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Does Rawls Succeed In Showing That The Difference Principle Would Be Chosen In The Original Position?

2004 words - 8 pages

In order to understand Rawls' justifications for choosing the Difference Principle in the Original Position and to establish his relative success we must first have a general understanding of what the Original Position and the Difference Principle comprise of, as well as the conditions he applies.In this section I will be providing a basic outline of the features of the Original position and the Difference Principle and the pertinent constraints he employs for his reasoning. The basic definition of the Difference Principle is that inequalities can only be justified if they benefit all, especially the worst off in society.The Original Position is a hypothetical situation under which rational moral people would decide the fundamental principles of justice. A key feature of this situation, -and one that is important to Rawls' main argument for the Difference Principle - is that of the 'veil of ignorance' whereby no-one knows anything about themselves or their position in society that could affect their choice of any distributive principle, knowing only general facts and history of societies and human nature. He assumes they are mutually disinterested, 'continuing persons' therefore concerned with future generations, pulled from any temporal position and the societies are assumed to be under the circumstances of justice, as Rawls' expresses it:'...obtain whenever persons put forward conflicting claims to the division of social advantages under conditions of moderate scarcity.'Rawls' also details formal constraints for the principles, which he later uses as justification for his Difference Principle, whereas principles should have:- Generality- Universality in application- Publicity- Ordering on conflicting claims- FinalityIn the following section, I will be highlighting Rawls' key arguments for the adoption of the Difference principle in the Original Position and the success of the arguments he makes in line with his concept of the Original Position and under the formal constraints he delineates.Crucial to Rawls' argument is the belief that maximin reasoning would be used as tool for deciding the principles of justice under the constraints of the Original Position. The maximin rule is a way of making decisions on what to do in a situation where there is more than one course of action. Each course of action may have different outcomes depending on other variables you do not know or cannot predict. The rule states that you must choose the course of action with the best worst outcome i.e. where the worst thing that can happen is better than the worst outcome for the other course of action. Rawls' argues that you would use maximin to choose your principles in the original position due to the uncertainty created by the 'veil of ignorance'. He states that you would under this uncertainty be considerably risk adverse and would then decide on a principle that you would choose if you thought that you were going to be given your place in society by an enemy ....

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