Tag Archives: RawlsPapers

Rawls [7], “Distributive Justice,” (1967)

After a brief segue into the topic of legal obligation, Rawls is back to elaborating on his conception of justice as fairness.  In “Distributive Justice” he has three aims: 1) Explain why the just society should not be structured by … Continue reading

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Rawls [6], “Legal Obligation and the Duty of Fair Play,” (1964)

Suppose we are legal residents of Arizona, and a law has recently been passed which demands of all legal residents that they report suspected illegal immigrants to the local authorities.  (Never mind for the moment how such a law could … Continue reading

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Rawls [5], “The Sense of Justice,” (1963)

In this essay Rawls addresses two questions, one raised specifically by his theory of justice and the other a general and much discussed meta-ethical question.  The specific question is, “To whom do the principles of justice apply?” or “To whom … Continue reading

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Rawls [4], “Constitutional Liberty and the Concept of Justice” (1963)

When we last left Rawls, he was trying to identify the ‘concept’ of justice–that is, what it is we’re attributing to a society when we call it ‘just.’  Rawls claimed that a ‘just’ society conforms to the two principles of … Continue reading

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Rawls [3], “Justice as Fairness” (1958)

In this essay Rawls investigates ‘justice’ as a property of social institutions (practices).  What does it mean to describe an institution as just/unjust? He criticizes a utilitarian conception of justice, according to which an institution is just if it maximizes … Continue reading

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Rawls [2], “Two Concepts of Rules,” (1955)

In this essay Rawls introduces a distinction between justifying a practice and justifying particular actions within a practice.  The distinction is important, for it shows how utilitarians might rebut the common criticism that they are committed to endorsing acts like … Continue reading

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Rawls [1]: “Outline of a Decision Procedure in Ethics” (1951)

Most generally, this essay is about how to show that a given moral principle is ‘objectively valid’ and that actions in accordance with that principle are ‘objectively right.’  The central claim, so far as I can tell, is that a … Continue reading

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Summer Reading Project

Inspired by Josh, I’ve decided to undertake my own summer reading project: Rawls’s Collected Papers.  The plan is to read Rawls’s essays in chronological order, beginning with “Outline of a Decision Procedure in Ethics” (1951) and ending with “The Idea … Continue reading

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