“The sense of justice is continuous with the love of mankind.”

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Excerpts from:

A Theory of Justice

John Rawls

The Role of Justice

  1. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust.
  2. Justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others.
  3. Justice does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many.

A society is well ordered when it is not only designed to advance the good of its members but when it is also effectively regulated by a public conception of justice. A society in which

  1. everyone accepts and knows that the others accept the same principles of justice
  2. the basic social institutions generally satisfy and are generally known to satisfy these principles.

Existing societies are of course seldom well-ordered in this sense, for what is just and unjust is usually in dispute.

“We strive for the best we can attain within the scope the world allows.”

John Rawls (1921-2002), Political Liberalism: Expanded Edition

 

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