Rawls' Theory Of Justice: How Much Intrinsic Contradiction? Term Paper by Julian

A look at Rawls' theory of justice and its critiques.
# 151869 | 2,204 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Oct 19, 2012 in Political Science (Political Theory) , Philosophy (General)

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This paper briefly examines the contents of Rawls' Theory of Justice, further reviewing some of its more important critiques. Additionally, the paper considers the contradictions between Rawls' famous two principles of justice, which were ultimately admitted by Rawls himself. First, the paper explores Rawls' outlook in light of the social contract tradition of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, but notes some of the differences. Then, the paper analyzes the intricacies of Rawls' priorities in his theory. Next, the paper presents an in-depth discussion of the concept of justice and various decision strategies. Finally, the paper addresses political philosophy and Rawls' place in it. The paper concludes by stating that Rawls' central two principles of justice are some of the most beautifully worked, finely honed tools of intellectual inquiry in the history of political philosophy, and yet they are not perfect.

From the Paper:

"Rawls argues that the parties would choose "justice as fairness" rather than its great rival, utilitarianism. Under conditions of uncertainty, illustrated by the original position, Rawls argues that rational decision makers adopt a strategy of choice called "maximin." The maximin strategy is to rank the options according to their worst possible outcomes, and to adopt the option of which the worst results would be superior to the worst results of any other option. This is a rule of choosing conservatively or pessimistically. The original position, according to Rawls, is described so that it makes sense for parties to adopt the conservative attitude expressed by this rule. Thus, the parties choose their principles of social organization as if their place in society was to be determined by their worst enemies.
"There is - as there should be - a controversy here around the choice of maximin as a decision strategy, since there is an obvious alternative strategy: the one seeking to maximize utility. This latter strategy would require actors to rank options based on the probable gain: it is neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but rather the strategy of a rational player. Critics such as John Harsanyi, stated that this was the strategy which should be adopted by actors in the original position. Rawls, however..."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Harsanyi J. Essays on Ethics, Social Behaviour and Scientific Explanation. Dordrecht, Reidel, 1976. Print.
  • Kukathas, C. & Pettit P., Rawls. A Theory of Justice and Its Critics. Oxford, Polity Press, 1990. Print
  • Nozick, R. Anarchy, State and Utopia. Oxford, Blackwell, 1974. Print.
  • Rawls, J. A Theory Of Justice. Harvard University Press, 1971. Print.
  • Rawls, J. Kantian constructivism in moral theory. The Journal of Philosophy, 88, 1980. Print.

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APA Format

Rawls' Theory Of Justice: How Much Intrinsic Contradiction? (2012, October 19) Retrieved April 03, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/rawls-theory-of-justice-how-much-intrinsic-contradiction-151869/

MLA Format

"Rawls' Theory Of Justice: How Much Intrinsic Contradiction?" 19 October 2012. Web. 03 April. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/rawls-theory-of-justice-how-much-intrinsic-contradiction-151869/>