Rawls' Two Principles of Justice

Reply Tue 31 Jan, 2006 06:23 am
Rawls' Two Principles of Justice

"A Theory of Justice" has, by page 53, developed the first statement of the two basic principles of justice.

First: each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others.

Second: social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone's advantage, and (b) attached to positions and offices open to all.

These two principles apply to the basic social structure governing rights and duties of all citizens as well as to the distribution of the economic advantages of the society to all citizens. The first principle establishes rights, just as does our constitution, and the second principle focuses upon the inequalities that are inherent in any such structure.

The next 200 pages of the book are dedicated to the clarification of the ambiguous phrases "every one's advantage" and "open to all" in the second principle.

Just as in our constitutional system the rights are primary and concerns regarding fair distribution of advantages and disadvantages are subject to a code of justice.

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