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Posted on July 27th, 2012, by

John Rawls is a famous American philosopher. One of his most famous works that passes through his whole career is A theory of practice, that was published in 1971 for the first time. It became a powerful impulse for the revival of interest to the political philosophy in the USA and recomprehension of traditional interpretation of liberal values.

Rawls’ work affected the nerve-knot of political-philosophical discussions, namely the question about correlation of equality and freedom, rights and blessings. Being a great scientist in this sphere, he made an effort to develop general principles of justice, which could underlie the well organized society, built on the democratic origin, formulate the theory alternative for utilitarian views, oriented on benefit principle as the criteria of all phenomena estimation and foundation of morality. Under the influence of discussion, developed after the publication of his book, Rawls substantially deepened and even interpreted a number of important aspects of his theory. So the value Rawls’ works for the development of modern political philosophy and political practice consists foremost in the attempt to develop social and political theory, adequate for the modern stage of development of capitalist society, supposing the combination of individual freedom and correct distributing of material welfares.

The theory of justice as is a variant of neocontractation, interpreting the concept of public agreement as a certain hypothetical situation in which people must be put for the choice of principles of just society system. The cover of ignorance means that, making a choice, a man knows neither what position he will occupy in the society, nor what advantages he will score, nor what ideas of blessing the people will stick to.

In obedience to Rawls people in initial position will choose the following two principles of justice: the first one is the principle of equal freedoms, providing every citizen with equal right for the maximally wide system of basic freedoms, and the second one is the principle connecting the principle of equal possibilities and principle of distinction), in obedience to which social inequality is justified only when it leads to the most possible benefit of the least well-to-do members of the society. A theory in a counterbalance to utilitarianism is individualistic, as it attaches the importance to the distinction between separate people and underlines priority of man’s freedom to formulate, reconsider and rationally follow the conception of blessing. The state, occupying the neutral position, must not give preferences to special ideas about blessing. At the same time a theory is distributive, as justice is examined in the context of distributing of the primary blessings, which are determined by Rawls as an aggregate of things, necessary for realization of any rational vital plan (basic rights and freedoms, profit, possibilities of self-realization and etc). At a later time under the influence of criticism Rawls offered the ground of the theory of justice as to exceptionally political conception, limited by the description of democratic society structure, which could not prescribe moral, religious or metaphysical principles to the citizens. This political conception includes the intuitional presentations, unobviously present in the political culture of democratic society and divided by all of its citizens, and that is why at all of pluralism of modern society it can rely on the citizens’ consent citizens and in that way to guarantee stability of the social system. The ground of political liberalism builds on deontological principles and theory of rational choice.

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