John Rawls Theory

Categories: JusticePoliticsTheory

John Rawls is commonly known as a political philosopher who studied at Harvard university. Rawls developed the theory of distributive justice. The theory articulates two fundamental principles of justice which would, in turn, guarantee a just and morally acceptable society. The first principle states that everyone within society should be as free as possible once it does not impinge on others freedom. The second principle explains that social and economic positions should be to everyone's advantage and should be open to all, no one should be debarred from access to opportunities.

Rawls invented a theoretical veil of ignorance' where all the players' are placed in a situation called the original position'. This theory aims to get ordinary people to place themselves in a specific situation where they do not know any information about themselves, it forces them to create a generalised point of view. What this position supports are that while each person has different ends and goals, different backgrounds and talents, each ought to have a fair chance to develop his or her talents and to pursue those goals fair equality for opportunity'.

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Everyone must think of what is morally correct throughout society in order to create fair rules. In a just society all members have equal access to opportunities, but this does not indicate an equal outcome. Rawls explains that inequality is necessary, without it the motivating factor to achieve would be non-existent. To achieve one must work in order to receive a reward.

Rawls shows us that the world can be unfair and with the veil of ignorance he enables us to think under these circumstances.

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People are forced to think of the lives of others, the poor and rich societies. If one is born into a poor society this virtue of that fact should not debar one from opportunities, Rawls believes that if effort is put in those who are poor can achieve comfort and wealth. Rawls recognises that if one is born into accidental circumstances they should not suffer from this accidental birth. These principles discussed promote equality among all. Everyone has the same basic liberties and opportunities. Every person has a moral obligation to accept the existence of every other human being and therefore all people become equal in their position and desires.

Updated: Feb 22, 2021
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John Rawls Theory. (2020, May 26). Retrieved from

John Rawls Theory essay
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