Justice as Fairness
John Rawls responds to the question of justice with his own theory of Liberalism. Liberalism utilizes a social contract as a conceptual basis from which moral reasoning can be considered just. Rawls claims that the best way to look at morality is by referring to the principles, which govern society, based on an initial situation of equality. He explains this initial situation of equality by proposing a hypothetical original position: “The guiding idea is that the principles of justice for the basic structure of society are the objet of an original agreement. They are the principles that free and rational persons would accept in an initial situation of equality as defining the fundamental terms of their association” (Rawls, 204). This original situation is distinguished by a veil of ignorance under which individual bias is removed due to the unawareness of one’s future position in society. The purpose of the original situation is to determine the principles of justice that would result from people free from the distinctions of society. Rawls uses the principles of moral justification that are established from this original position to create a procedural form of justice.
In establishing this theory of “justice as fairness”, Rawls focuses on two key principles. The first principle refers to the importance of the protection of basic liberties. Rawls believes that the security liberties will be essential to those present in the original position because they are self-interest individuals. The uncertainty of one’s future holdings and position within society is a determinant of the safeguard of these liberties. Whether one will be placed in the top class or be less fortunate is undetermined. Therefore, Rawls claims that by human nature, precaution will be taken to ensure that liberties are distributed equally. This working principle of society ensures that the liberties of individuals will not be compromised. The second principle that Rawls...
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