Module 4: Justice

4.3 Rawls on Justice

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John Rawls was one of the most prominent political philosophers of the 20th century.  We’re reading excerpts from his  A Theory of Justice, published in 1971 (available as a pdf — see the link below)  Locke argues that justice involves a fair distribution of freedoms and primary goods.  See if you can figure out what a just distribution requires for Rawls.  He defends his idea of justice by arguing that it is what people would choose if they entered the “original position,” which involves setting aside all aspects of their individual justice and considering only what reason tells them about justice.  Think about how this compares to the arguments made by Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau about how people choose legitimate government.


Excerpts from John Rawls, A Theory of Justice

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Political Science 160 by Zumbrunnen, John is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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