John Rawls 1921-2002 Teachers: H. L. A. Hart Isaiah Berlin Students: Thomas Nagel Martha Nussbaum Onara O’Neill
Anti-Utilitarianism Utilitarianism permits (or demands), under some circumstances: - slavery - false execution - vote buying - etc. Rawls believes basic human rights are inalienable
IDEAL CONTRACTARIANISM [Hobbes’ utilitarianism often rejected because it is historically false.] Epigram: The "most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position” Would, not did: not in fact, but ideally…
The “ORIGINAL POSITION” Not an actual state of affairs, but “purely hypothetical” Replaces Hobbes’ State of Nature A situation of fairness in which the political principles accepted would be just.
The “VEIL OF IGNORANCE” The defining feature of the Original Position “The aim is to use…pure procedural justice as a basis of theory” Analogy: we select jury members so as to be free of bias.
The “VEIL OF IGNORANCE” Four sorts of “ignorance” (absences of bias) 1. social fortune: place in society, class, social status, [income, wealth] 2. natural fortune: abilities, intelligence, strength [disabilities, etc.] 3. personal philosophy: concept of good, psychological propensities 4. generational ignorance: developed, undeveloped, depleted, etc.
The “VEIL OF IGNORANCE” Three [or four] sorts of “smarts” 1. Rationality: “rational beings with their own ends”…“taking most effective means to given ends” 601 2. “mutually disinterested” 601 3. “know basis of social organization and the laws of human psychology” 607-8 4? “maximin”: maximize the minimum outcome [ultra-cautious]
Two Principles of Justice People in Original Position (behind Veil of Ignorance) would choose Two Principles of Justice. 1 st. “Equality” Principle: equal right to maximum compatible liberties 2 nd. “Difference” [Inequality] Principle: economic inequalities must be - “reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage” 606 - “attached to positions and offices open to all” 606 NOTE: first trumps second. 602 & 606