Rawls Summary

Justice as Fairness Rawls first begins with discussing how we are lead to the original position. The original position is a hypothetical argument that considers a society where people do not decide what is right or wrong based on a higher power or emotion, but rather on common sense. These ideas establish justice or fairness simply based on the community’s beliefs that they create. However, these agreements cannot be made without the “veil of ignorance. ” This means that all instances that would create a distortion of views must be ruled out.
Thus, the people discussing what the rules will be cannot have any information about the other individual, or the society’s position. The hypothetical argument is contingent on all things being fair and equal, which means that all people involved in crating the beliefs must be free of any preconceived ideas. Another part of the equality of this situation is that every member of a society, including the minority, must be treated fairly. Rawls stated that every citizen had basic liberties and human rights that must be protected.
He believed that societies need to protect the least advantaged citizen in order to be successful. We determine which citizens are least advantaged based on if they possess primary goods. Primary goods are what is needed to be a functioning and contributing member of society. These things are not necessarily monetary, but rather on psychological capabilities, historical facts, social capabilities, as well as, moral abilities being free and equal. Rawls believe that the five most important primary goods that determine advantage are basic rights and liberties, freedom to choose, responsibility, income and self respect.

These things can make this hypothetical a reality and a society fair as equals. Let us begin with how we might be led to the original position and the reason for not using it. Now this agreement, like any other, must be entered into under certain conditions if it is to be a valid agreement from the point of view of political justice. Contingent historical advantages and accidental influences from the past should not affect an agreement or principles that are to regulate the basic structure from the present into the future. Social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions: first, they are to e attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality to opportunity; and second, they are to be to the greatest benefit of the least-advantaged members of society. These revisions in the second principle are merely stylistic. To accomplish its aims, certain requirements must be imposed on the basic structure beyond those of the system of natural liberty. A list of basic liberties are drawn up in two ways. To answer these questions we introduce the idea of primary goods. Income and wealth, understood as the purpose of all means.

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