Liberalism [addendum] - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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The Original Position

For Rawls, the first question for political theory is to specify what initial conditions are right for deciding the question of justice. His answer is what he calls the "original position," a hypothetical state of nature or situation without a government designed to be the conceptual context within which the basic principles of justice will be considered and the main outlines of the distribution of rights and duties will be defined and agreed upon. Rawls sees the original position as a heuristic device or a thought experiment used to rethink and clarify our intuitions about what justice is and what the basic structure of a just society would consist in. Rawls's concept of the original position has the following important components: the "veil of ignorance"; definition of the "people" in the original position; and, general knowledge that includes knowledge of the circumstances of justice and...

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This section contains 2,228 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Liberalism [addendum] Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Liberalism [addendum] from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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