Hot answers tagged

13

The classic answers to Rawls's work come from his fellow Harvard professor, Robert Nozick. In particular, Nozick's seminal work entitled Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974). It's written as an almost direct critique of Rawls's Theory of Justice, published a few years prior in 1971. In it, Nozick adopts a libertarian approach to justice to challenge Rawls's ...


6

If she [Ayn Rand] has nothing to do with philosophy and her arguments are not philosophical in nature, what is the point? Ayn Rand was a philosopher. She wrote about epistemology in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology". She wrote about moral and political philosophy in many books. She wrote a book called "Philosophy: Who Needs It": the title essay of ...


6

First, I have read only secondary works on Rawls and have not read "Theory of Justice" itself, but it is on my list. Unlike Rand, Rawls was an analytic philosopher with a distinguished background, and was among the first to propose ways in which the Anglo-American tradition could revisit "value" questions such as justice, which had long been proscribed by ...


5

The original position is Rawls replacement of the (hypothetical) originary state of Mankind theorised in social contract theory - the state of nature, as by Hobbes; the principles that govern society are to be chosen behind a veil of ignorance; in the original position one does not know what talents, what gender what race or intelligence one will be endowed ...


4

First of all, I just don't believe people are exchangeable in this fashion, because of hereditarian considerations; the exchanging of places before hand would not, in many cases, would not lead to a significant "shake-up" of society, if meritocracy is truly operating — so considering things with a veil seems needless. With respect, I think that this ...


4

Rawls is usually viewed as someone who based his ideas upon the idea of a social contract. But this is odd, because one of the most important ideas behind the Original Position (i.e. the position in which each person hides behind the 'veil of ignorance' to draft justice for society) is that people would come to realize a certain necessity for justice. That ...


4

I think Rand's rather persistent presence is due to three factors. 1 She is a NAME and is often described in the media as a philosopher. Many questioners are simply rather curious about her on that basis, particularly if they have had no contact with academic philosophy. 2 She does present a body of loosely connected ideas which looks superficially like a ...


3

You might discribe Nietzsche's work as 'predominantly a collection of his opinions and unsubstantiated postulates and proposals'. So what? You are going to have to qualify 'so much' in relative terms and specific posts; looks to be 1-2 threads a month. Doesn't sound disproportionate. Hobbes is mentioned more frequently than the prestige of his thought ...


3

He is supposing that inequality is a precondition in his hypothetical. If inequality existed (the means by which it came about is not addressed), it would only be acceptable if the gains of the rich also improve the gains of the poor. Under all other conditions, the inequality would not be justifiable. That is my reading of it at least.


3

You ask "What am I missing in Rawls's theory of justice?" after having said that "Rawls says the rich should be free to get as rich as they want to, as long as the poor get to pick up of a few crumbs here and there." What you are missing is that this is not true at all for Rawls. It's quite simple; you seem to be misunderstanding the second principle of ...


3

Two points: First, Rawls's view is very different than Rand's. Rawls thinks that inequalities are only tolerable as they lead to the best result for the least advantaged. On Rand's view there's no reason to think of inequality as bad in any way--whether inequality is to the benefit or detriment of the least advantages is utterly immaterial. Second, ...


3

A "zero-sum" game is one where everything that the winner or winners gain is exactly the same as what the loser or losers lose. Obviously a zero-sum game can be very unjust. If I steal $100 from your pocket, I win $100 and you lose $100, so it's a zero-sum game. If I steal $100 from your pocket by slitting open your pocket, I win $100 and you lose $100 plus ...


3

Not a specialist in Ethics, but it looks to me like the fundamental issue here is whether everyone has rights only over himself (the classical liberal position) or whether some people have rights over others (Rawls's position). Rawls has to be saying that some people have rights over others because the strategically rational set of principles of justice that ...


2

First of all, it is very important to separate the practical question from the theoretical one. This is because there are many more questions that are raised when meshing both together. In real life, as is often the case, it is never always a case of either/or. For not only have societies varying conceptions of liberty, welfare and equality, people's ...


2

A categorical imperative is: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. If we compare the categorical imperative to the original position and the veil of ignorance, we can identify the use of the categorical imperative in Rawls's theory. When deciding which principles that will ...


2

I think one cannot derive the veil of ignorance from Kant's Categorical Imperative. Both do not contradict, but they follow different aims. Rawl's veil of ignorance is a means to generate fair decisions in case of a conflict of interests. It can be used for all votings where the consequences of the result affect at least some of the voting people. Kant's ...


2

It might be helpful to look at some of Rawls' earlier works to grasp what he's meaning by the term. I take it to refer back to the basic meaning of deliberation in a Theory of Justice. The central image of a Theory of Justice is that we can arrive at a just society if we deliberate about how we would want society organized if we did not know where in ...


2

Objectivism Lite Rand differs from Rawls' Theory of Justice in a very fundamental way on this. In fact I would argue so different as to be opposed. Rawls is essentially presenting a justification for wealth redistribution for the purpose of achieving "greater equality" and using an ethical argument to get there, while Rand presented arguments opposed to ...


2

I think there's kind of two questions actually getting asked here. The first question is: "why would it ever make sense to bring non-philosophical thought into philosophical inquiry?" Though I am no fan of Ayn Rand, I see no good reason why we ought to exclude from discussion the relevant (or maybe only plausibly relevant) thought of any individual simply ...


2

A key idea of the Objectivist philosophy is that arguments must be made in terms of essentials for conclusions to be valid and validatable. This is why, for example, the concept of a human as a rational animal leads to fewer flawed conclusions than other not essential descriptions such as “the animal that makes tools” or the “animal that that is social.” ...


2

A new government wants to take control. They want to give everyone $5 a month. Because they believe that is equality. There are rich people and poor people. So if the government gives $5 to everyone they are making the rich richer and the poor a bit better off. But still the two classes are not equal However that government says they are. There's ...


2

RAWLS AND INEQUALITY A bit of background-setting is needed – I’ll keep it as brief as I can. The question and any relevant answer clearly concern Rawls’ ‘difference principle’, which he defines as follows : ▻ DIFFERENCE PRINCIPLE DEFINED 'Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are ... to the greatest benefit of the least ...


2

"(having the institution of property) in order to (punish thieves)" is being compared to "(organizing society) in order to (reward moral deserts)", if I've untangled the grammar correctly. Thieves take other people's property. That's the whole idea of being a thief. If we had no idea of property, we'd have no idea of thievery, and certainly no idea of ...


1

A system in which the poor are paid 10% of the profit while the rich take 90% is an inequality but, as the position of the rich improves so does the position of the poor. Take a system of governance where the rich landowners own large portions of land, those who work the land for the landowners get 10% of the crops or 10% of the profits. An increase in ...


1

What do you mean? Skepticism about whether morality exists? He doesn't have to do that, because such a view is publicly anathema. Besides, it is a view concerning positive right, not natural law. Rawls himself was a radical skeptic in the sense that he was a legal positivist. Positivism, in a general respect, is the same thing as moral relativism. They just ...


1

Perhaps it helps to keep in mind that behind the veil of ignorance, you never know what position in the society you may get. So there is a motivational drive to weigh the respective gains and losses for every position and overall, but especially the ones with the least power to influence anything later on: the powerless and least well-off. You will not ...


1

The two "golden rules" are very similar, but Kant's is strictly deontic and nonconsequentialist. It may even be arguable that its deontic, theological perspective could mandate actions that are not necessarily "good" for a given society or even for "humanity" per se. It is notoriously ill-suited to a complex division of labor in civil society and hence ...


1

I'm not sure if the example is conclusive, but it sounds like Harasanyi is highlighting a general problem with maximization/minimization theories. These problems generally apply to utilitarian and consequentialist theories which suffer from two initial weaknesses: (1) The problem of perceived benefits versus realized benefits in the calculation. This seems ...


1

While Rawls himself did not offer a theory regarding the ethics of eugenics, I believe that Rawls would argue that we have a strong moral obligation to promote good births, which is the original meaning of eugenics, asserted by its founding theorist, Francis Galton. (It is an intellectual mistake to relate eugenics to the historical atrocity since Hitler ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible