Critically examine the Rawls authoritarian conception of social justice.

Critically examine the Rawls authoritarian conception of social justice.


John Rawls Conception of Social Justice is widely considered one among the foremost important political philosophers of the last half of the 20 th century. he's primarily known for his theory of justice as fairness, which develops principles of justice to control a contemporary social order. Rawls' theory provides a framework that explains the importance , during a society assumed to contains free and equal persons, of political and private liberties, of civil right , and cooperative arrangements that benefit the more and therefore the less advantaged members of society.
Darrel Moellendorf writes that Rawls' conception of justice, like all conception of justice whatsoever, is an associational conception. it's about relationships between members of an association. Rawls is chiefly concerned with the political association referred to as the fashionable nation-state. Moellendorf and other defenders of "cosmopolitan justice" apply the approach Rawls developed for the nation-state to the worldwide community, which can be understood as an economic association albeit there's no effective international political association. More could also be said later about cosmopolitan justice. Here the important point is that Rawls' initial concern with justice is said to relationships between persons within an association.

Political Conception of Justice

A political conception of justice, says Rawls, has three basic features. First, "it may be a moral conception figured out for a selected quite subject, namely, for political, social, and economic institutions." Specifically, it's figured out for what Rawls' calls society's basic structure--society's main social, economic, and political institutions, and "how they fit together" into one "system of social cooperation from one generation to subsequent ." (PL 11)

Second, says Rawls, the political conception is "presented as a freestanding view." it's neither presented as a comprehensive doctrine, nor as derived from a comprehensive doctrine, applied to the essential structure of society. This doesn't mean that it can't be justified from within a comprehensive doctrine--indeed, it's no chance of success unless variety of comprehensive doctrines support it. What it means is that there exists a network of concepts within the "public political culture" from which the political conception are often explained and justified. "It is expounded apart from" any wider background made from comprehensive doctrines.
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Third, "its content is expressed in terms of certain fundamental ideas seen as inherent the general public political culture of a democratic society. This public culture comprises the political institutions of a constitutional regime and therefore the public traditions of their interpretation" (PL 13-14).

Rawls now regards his own theory of justice as fairness (involving his idea of the first position, the veil of ignorance, and therefore the derivation of two principles of justice [TJ, 1971]) as a political conception of justice. Such a conception doesn't commit one who holds it to a doctrine about the metaphysical nature of persons (whether we contains immortal souls or whether we are creatures of endless omniscient deity), although such commitments could be a part of a comprehensive doctrine. But it does commit the holder to certain moral stands in reference to fellow citizens in an existing political society, assuming that society doesn't deviate too faraway from the principles of justice outlined in Rawls' theory.

The Two Principles of Justice

Rawls offers his notion of justice as fairness as an illustration of a political conception of justice. In its mature form (PL 291), this notion affirms the subsequent principles:

I. everyone has an equal right to a totally adequate scheme of equal basic liberties which is compatible with an identical scheme of liberties for all,
II. Social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions. First, they need to be attached to offices and positions hospitable all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity; and second, they need to be to the best advantage of the smallest amount advantaged members of society.

The first of those is usually mentioned because the Equal Liberty Principle. The stem of the second ("Social and economic liberties are to satisfy [the condition that]") along side the primary condition is named the Principle of civil right . The stem of the second along side the second condition is named the Difference Principle. Rawls lists the subsequent among the equal basic liberties: "freedom of thought and liberty of conscience; the political liberties and freedom of association, also because the freedoms specified by the freedom and integrity of the person; and eventually , the rights and liberties covered by the rule of law."

Rawls explains that in justice as fairness " . . . There is . . . a general presumption against imposing legal and other restrictions on conduct without sufficient reason. But this presumption creates no special priority for any particular liberty." (291-292) Slightly later (294) he writes: "the priority of liberty means the primary principle of justice assigns the essential liberties . . . a special status. they need an absolute weight with reference to reasons of public good and of perfectionist values. . . .The equal political liberties can't be denied to certain social groups on the grounds that their having these liberties may enable them to dam policies needed for economic efficiency and growth . . . The priority of liberty implies . . . that a basic liberty are often limited or denied solely for the sake of 1 or more other basic liberties.

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