John Rawls On Justice Essay

1572 words - 6 pages

John Rawls was a man who played an influential role in shaping political thought in the late 20th century. Rawls is accredited for writing two major contributions that has helped influence political ideology of those even today. His first piece was published in 1971, A Theory of Justice, which argues his belief of justice on the domestic level and also that reconciliation between liberty and equality must occur in order to have a just society . Rawls’s belief of what justice should be is extremely controversial, and helped put Rawls on the map. Later, after Rawls gained a reliable reputation he published another piece called, Law of the Peoples, which was his application of justice towards international affairs and what he believes America’s Foreign Policy should emulate. In this I will describe both of his works and then throughout I will offer a brief critique on both A Theory of Justice and Law of the Peoples.
John Rawls divided up his theory into four distinct parts; the first part consisted of his belief of primary goods, next is the formation of principles of justice, third is the institutionalization of society, and finally the last part of his theory is the actual workings within society . The general concept of Rawls’s theory is, “all primary goods must be distributed equally unless the unequal distribution of any of these goods is to the advantage of the least favored” . In order to analyze this correctly Rawls’ terms must be defined; according to Rawls a primary good are “things that every rational man is presumed to want. Goods normally have use regardless of a person’s rational plan to life is” . Some examples of a primary good are: basic rights, opportunity, and income to name a few. With the understanding of a primary good one can begin to break down the primary theory behind Rawls A Theory of Justice. So my interpretation is that as long as the primary goods mentioned above are allocated equally among the population or if the poor have a greater advantage then your society is just. Before the goods can be divided up first the society needs to determine what is just and unjust, so laws and policies can begin to resolve what is considered unreasonable.
Next is Rawls formation of justice, he created it so it did not become a right but instead became the catalyst of what a society should live by. The two values within this part is 1.) That the greatest benefit is to the least advantaged and 2.) That everyone has a fair equality of opportunity regardless of upbringing . His third belief wants to institutionalize the basic structure of society. He plans on doing this by forcing society to conform to the required principles by building it into the basic structure of society . This would incorporate with his final part because then the values would be able to influence policy decisions by lawmakers, thus creating a just society.
Previous was Rawls overall concept however in his theory he has two major...

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