Rawls, John (1921-2002) - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Justice as Fairness

The primary objective of Rawls's political theory is to articulate and defend a conception of justice for a modern democratic regime. The theory begins with the idea of society as a fair system of cooperation between free and equal persons. The principles of justice for such a society characterize its fair terms of cooperation by specifying its citizens' basic rights and duties and by regulating the distribution of its economic benefits. To formulate his particular conception of justice, Rawls invokes the familiar theory of the social contract, according to which the legitimate rules for a society are arrived at by the autonomous agreement of its members. Rawls's version of the contract theory is distinctive, however, in its insistence on the essential fairness of the point of view from which the agreement itself is conceived. This enables Rawls to appeal to the justificatory force of...

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This section contains 1,904 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Rawls, John (1921-2002) Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Rawls, John (1921-2002) from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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