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PHL lecture, mar. 27.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Peter King

Rawls: Two Principles of Justice  Takes up the theme of Plato’s Republic o What is justice  Style reminiscent of the social contract tradition (Hobbes)  With important differences  Account of justice as an analytical model for how to think about social institutions  Rawls places his theory squarely in the tradition of ‘political liberalism’ o The tradition in political theory that recognizes incorporating a degree of toleration o Unlike Plato, Rawls is interested in justice primarily as a institutional virtue  A way social institutions can be or fail to be  Institutions make up ‘the basic structure’ of society:  Political constitution and arrangement of public offices and services  The family  The economic system o Comprising production, distribution, and consumption  The set of laws and the ways in which they are enforced o Courts and prisons  These institutions define the matrix in which citizen lives are led, and so must be ‘fair; in order for the society as a whole to have a hope of being fair  Trick according to Rawls is to figure out what rules ought to apply to the basic structure of society o Proposes two princi
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