Justice and Fairness - Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Justice and Fairness Essay - 1261 Words | Bartleby

. . . one guideline for guaranteeing fair value seems to be to keep political parties independent of large concentrations of private economic and social power in a private-property democracy, and of government control and bureaucratic power in a . . . socialist regime. In either case, society must bear at least a large part of the cost of organizaing and carrying out the political process and must regulate the conduct of elections. The guarantee of fair value for the political liberties is one way in which justice as fairness [Rawls' theory of justice] tries to meet the objection that the basic liberties are merely formal. (PL 328)The guarantee of fair value for the political liberties is essential to motivate the passing of just laws and to ensure that the fair political process specified by the constitution [constructed around Rawls' two principles] is "open to everyone on a basis of rough equality." (PL 330)

Rawls explains that in justice as fairness " . . . There is . . . a general presumption against imposing legal and other restrictions on conduct without sufficient reason. But this presumption creates no special priority for any particular liberty." (291-292) Slightly later (294) he writes: "the priority of liberty means that the first principle of justice assigns the basic liberties . . . a special status. They have an absolute weight with respect to reasons of public good and of perfectionist values. . . .The equal political liberties cannot be denied to certain social groups on the grounds that their having these liberties may enable them to block policies needed for economic efficiency and growth . . . The priority of liberty implies . . . that a basic liberty can be limited or denied solely for the sake of one or more other basic liberties."

This chapter reconsiders the differences between Amartya Sen's capability approach and John Rawls's justice as fairness approach. Sen's most important critique on Rawlsian justice concerns the inflexibility of social primary goods as the metric of justice. Rawls has argued that this critique implies that the capability approach endorses a comprehensive moral doctrine. In addition, Rawls has criticized the capability approach for failing to provide a workable and public conception of political justice. It is argued that the different kinds of theory that Rawls and Sen are pursuing explain much of their disagreement. Moreover, for a full comparison each theory needs to be further developed: the capability approach requires further theoretical elaboration as a theory of justice, while justice as fairness has to be developed for non-ideal circumstances. This reinterpretation of the Rawls–Sen debate allows for an understanding of the capability approach and justice as fairness as complementary and potentially converging theories.

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Justice and fairness are often used interchangeably (Mandal, 2010, p. 60).This case is because fairness is perceived as a key part of justice in serious situations. This explanation applies the broader view that reflects justice and fairness as connected concepts. There exist obvious similarities of the ideas of fairness and justice.

Principles of Justice and Fairness | Beyond Intractability

Some people use the word fairness to mean justice; even those who do not use the term to mean justice use it in a somehow confused and mainly emotional way. When used in speech, the word fairness does not refer to any noticeable concept (Reif, 2013, p.104). However, there is at least a feature of fairness also used in daily language.

"Justice and Fairness" Essays

In the context of conflict, the terms 'justice' and 'fairness' are often used interchangeably

It is often assumed that there exist no difference between justice and fairness. The two ideas are very difficult to separate. It is somehow assumed that justice and fairness have equal importance. This paper argues that there are important dissimilarities between the two terms. It is important to understand that justice and fairness discuss different ideas. It is correct to say that they have different definitions. To add on, the two terms mean unlike things in practice thus it raises a disagreement with the arguments that fairness is a concept of justice. Some individuals claim that even though the idea of justice and fairness may be different, justice can only prevail if there is fairness. This paper will try to demonstrate that the previously mentioned views are mistaken through highlighting an essential feature of fairness and showing its implications.

Rawlamp039S Justice Fairness Essays and Term Papers …

Rawls would therefore rely upon competing claims possessing some basic continuity, some single unifying truth that runs in accordance with other similar, albeit different, interests. That is to say, although everybody's interests may seem different on a simple or superficial level, they have a single goal at their core. I would suggest that although this is generally true, I would see Rawls' naiveté shining through in suggesting that every single human being on the face of the planet can come to this realization and act accordingly. As unfortunate as it sounds, not everybody can come to such a realization, and would invest everything in the more superficial or diminutive aspects of their own personal interests. However, each man is understood to possess a sound knowledge of the basic rules before the game is played. These rules will ultimately determine what the mutual goals are, a resulting identity of interests and then how such a pursuit can proceed with a minimal amount of conflict existing between each "player". Rawls identifies these rules as being each person's conception of 'fairness'. Actually, for Rawls, justice IS fairness.


Fairness is a quality that I try hard to embody, and I admire those who demonstrate the impartiality necessary to be just

Although Aristotle introduced the concept of 'justice as fairness', Rawls approach is new in that it involves the careful structuring or orchestration of ideas. His approach is substantive rather than semantic. This approach revives the tradition of philosophers such as Bentham, Hume and John Stuart Mill in providing a clear and sophisticated exploration of ideas. Such an approach lends a tremendous amount of ideological appeal and importance to Rawls' work. He promotes both conceptual coherence and practical feasibility, and therefore increases the chance that his work will hold a great deal of importance and power within educated circles for years (perhaps even centuries) to come. He has a clear understanding of how he thinks moral philosophy should be executed: "There is a definite if limited class of facts against which conjectured principles can be checked, namely our considered judgements in reflective equilibrium". Already we can see that what Rawls considers to be the facts are born from the ideas of the singular individual. The 'facts' are what one might say after thinking carefully about the topic in question. And so, he associates justice with truth in that, like truth, justice is uncompromising. It is a 'first virtue' of human activity - universal. Rawls, in fact, speaks of a 'reflective equilibrium' between principles and ordinary judgements, since he envisages that where there are initial discrepancies between these we have a choice of modifying the conditions of the initial position in which principles are chosen or modifying in detail the judgements.

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With the appearance of "A Theory of Justice" by John Rawls in 1972, philosophers once again turned their attention toward their understanding of justice in accordance with ethics. Philosophers as contemporary as Emmanuel Levinas had already explored ethics in relation to moral concerns and dilemmas and had regarded ethics as our relation to 'The Other'. And ages ago, Aristotle set the basic foundations for the very topic when he discussed justice as fairness, and the manner in which we relate to our fellow man - ethically. But Rawls set out to do something a little different. In the same manner that Levinas called for a revision of ideas, Rawls now does the same in consideration of our understanding of justice. He argues that our 'sense' of justice is the true key for the operation of a stable society. But how does he go about this? And what is the 'sense' that he actually refers to?