"Justice and Fairness" Essays

774 Words 4 Pages
Liberal philosopher, John Rawls, has been credited as being one of the largest contributors to the field of social justice of the twentieth century. In his book `Justice as Fairness', Rawls describes his views on the issue of justice in a social sense and outlines the major features of his theory of justice. From his discussions on this topic, one could derive a legitimate assumption of how Rawls' would apply his views on justice to the question of how we should respond to poverty, this I have done in the final segment of my essay.

`Justice as Fairness' gives a lengthy description of the primary subject of justice, which states that it is "The way in which the major social institutions describe fundamental rights and duties and
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Rather, a just society is in place when its major institutions are those that rational, unbiased persons who live behind a veil of ignorance would choose if building such a society.

However, Rawls is of the opinion that in order to achieve a state of justice, all decisions must be made by hypothetical beings known as rational choosers. Rational chooses are said by Rawls to be individuals who are in the original position, that is that they are free of, and ignorant to notions which could effect ones social standings, such as race, abilities, gender, intelligence and religion. Rawls also sets the hypothetical image that if we were rational chooses, we would not yet exist in the world and that we would have no pre determined place in society, nor any knowledge of what our physical attributes may be. Therefore these rational choosers have no bias and so can make concise and fair decisions on how society should be run and what each social class should receive, keeping in mind that they have equal chances of becoming a part of any one of the social rankings. It must be made clear that Rawls talks of the notion of the original state not as a historical occurrence, but as a purely hypothetical concept in which principles for a just state can be conceived without favour.

If this original position of rational choosers was to become a reality, it

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