Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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Veil of ignorance: The veil of ignorance is a thought experiment introduced by American philosopher John Rawls in his 1971 work, A Theory of Justice. It serves as a powerful tool for evaluating the fairness and impartiality of societal structures and institutions. It asks us to imagine that we are completely unaware of our own social position, such as our race, gender, socioeconomic status, and natural talents. In this hypothetical state, we are tasked with designing the principles that should govern our society. See also Society, Impartiality, Justice, Equality, Fairness.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Michael Sandel on Veil of Ignorance - Dictionary of Arguments

Brocker I 672
Veil of Ignorance/SandelVsRawls/Sandel: Rawl's "Veil of Ignorance" in an assumed >initial state of a society
to be built, in which people do not know what role they will later play, is an attempt to reconstruct Kant's transcendental subject without metaphysical assumptions. See Veil of Ignorance/Rawls.
SandelVsRawls: Problem: How do the conditions of the original state come about if they are not the result of transcendental philosophical reflection on the non-empirical conditions of the possibility of freedom, as in Kant?
Rawls: assumes a "mutual disinterest" of people in their original state.
Sandel: Question: What is the criterion for "plausibility" or "reasonability" that underlies this construction of an initial state? (1) See Beginning/Sandel, Intersubjectivity/Sandel.
Brocker I 675
SandelVsRawls: behind the veil of ignorance there is no negotiation at all, since the subjects assumed by Rawls have no different interests at all. The "conclusion of a contract" is therefore not based on a free agreement but - in the Kantian sense of the word - on the realization that implies such a conceived practical subjectivity in terms of principles of justice from the outset. (2) See Contract Theory/Sandel.

1. Michael Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, Cambridge/New York 1998 (zuerst 1982), p. 48.
2. Ibid. p. 130, 132.

Markus Rothhaar, “Michael Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice” in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Sand I
Michael Sandel
The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self 1984

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018

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