Discussion 23 John Rawls.

John Rawls. Photo on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

If I knew nothing about my talents, gender, race, economic standing, or education, I would like to live in a society that is fair and just, that is, a society that treats everyone equally. If I know nothing about my talents or gender, it means that everyone is equal in the society. No one has an advantage over another one and there is a harmonious existence. Therefore, I will construct a society that treats everyone equally.  When everyone is equal, each person has equal opportunity. I would construct a society that respects everyone and administers justice equally.

John Rawls would say that my society is fair and just. According to Rawls in his book, “The Theory of Justice,” if everyone’s privileges are removed such that everyone is equal, it would be logical to construct a system that treats everyone equally. Rawls criticizes the theory of utilitarianism which states that the society should aim at addressing the greatest good for the greatest number.” The utilitarianism view means that the society should focus on addressing the needs of the majority and neglect the minority. The utilitarian system works on the principle that if the greatest number of people are happy, then the system is working properly.

The problem with the utilitarian view is that interferes with the democracy of the society. The minority suffers at the expense of the majority. According to Rawls, justice refers to the fair treatment of all people in society. Rawls emphasizes that if inequality exists in society, it should be arranged in such a manner that everyone benefits. If some people benefit from inequality, then society is not just and fair. For justice to exist in society, there is a need for moral psychology. Rawls uses moral psychology to explain the theory of goodness, which is an element of a just and fair society.

Rawls agrees with the idea about the society I would construct if I knew nothing about my talents, gender, race, economic standing or education. Rawls asks people to imagine living in a society where they are stripped of their talents and abilities, which make them different. He uses this example to make people understand how people who are less advantaged feel living in an unjust society. By experiencing how the disadvantaged groups, such as the those from low socioeconomic status and the minority feel, a person can advocate for the formulation of policies that promote equality.


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