Reflection and Objection on John Rawls

Essay by yoyomonkeyCollege, UndergraduateB, September 2008

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John Rawls comes up with a hypothetical idea on how to make a totally fair world. He describes a situation in which the actual members of a society decide how the society is to be run. To make it be completely fair, Rawls comes up with this idea of a veil of ignorance. In order for the members of a society to choose fair rules for their society, they must not know their own place in that society. If they did know their place in society, they would choose to have rules that would give certain advantages to people of their status. Logically, if the people deciding the terms for their society were ignorant of their potential positions in such society, they would create a perfect world. Everyone's needs would be accounted for in this perfect society, and no one would complain of things not being fair because they were the ones that created the society.

Rawls comes up with a hypothetical state of mind called the original position. It is a position in which humans think rationally and try their best to meet the needs of the people. In the original position, people are basically thinking like computers. They have no selfishness at all. They are simply coming up with terms that are best for the group as a whole. This is, of course, purely hypothetical.

John Rawls' ethical ideas center primarily on what is fair to each person. He puts fairness as a top priority. He says that a society cannot be improved without helping the least advantaged people. He prioritizes fairness over efficiency. It is not improvement if it is only improving the lives of some people and not others. In this idealistic society, all the people would be working together to better the group...