Philosophy Dictionary of ArgumentsHome
|Principles, philosophy of science: physical principles are not the same as laws of nature. Rather, laws can be gained from principles or traced back to principles. Examples are the principle of the shortest time, the principle of the smallest effect, the uncertainty principle. See also theories, laws of nature, laws, natural constants._____________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. |
John Rawls on Principles - Dictionary of Arguments
1. Everyone accepts and knows that the other members of society accept the same principles of justice.
2. The basic social institutions fulfill these principles in general and are known for doing so.
Principles/Rawls: we are only interested in general principles of the justice of society as a whole, not in such special or private communities or for cross-national institutions.
Principles/Justice/Rawls: Principles must be defined at the beginning.
Our point of departure, the situation of equality, which should follow an election, corresponds to the natural state of the traditional theories of the social contract, but it is neither a concrete historical situation nor a primitive culture. It is a purely hypothetical situation which should lead to a certain realization of justice.
Principles/MillVsIntuitionism/Mill/Rawls: Mill argued that the principle of usefulness could be the only supreme principle, since otherwise there could be no arbitrator between competing criteria(1).
Principles/Sidgwick: the principle of usefulness is the only one that can play this role(2).
Rawls: that is what made the classical doctrine so attractive: that it tries to solve the problem of priorities and avoids intuitionism.
RawlsVsMill/RawlsVsSidgwick/RawlsVsUtilitarism: we need to realize that there may be no way to dissolve the plurality of the different principles.
Principles/Rawls: I suggest that even in the "lexical order" (the piecemeal processing of principles according to an external order) the principle of equal distribution of rights should be treated as a priority rather than the regulation of economic or social inequalities.
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.
The two principles are applied in chronological order. This means that abandoning the first principle cannot be offset by greater social or economic benefits.
Deviations from equal distribution of social rights or economic benefits can only be justified by the fact that this is to everyone's advantage. ((s) This is a reference to utilitarianism.
The chronological order of compliance also excludes that fundamental freedoms can be exchanged for economic benefits.
Similarly, the chronological order of the principles means that people can only ever be talked about in the form of social role holders.
Principles/Rawls: Redrafting of the Second Principle: Social and economic inequality must be arranged in such a way that (a) it provides the greatest benefit for the worst-off people and (b) it is linked to administrative bodies and positions which are open to all under conditions of fair equal opportunities.
I assume that the two parts of the principle are arranged lexically.
Principles/Rawls: there is nothing inconsistent about the fact that fairness makes unconditional principles possible. It is sufficient to show that, in the initial situation (of a society to be established), the parties agree to principles that define the natural obligations that then apply without fail. ((s)VsRawls: Contradiction: Rawls himself says that the natural duties, for example not to be cruel, are not subject to agreements. (See Rawls I 114).
Principles/Rawls: reformulation in the light of the consideration of contingent individual and historical inequalities:
First principle: Every person must have an equal right to the most comprehensive system of equal fundamental rights that is compatible with an equal system of freedom for all.
Priority rule: the principles of justice are built in lexical order and therefore freedom can only be restricted for the benefit of freedom. There are two cases here: a) a less comprehensive freedom must increase the freedom of the total system of freedom shared by all, b) a restricted freedom must be acceptable to those affected by it.
Principles/Categorical imperative/Kant/Rawls: in the sense of Kant, these principles are also categorical imperatives. They do not require any particular social conditions or individual goals. Only an interest in primary public goods (e. g. freedom) is assumed. The preference for these in turn is derived from the most general assumptions about rationality and the conditions of human life.
Principles/Rawls: final version for Institutions/Rawls: the two principles of justice (see above) plus priority rules:
1. Priority rule: the principles of justice must be dealt with in lexical order, so that freedom may only be restricted in favour of greater freedom. Two cases are possible: a) Restricted freedom must strengthen the overall system of freedoms that benefit all. b) Freedom that is not equal must be accepted by those who enjoy fewer freedoms.
2. Priority rule: (Justice precedes efficiency and prosperity): The second principle of justice is lexical superior to the principle of efficiency and the one of maximizing benefits,...
.... fair equal opportunities are superior to the difference principle. Two cases are possible: a) Opportunity inequality must increase the chances of the disadvantaged. b) An extreme savings rate must reduce the burdens on those affected.
General conception: all primary social goods (freedoms, rights, income, prosperity, conditions for self-esteem, etc.) shall be distributed equally, except where an unequal distribution of some or all of these goods is to the benefit of the least favoured.
Principles/Rawls: while the principles of justice are those chosen in the initial position, the principles of rational decision or rationality are not chosen at all. This leads to the distinction between right and good.
(1) Mill, A System of Logic, bk. VI, ch. XII, sec. 7 and Utilitarianism, ch. V, paers. 26-31.
(2) Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics, bk. IV ch. II and III._____________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.
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005
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