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  1. Defending A Conceptual Investigation of Justice.Kyle Johannsen - forthcoming - Dialogue.
    In this paper, I explain the arguments my critics target and I respond to their criticisms. Some of my replies further expand upon the ideas covered in my book—A Conceptual Investigation of Justice—and some cover matters that weren’t discussed there. This paper thus substantially contributes to the arguments made in my book.
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  2. Conceptual Disagreement About Justice: Verbal, but Not Merely Verbal.Kyle Johannsen - forthcoming - Dialogue.
    In this paper, I introduce the articles contained in this special issue, and I briefly explain some of the main arguments presented in my book A Conceptual Investigation of Justice. A central claim in my book is that a verbal and yet also philosophically substantial disagreement over the word ‘justice’ lies at the heart of a number of issues in contemporary political philosophy. Over the course of introducing my book’s arguments and the commentaries in this issue, I also offer an (...)
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  3. Rawlsian Self-Respect.Cynthia Stark - 2012 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics. Oxford, UK: pp. 238-261.
    Critics have argued that Rawls's account of self-respect is equivocal. I show, first, that Rawls in fact relies upon an unambiguous notion of self-respect, though he sometimes is unclear as to whether this notion has merely instrumental or also intrinsic value. I show second that Rawls’s main objective in arguing that justice as fairness supports citizens’ self-respect is not, as many have thought, to show that his principles support citizens’ self-respect generally, but to show that his principles counter the effects (...)
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  4. Rawls y el pricipio aristótelico. Una aproximación a la idea de bien en A Theory of Justice.Pablo Aguayo Westwood - 2014 - Ideas Y Valores 156 (LVIII):129-143.
    Con la finalidad de fundamentar y reforzar su teoría de los bienes primarios, J. Rawls introduce, en el §65 de Una teoría de la justicia, la idea de “principio aristotélico”. Se discuten las dificultades que implica aceptar dicha noción, así como las limitaciones de la idea de bien que subyace en dicho principio. Se busca mostrar que la concepción de bien que Rawls presenta allí padece de “insuficiencia moral” y se defiende la tesis de que su aproximación a la idea (...)
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  5. Piketty, Meade and Predistribution.Martin O'Neill - forthcoming - Crooked Timber Book Seminar on Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
    If solutions to the problem of inequality are to be as radical as reality now demands, what is instead required is a reimagining of what would be involved comprehensively to tame capitalism through democratic means. This will involve much further development of the kind of plurality of institutional and policy proposals sketched by Meade, and will involve both the private and public – individual and collective – forms of capital predistribution that Meade advocated. Piketty, like Meade, sees the need for (...)
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  6. Cohen on Rawls: Personal Choice and the Ideal of Justice.Kyle Johannsen - 2013 - In Jeffrey Gauthier (ed.), Social Philosophy Today. Volume 29. pp. 135-49.
    G.A. Cohen is well known within contemporary political philosophy for claiming that the scope of principles of justice extends beyond the design of institutions to citizens’ personal choices. More recently, he’s also received attention for claiming that principles of justice are normatively ultimate, i.e., that they’re necessary for the justification of action guiding principles but are unsuitable to guide political practice themselves. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between these claims as they’re applied in criticism of (...)
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  7. Cohen on Rawls.Kyle Johannsen - 2013 - Social Philosophy Today 29:135-149.
    G. A. Cohen is well known within contemporary political philosophy for claiming that the scope of principles of justice extends beyond the design of institutions to citizens’ personal choices. More recently, he’s also received attention for claiming that principles of justice are normatively ultimate, i.e., that they’re necessary for the justification of action guiding principles (regulatory rules) but are unsuitable to guide political practice themselves. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between these claims as they’re applied (...)
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  8. Entreprises et conventionnalisme: régulation, impôt et justice sociale.Martin O'Neill - 2009 - Raison Publique.
    The focus of this article is on the place of the limited-liability joint stock corporation in a satisfactory account of social justice and, more specifically, the question of how such corporations should be regulated and taxed in order to secure social justice. -/- Most discussion in liberal political philosophy looks at state institutions, on the one hand, and individuals, on the other hand, without giving much attention to intermediate institutions such as corporations. This is in part a consequence of a (...)
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  9. Property-Owning Democracy and the Demands of Justice.Martin O'Neill & Thad Williamson - 2009 - Living Reviews in Democracy 1:1-10.
    John Rawls is arguably the most important political philosopher of the past century. His theory of justice has set the agenda for debate in mainstream political philosophy for the past forty years, and has had an important influence in economics, law, sociology, and other disciplines. However, despite the importance and popularity of Rawls's work, there is no clear picture of what a society that met Rawls's principles of justice would actually look like. This article sets out to explore that question.
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  10. Reconceiving Rawls’s Arguments for Equal Political Liberty and Its Fair Value.Meena Krishnamurthy - 2012 - Social Theory and Practice 38 (2):258-278.
    Few have discussed Rawls's arguments for the value of democracy. This is because his arguments, as arguments that the principle of equal basic liberty should include democratic liberties, are incomplete. Rawls says little about the inclusion of political liberties of a democratic sort – such as the right to vote – among the basic liberties. And, at times, what he does say is unconvincing. My aim is to complete and, where they fail, to reconceive Rawls's arguments and to show that (...)
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  11. A Modified Rawlsian Theory of Social Justice: “Justice as Fair Rights”.Rodney G. Peffer - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 50:593-608.
    In my 1990 work – Marxism, Morality, and Social Justice – I argued for four modifications of Rawls’s principles of social justice and rendered a modified version of his theory in four principles, the first of which is the Basic Rights Principle demanding the protection of people’s security and subsistence rights. In both his Political Liberalism and Justice as Fairness Rawls explicitly refers to my version of his theory, clearly accepting three of my four proposed modifications but rejecting the fourth (...)
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  12. Scientific Practices and Their Social Context.Daniel Hicks - 2012 - Dissertation, U. Of Notre Dame
    My dissertation combines philosophy of science and political philosophy. Drawing directly on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre and inspired by John Dewey, I develop two rival conceptions of scientific practice. I show that these rivals are closely linked to the two basic sides in the science and values debate -- the debate over the extent to which ethical and political values may legitimately influence scientific inquiry. Finally, I start to develop an account of justice that is sensitive to these legitimate (...)
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  13. Rawls's Neglected Childhood: Reflections on the Original Position, Stability, and the Child's Sense of Justice.Samantha Brennan & Robert Noggle - unknown
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  14. The Survival of Egalitarian Justice in John Rawls's Political Liberalism.David Estlund - 1996 - Journal of Political Philosophy 4 (1):68–78.
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  15. How to Include the Severely Disabled in a Contractarian Theory of Justice.Cynthia A. Stark - 2007 - Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (2):127-145.
    This paper argues that, with modification, Rawls's social contract theory can produce principles of distributive justice applying to the severely disabled. It is a response to critics who claim that Rawls's assumption that the parties in the original position represent fully cooperating citizens excludes the disabled from the social contract. I propose that this idealizing assumption should be dropped at the constitutional stage of the contract where the parties decide on a social minimum. Knowing that they might not be fully (...)
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The Difference Principle
  1. The Pareto Argument for Inequality Revisited.A. R. J. Fisher & Edward F. McClennen - manuscript
    One of the more obscure arguments for Rawls’ difference principle dubbed ‘the Pareto argument for inequality’ has been criticised by G. A. Cohen (1995, 2008) as being inconsistent. In this paper, we examine and clarify the Pareto argument in detail and argue (1) that justification for the Pareto principles derives from rational selfinterest and thus the Pareto principles ought to be understood as conditions of individual rationality, (2) that the Pareto argument is not inconsistent, contra Cohen, and (3) that the (...)
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  2. ¿Distribución o reconocimiento? Un análisis a partir de John Rawls.Pablo Andrés Aguayo Westwood - 2015 - Quaderns de Filosofia 2 (2):11-28.
    En este artículo defiendo que la concepción rawlsiana de la justicia distributiva va más allá de los márgenes de la justicia asignativa y que esta presenta buenos argumentos para hacer frente a las demandas de reconocimiento. Para alcanzar este objetivo, en primer lugar muestro que algunos críticos del paradigma liberal distributivo malinterpretan la concepción de la justicia distributiva elaborada por Rawls y reducen su finalidad a un mero reparto de bienes. Al hacer lo anterior, ellos no logran comprender la dimensión (...)
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  3. John Rawls' 'A Theory of Justice'.Benjamin Davies - 2018 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    Some people are multi-billionaires; others die because they are too poor to afford food or medications. In many countries, people are denied rights to free speech, to participate in political life, or to pursue a career, because of their gender, religion, race or other factors, while their fellow citizens enjoy these rights. In many societies, what best predicts your future income, or whether you will attend college, is your parents’ income. -/- To many, these facts seem unjust. Others disagree: even (...)
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  4. ‘The Kids Are Alright’: Political Liberalism, Leisure Time, and Childhood.Blain Neufeld - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (5):1057-1070.
    Interest in the nature and importance of ‘childhood goods’ recently has emerged within philosophy. Childhood goods, roughly, are things that are good for persons qua children independent of any contribution to the good of persons qua adults. According to Colin Macleod, John Rawls’s political conception of justice as fairness rests upon an adult-centered ‘agency assumption’ and thus is incapable of incorporating childhood goods into its content. Macleod concludes that because of this, justice as fairness cannot be regarded as a complete (...)
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  5. An Ancient Paradox Applied to the Difference Principle (with the Help of Cryptocurrencies).Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    John Rawls’s difference principle says that we should change our economy if doing so is better for the worst-off group, on the condition that certain basic rights are secured. This paper presents a kind of case that challenges the principle. If we modify the principle to cope with the challenge, we open the way to a Sorites paradox.
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  6. The Limits of an Egalitarian Ethos: G. A. Cohen's Critique of Rawlsian Liberalism.Justin P. Holt - 2011 - Science and Society 75 (2):236 - 261.
    G.A. Cohen’s critique of the Rawlsian difference principle points out an inconsistency in its presentation. The initial equality decided by the participants in the original position under the veil of ignorance is not preserved by the inequality sanctioned by the difference principle. Cohen shows how the breakdown of the initial equality of the original position prevents the desired results of the Rawlsian system from being realized. Cohen argues that an egalitarian ethos is required within a society for equality preserving economic (...)
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  7. Downward Mobility and Rawlsian Justice.Govind Persad - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):277-300.
    Technological and societal changes have made downward social and economic mobility a pressing issue in real-world politics. This article argues that a Rawlsian society would not provide any special protection against downward mobility, and would act rightly in declining to provide such protection. Special treatment for the downwardly mobile can be grounded neither in Rawls’s core principles—the basic liberties, fair equality of opportunity, and the difference principle—nor in other aspects of Rawls’s theory. Instead, a Rawlsian society is willing to sacrifice (...)
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  8. RAWLS’ DIFFERENCE PRINCIPLE: ABSOLUTE Vs. RELATIVE INEQUALITY.Geoffrey Briggs - manuscript
    In the book “A Theory of Justice”, John Rawls examines the notion of a just society. More specifically, he develops a conception of justice—Justice as Fairness—derived from his novel interpretation of the social contract. Central to his account are two lexically-ordered principles of justice by which primary social institutions, or the basic structure of society, are ideally to be organized and regulated. Broadly speaking, the second of Rawls’ two principles pertains to “the distribution of income and wealth”, and its formulation (...)
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  9. Unveiling the Meaning of Social Justice in Colombia.Carlos Andrés Pérez-Garzón - 2018 - Mexican Law Review 10 (2):27-66.
    English Abstract: Through the presentation of the history of social justice in global constitutional discourse, this article aims to demonstrate that, although in Colombia there is not a constitutionalized purpose or principle of social justice, as in other countries, the modern notion of distributive justice, also called social justice today, is implicit in the Constitution of 1991 because it enshrined as mandatory rules the three main elements of its meaning at the time of its promulgation: the principle of social rule (...)
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  10. Rawls. Vs. Nozick Vs. Kant on Domestic Economic Justice.Helga Varden - 2016 - In Kant and Social Policies. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 93-123.
    Robert Nozick initiated one of the most inspired and inspiring discussions in political philosophy with his 1974 response in Anarchy, State, and Utopia to John Rawls’s 1971 account of distributive justice in A Theory of Justice. These two works have informed an enormous amount of subsequent, especially liberal, discussions of economic justice, where Nozick’s work typically functions as a resource for those defending more right-wing (libertarian) positions, whereas Rawls’s has been used to defend various left-wing stances. Common to these discussions, (...)
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  11. Cohen's Equivocal Attack on Rawls's Basic Structure Restriction.Kyle Johannsen - 2016 - Ethical Perspectives 23 (3):499-525.
    G.A. Cohen is famous for his critique of John Rawls’s view that principles of justice are restricted in scope to institutional structures. In recent work, however, Cohen has suggested that Rawlsians get more than just the scope of justice wrong: they get the concept wrong too. He claims that justice is a fundamental value, i.e. a moral input in our deliberations about the content of action-guiding regulatory principles, rather than the output. I argue here that Cohen’s arguments for extending the (...)
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  12. Defense of Rawls: A Reply to Brock.Paul Fryfogle - 2007 - Res Cogitans 4 (1):181-188.
    Cosmopolitans like Gillian Brock, Charles Beitz, and Thomas Pogge argue that the principles of justice selected and arranged in lexical priority in Rawls’ first original position would—and should for the same reasons as in the first—also be selected in Rawls’ second original position. After all, the argument goes, what reasons other than morally arbitrary ones do we have for selecting a second set of principles? A different, though undoubtedly related, point of contention is the cosmopolitan charge that Rawls fails to (...)
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  13. Rawls, Self-Respect, and Assurance: How Past Injustice Changes What Publicly Counts as Justice.Timothy Waligore - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (1):42-66.
    This article adapts John Rawls’s writings, arguing that past injustice can change what we ought to publicly affirm as the standard of justice today. My approach differs from forward-looking approaches based on alleviating prospective disadvantage and backward-looking historical entitlement approaches. In different contexts, Rawls’s own concern for the ‘social bases of self-respect’ and equal citizenship may require public endorsement of different principles or specifications of the standard of justice. Rawls’s difference principle focuses on the least advantaged socioeconomic group. I argue (...)
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  14. Theories of Distributive Justice and Post-Apartheid South Africa.Carl Knight - 2014 - Politikon 41 (1):23-38.
    South Africa is a highly distributively unequal country, and its inequality continues to be largely along racial lines. Such circumstances call for assessment from the perspective of contemporary theories of distributive justice. Three such theories—Rawlsian justice, utilitarianism, and luck egalitarianism—are described and applied. Rawls' difference principle recommends that the worst off be made as well as they can be, a standard which South Africa clearly falls short of. Utilitarianism recommends the maximization of overall societal well-being, a goal which South Africa (...)
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  15. Piac és igazságosság? (Market and Justice?).Attila Tanyi - 2000 - Napvilág.
    The aim of the book is to uncover the relation between market and justice through the critical examination of the work of Friedrich Hayek. The book argues for the following thesis: the institution of free market is not the only candidate social system; substantial, not merely formal distributive justice must become the central virtue of our social institutions. Notwithstanding its achievements and virtues, the Hayekian theory makes a simple mistake by equivocating possible social systems, dividing them into two groups. One (...)
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  16. Rawls különbözeti elve (Rawls’ Difference Principle).Attila Tanyi - 2007 - Hungarian Review of Political Science (Politikatudomanyi Szemle) 16 (2):125-150.
    This paper deals with the third and most disputed principle of John Rawls’s theory of justice: the so-called difference principle. My reasoning has three parts. I first present and examine the principle. My investigation is driven by three questions: what considerations lead Rawls to the acceptance of the principle; what the principle’s relation to effectiveness is; and what and how much the principle demands. A proper understanding of the principle permits me to spend the second half of the paper with (...)
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  17. Three Rawlsian Routes Towards Economic Democracy.Martin O'Neill - 2008 - Revue de Philosophie Économique 9 (1):29-55.
    This paper addresses ways of arguing fors ome form of economic democracy from within a broadly Rawlsian framework. Firstly, one can argue that a right to participate in economic decision-making should be added to the Rawlsian list of basic liberties, protected by the first principle of justice. Secondly,I argue that a society which institutes forms of economic democracy will be more likely to preserve a stable and just basic structure over time, by virtue of the effects of economic democratization on (...)
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  18. A Pluralistic Approach to Global Poverty.Carl Knight - 2008 - Review of International Studies 34 (4):713-33.
    A large proportion of humankind today lives in avoidable poverty. This article examines whether affluent individuals and governments have moral duties to change this situation. It is maintained that an alternative to the familiar accounts of transdomestic distributive justice and personal ethics put forward by writers such as Peter Singer, John Rawls, and Thomas Pogge is required, since each of these accounts fails to reflect the full range of relevant considerations. A better account would give some weight to overall utility, (...)
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  19. A Critique of the Incentives Argument for Inequalities.Max Seeger - 2011 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 25 (1):40-52.
    According to the incentives argument, inequalities in material goods are justifiable if they are to the benefit of the worst off members of society. In this paper, I point out what is easily overlooked, namely that inequalities are justifiable only if they are to the overall benefit of the worst off, that is, in terms of both material and social goods. I then address the question how gains in material goods can be weighed against probable losses in social goods. The (...)
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  20. The House That Jack Built.Alex Voorhoeve - unknown
    A critical overview of John ('Jack') Rawls' key ideas.
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  21. Minimizing Maximin.D. Clayton Hubin - 1980 - Philosophical Studies 37 (4):363 - 372.
    In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls provides several arguments contractors in the original position using maximin reasoning, which leads directly to the difference principle. These arguments are inadequate to support the claim that maximin reasoning is the uniquely rational approach to choice in the original position.
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The Original Position
  1. The Choice of Economic Systems in the Rawlsian Original Position.Justin P. Holt - 2011 - Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory 3 (39):393-405.
    Rawls’s consideration not to include the choice of economic systems as part of a theory of justice is inconsistent with his comments on redistribution and the political effects of economic inequality. When Rawls’s discussion of economic systems and his discussion of economic inequalities is examined, it is apparent that the selection of economic systems is a pertinent topic for a theory of justice. The propensity for the primary social good of self-respect to be satisfied can be affected by the selection (...)
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  2. Nonideal Justice as Nonideal Fairness.Marcus Arvan - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):208-228.
    This article argues that diverse theorists have reasons to theorize about fairness in nonideal conditions, including theorists who reject fairness in ideal theory. It then develops a new all-purpose model of ‘nonideal fairness.’ §1 argues that fairness is central to nonideal theory across diverse ideological and methodological frameworks. §2 then argues that ‘nonideal fairness’ is best modeled by a nonideal original position adaptable to different nonideal conditions and background normative frameworks (including anti-Rawlsian ones). §3 then argues that the parties to (...)
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  3. Global Public Reason, Diversity, and Consent.Samuel Director - 2019 - Philosophical Papers 48 (1):31-57.
    In this paper, I examine global public reason as a method of justifying a global state. Ultimately, I conclude that global public reason fails to justify a global state. This is the case, because global public reason faces an unwinnable dilemma. The global public reason theorist must endorse either a hypothetical theory of consent or an actual theory of consent; if she endorses a theory of hypothetical consent, then she fails to justify her principles; and if she endorses a theory (...)
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  4. Beyond Rawls' Fiction: The Veil of Ignorance Is Real.Harold Anthony Lloyd - 2016 - Huffington Post.
    Brief thoughts on why Rawls' "fictional" veil of ignorance is in fact real and why social morals and self-interest thus converge.
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  5. ¿Distribución o reconocimiento? Un análisis a partir de John Rawls.Pablo Andrés Aguayo Westwood - 2015 - Quaderns de Filosofia 2 (2):11-28.
    En este artículo defiendo que la concepción rawlsiana de la justicia distributiva va más allá de los márgenes de la justicia asignativa y que esta presenta buenos argumentos para hacer frente a las demandas de reconocimiento. Para alcanzar este objetivo, en primer lugar muestro que algunos críticos del paradigma liberal distributivo malinterpretan la concepción de la justicia distributiva elaborada por Rawls y reducen su finalidad a un mero reparto de bienes. Al hacer lo anterior, ellos no logran comprender la dimensión (...)
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  6. John Rawls' 'A Theory of Justice'.Benjamin Davies - 2018 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    Some people are multi-billionaires; others die because they are too poor to afford food or medications. In many countries, people are denied rights to free speech, to participate in political life, or to pursue a career, because of their gender, religion, race or other factors, while their fellow citizens enjoy these rights. In many societies, what best predicts your future income, or whether you will attend college, is your parents’ income. -/- To many, these facts seem unjust. Others disagree: even (...)
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  7. Justice at the Margins: The Social Contract and the Challenge of Marginal Cases.Nathan Bauer & David Svolba - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):51-67.
    Attempts to justify the special moral status of human beings over other animals face a well-known objection: the challenge of marginal cases. If we attempt to ground this special status in the unique rationality of humans, then it becomes difficult to see why nonrational humans should be treated any differently than other, nonhuman animals. We respond to this challenge by turning to the social contract tradition. In particular, we identify an important role for the concept of recognition in attempts to (...)
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  8. Taking Risks Behind the Veil of Ignorance.Buchak Lara - 2017 - Ethics 127 (3):610-644.
    A natural view in distributive ethics is that everyone's interests matter, but the interests of the relatively worse off matter more than the interests of the relatively better off. I provide a new argument for this view. The argument takes as its starting point the proposal, due to Harsanyi and Rawls, that facts about distributive ethics are discerned from individual preferences in the "original position." I draw on recent work in decision theory, along with an intuitive principle about risk-taking, to (...)
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  9. The Savings Problem in the Original Position: Assessing and Revising a Model.Eric Brandstedt - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2):269-289.
    The common conception of justice as reciprocity seemingly is inapplicable to relations between non-overlapping generations. This is a challenge also to John Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness. This text responds to this by way of reinterpreting and developing Rawls’s theory. First, by examining the original position as a model, some revisions of it are shown to be wanting. Second, by drawing on the methodology of constructivism, an alternative solution is proposed: an amendment to the primary goods named ‘sustainability of (...)
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  10. The Fallibility Objection to the Original Position.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Do individuals in John Rawls’s original position take into account the fallibility of human nature? Some notable commentators on Rawls say that they do or that they should. But this enables us to say that individuals in the original position would not come to an agreement at all.
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  11. Rawls Versus Utilitarianism: The Subset Objection.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2016 - E-Logos Electronic Journal for Philosophy 23 (2):37-41.
    This paper presents an objection to John Rawls’s use of the original position method to argue against implementing utilitarian rules. The use of this method is pointless because a small subset of the premises Rawls relies on can be used to infer the same conclusion.
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  12. Hypothetical Consent and Justification.Cynthia A. Stark - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (6):313.
    Hypothetical contracts have been said to be not worth the paper they are not written on. This paper defends hypothetical consent theories of justice, such as Rawls's, against the view that they lack justificatory power. I argue that while hypothetical consent cannot generate political obligation, it can generate political legitimacy.
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  13. Non-Social Human Beings in the Original Position.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2016 - Philosophical Pathways (205).
    This paper argues that Rawls must commit himself to non-social human beings to defend his original position procedure.
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  14. First Steps Toward a Nonideal Theory of Justice.Marcus Arvan - 2014 - Ethics and Global Politics 7 (3):95-117.
    Theorists have long debated whether John Rawls’ conception of justice as fairness can be extended to nonideal (i.e. unjust) social and political conditions, and if so, what the proper way of extending it is. This paper argues that in order to properly extend justice as fairness to nonideal conditions, Rawls’ most famous innovation – the original position – must be reconceived in the form of a “nonideal original position.” I begin by providing a new analysis of the ideal/nonideal theory distinction (...)
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