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Lecture 19

Philosophy 1020 Lecture 19: Nov 6th Rawls 2 .docx

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PHIL 1020
Dennis Klimchuk

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Nov, 6th
On what grounds can we decide what laws to obey?
Rawls on Justice
“Things every rational man is presumed to want” rights, liberties, opportunities,
income, wealth
Everybody can agree on the agree that its better to have peace because its a lot
easier to get what u want when someone isn’t trying to kill u
Somehow, other things get added to the list like art, self-respect etc.
These things are instrumental to the life you have
No matter what life you lead, it would be better if you have the freedom to persue
People behind the Veil of Ignorance are saying, how do we distribute these
things??? (rights, liberties, opportunities etc.)
When it comes to the first 2 things on the list, the distribution is to be equal
Starting off in this place of equality, will you be willing to live in a world where
you don’t have equal rights? Well yeah no you wouldn’t would u
“Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of basic
liberties compatible wit ha similar scheme of liberties for others”
Wouldn’t tolerate any differences in these positions
“Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both, to the
greatest expected benefit of the least advantaged”
Social and economic inequalities are tolerable as long as the poor are getting more
of these advantages than the rich
The arrangement that makes the worst off the best off is the one you want
“The difference principle”
If you allow some inequality, the worst off become the best off
Inequality could be beneficial
As long as you are lifting the bottom up (poor people), its cool
Somewhere along the way, the CEO’s salaries kept going and the workers wage
did not raise, this is where inequality is not tolerated, this is when inequality is no
longer qualified
This is what the difference principle says
We would choose inequality from the veil of ignorance until this point
“…attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of
opportunity” as long as everyone is free to occupying any position and nobody is
BORN into any position
Fair equality of opportunity
This is what would be chosen by people behind the veil of ignorance
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