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The Principles Of Justice Essay

1546 words - 6 pages

Justice is seen as a concept that is balanced between law and morality. The laws that support social harmony are considered just. Rawls states that justice is the first virtue of social institutions; this means that a good society is one structured according to principles of justice. The significance of principles of justice is to provide a way of assigning rights and duties in the basic institutions of the society and defining the appropriate distribution of the benefits and burdens of the society. According to Rawls, justice is best understood by a grasp of the principles of justice (Rawls, 1971). The principles are expected to represent the moral basis of political government. These principles indicate that humankind needs liberty and freedom so long as they do harm others. Rawls states that justice is significant to human development and prosperity.
According to Rawls, the challenge of justice is to ensure a just distribution of primary goods that include powers and opportunities, rights and liberties, means of self-respect, income and wealth among others (Rawls, 2001). Rawls disputes the earlier predominant common source of injustice, the utilitarianism theory, which states that justice is best defined by that which provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The theory of utilitarianism ignores the moral worth of an individual. This theory does not take into consideration the minority. An example is the mistreatment of the Jews by the Nazi Germans (Rawls, 2001).
Rawls states that you cannot reimburse for the sufferings of the distressed by enhancing the joys of the successful. Fairness according to him occurs when the society makes sure that every individual is treated equally before the law and given a chance to succeed in a socially moderated life. Rawls developed the concept of the original position, which gives people a chance to decide on the principles of justice from a veil of ignorance. The original position is the hypothetical situation where no one has any arbitrary advantage over anyone else.
Behind the veil of ignorance, all individuals are specified as rational, free and morally equal beings in the society. Individuals behind the veil of ignorance do not know anything about themselves, their natural abilities, or their position in the society. The individuals know nothing about their sex, race, nationality and individual tastes. Ignorance to the details about oneself will eventually lead to the development of schemes of the principles of justice that are fair to all in the society (Little & Winch, 2000).
The individuals in the original position will adopt a maximum strategy that will maximize the prospects of the least well off. According to Rawls, the people in the original position will adopt principles that will monitor the assignment of rights and duties and regulating the distribution of social and economic advantages in the community. Rawls’s difference principle allows inequalities in the...

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