Rawls’s Justification Model for Ethics: What Exactly Does It Justify?

Humanitas 30 (1/2):112–147 (2017)
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John Rawls is famous for two things: his attempt to ground morality in rationality and his conception of justice as fairness. He has developed and polished both in conjunction over the course of half a century. Yet the moral principles he advocates have always been more doctrinaire than the corresponding justification model should have ever allowed with design details explicitly promising objectivity. This article goes to the beginning, or to a reasonable proxy for it, in the “Outline of a Decision Procedure for Ethics,” with the aim of exposing and examining the discrepancy where it originates. The goal is not to prey on the earliest version of an initiative later undergoing revision but to identify and investigate the inception of a systematic bias that is retained rather than revised in subsequent iterations.
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First archival date: 2018-06-10
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