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A Theory of Justice

John Rawls
The utilitarian argument holds that societies should
pursue the greatest good for the greatest number. One
major problem with this argument is that it somewhat
encourages the idea of the tyranny of majorities over
minorities. It seems to neglect the many conflicting
human intuitions. John Rawls take on what makes a
social institution just and about what justifies political
or social actions and policies wasnt consistent with the
traditional philosophical arguments about the subject.
Using the social contract approach, Rawls attempts to
establish a reasoned account of social justice. If a
society were an agreement, Rawls asks, what kind of
arrangement would everyone agree to? The
aforementioned approach is based on this idea that a
society is in some sense an agreement among all those
within that society. Though it should be noted that, he
does not argue that people moved from some other
setup of society to this arrangement of a social state or
had made agreements to establish a particular type of
society and that the contract is a purely hypothetical

Rawls considers justice a matter of the organization and

internal divisions of a society. Employing the idea of
justice as fairness, he places justice as the first virtue of
social institutions and identifies the basic structure of
society as the primary subject of justice. Rawls theory
of justice works on the basis of a hypothetical original
position: the state in which no one knows what place he
or she would occupy in the society to be created. Thus,
the crux of the theory is formed by the question that
what kind of an organization of society would rational
persons choose if they were in an initial position of
independence and equality and were setting up a
system of cooperation?
Post defining fairness as the main characteristic of
justice and the theoretical superiority of this approach
to utilitarianism or other perspectives, Rawls
establishes his concept of justice. He does this by
identifying two principles of justice: One, that each
person should have equal rights to the most extensive
liberties consistent with other people enjoying the
same liberties; and two, that inequalities should be
arranged so that they would be to everyones
advantage and arranged so that no one person would
be blocked from occupying any position. Thus, Rawls
derives an egalitarian conception of justice that would

allow the inequality of conditions implied by equality of

opportunity but would also give more attention to those
born with fewer assets and into less favourable social
Each individual has the basic powers of choice and on
acting on a sense of justice as well as the same basic
liberties and opportunities. Essentially, the two
principles promote equality among all as people
become equal in their position and desires. The setup
also entails a moral obligation to accept the existence
of every other human being. With each person having
an equal amount of power at his/her disposal, the
responsibility of procedure and growth falls on the
shoulders of each and every individual his/her self. This
may seem like a form of pure competition. Competition
in that what is desired must be achieved by one and
desired by many perhaps. In such a competitive
environment, one must evolve in order to surpass one
another and thus, all parties involved are benefited in
one way or another.
Justice is only succumbed when the liberties of an
individual are affected because of an external opinion
of characteristics that make each individual an
individual. Were talking about race, ethnic origin,

social standards and religious intolerance and beliefs.

Thus, discrimination based on these characteristics
may be eliminated when talking about fair equality for
opportunity. They are nothing more than components of
a people.