remedial legislation.


Try at this stage to find an example to illustrate the conflict of interests and identity of interests. We leave you to think a little … …

How to properly distribute goods? It is necessary to think how to live in society resulting from this conflict of interest and identity. You have to find an example in the field of work! So imagine the Iron Age, with applicants for tools and tool manufacturers. In this case, ask how the conflict of interests and identity.

We are facing a typical example of cooperation or either:

a) it does not cooperate, that is, we make tools for himself, which is produced in autarky

b) or one chooses to cooperate.

The choice is between a) and b).

There is an identity of interests if it is more advantageous to its specialization to have a universal spectrum by the fact that both parties would live better through cooperation.

The conflict is the result of social cooperation distributed according to an infinite spectrum of ways. We must seek to understand what I decided to enter the division of labor, to enter as a farmer rather than as a foundry, for example. The identity of overlaps the conflict of interests. The conception of justice must be public.

Justice is social institutions to what the truth to the thought. What is the basic structure of society on justice? In this basic structure, institutions are the most important political and socio-economic.

Institutions develop laws, determine the political system in which we live. They define the social-economic development and must define the rights and claims of individuals.

Rawls and the State of Nature

The basic structure defines what tends to be, and our chances of success. Justice demands she a radical equality? Inequalities are introduced by Rawls with so .. so it accepts inequality. Justice is first on the institutions. The original position is a state of Nature, an equality between individuals, a purely hypothetical situation. The state of Nature without identifying conduct by rules, and the wolf is a wolf to man of Hobbes. The state of society in turn result in a collective act. In the state of nature we would have a scenario of war of all against all. In the state of society we are subject to rules and life is more pleasant.

We have an opposition between these states, from which it follows an adaptation of rules, enforcement of rules, the public is high. This original position is a position where we discuss the principles of justice applied to everyone in society. For Rawls, the theory of justice is a theory of contract, which highlights the distribution of benefits for all partners. There is a voluntary and rational dimension of the parties, the contract stems from the desire of the parties. The reflexive nature sets up the ingredients of the company, contractualism is the main element of the theory. Kant hétéronime a position (you have to do). Another position is the position where I am independent source of moral and political. In the original position the veil of ignorance requires that no one knows his position in society nor his strength nor his own conception of the good, no one should know his particular psychological tendency. A psychological difference would be envious, for example, or not be.

But a theory of justice should it take into account the psychological aspects? So what is the impact of this ignorance? This is not to choose to choose its own interests but in a neutral way. This veil of ignorance is not new, consider the medieval statues representing Justice veiled. We choose the principles of justice on an individual basis but selflessly and to establish rules and to do better in society. In fact, I think of me behind the veil of ignorance. This is the principle of maximin principle of rationality that will play a role. We ignorance but we are interested in our own fate. The principles are better understood behind the veil of ignorance, this ensures an asset base.

Freedom (first principle)

We did initially a division between:

– The rights and duties

– The advantages and disadvantages

The socio-economic variable. We accept some difference at the base

(Second principle: equality-difference). Inequality is the spectrum of conditions that stretches or contracts (eg wages).

This is an implicit thesis with an area where we can find variations worst lotis.Pour arrive at the establishment of a method of the principles we follow the procedure of the original position and we establish the principles (I want to me), then we confront the conditions non reflective. Conditions are intuitive modeling principles through a process of adjustment between the beliefs and intuitions. A state of self-belief which correspond to the principles of justice, so justice is part of our convictions, making it possible to adhere to the principles of justice fully.

Cite this article as: Tim, "Rawls: Justice as Fairness, April 12, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 12, 2012, https://www.the-philosophy.com/rawls-justice-as-fairness.

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