How to Include the Severely Disabled in a Contractarian Theory of Justice

Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (2):127-145 (2007)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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 capable of social cooperation, the parties will choose a social minimum that is as high and comprehensive as is compatible with the difference principle. This will ensure that the disabled have an adequate income.

Author's Profile

Cynthia A. Stark
University of Utah


Added to PP

874 (#13,358)

6 months
207 (#9,610)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?