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Slavery: Slavery is the dehumanizing practice of treating people as property. Slaves are forced to work without pay and are often subjected to violence and abuse. Slavery is a violation of human rights. See also Human rights, Fundamental rights, Autonomy, Person, Humans.
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

John Rawls on Slavery - Dictionary of Arguments

I 167
Slavery/average benefits/Rawls: against the principle of average benefit one could argue that it requires the same risk acceptance from all. Since in the beginning there was never a situation in which all parties involved could agree, the principle should be rejected. Extreme example:
A slave keeper could argue that in the circumstances of his society, the institution of slavery is necessary to produce the greatest average happiness. Furthermore, he would argue that he himself, in the initial situation of a society to be established (in which all parties involved stand behind a veil of ignorance with regard to their later position in society), would have voted for slavery with the risk of ending up as a slave themselves.
Rawls: At first glance, this could be dismissed as absurd, one could think that it makes no difference what he chooses; as long as individuals have agreed to a concept of justice with real risks, no one is bound to such requirements.
Contract theory/Rawls: if one takes the view of contracts as a basis, however, the argument of the slave keeper is correct: it would be a mistake if the slaves wanted to answer that the argument was superfluous, since there is no actual choice and no equal distribution of opportunities. The treaty doctrine is purely hypothetical: if a version of justice were chosen in the initial situation, its principles would be those that were applied. It is not an argument that such an understanding was not intended or would ever be.
We cannot have both: a hypothetical interpretation without concrete information about the result...
I 168
...and later by reassessing the risk, rejecting principles we no longer want to have.
G. HarmanVsRawls/Rawls: Gilbert Harman pointed out to me that I had made this mistake myself(1).
Solution/Rawls: The theory of justice as fairness refutes the slave owner argument already in the initial situation.
Here, according to the theory of justice as fairness, we have the possibility to accept the two principles of justice, then the imponderables can be circumvented:

I 61
Principles/justice/Rawls: provisional wording:
1. every person must have the same right to the widest possible fundamental freedom, insofar as it is compatible with the same freedom for others.
2. social and economic inequalities shall be arranged in such a way that they
(a) are reasonably expectable for everyone's benefit; and
(b) are linked to positions and administrative procedures that can be held by anyone.
This guarantees fundamental freedoms.

1. See G. Harman "Constitutional Liberty and the Concept of Justice", Nomos VI: Justice, ed. C. J. Friedrich and J. W. Chapman, New York, 1963.

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.

Rawl I
J. Rawls
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005

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