John Rawls  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
Revision as of 08:19, 30 April 2010
Jahsonic (Talk | contribs)

← Previous diff
Current revision
Jahsonic (Talk | contribs)

Line 1: Line 1:
{{Template}} {{Template}}
-[[John Locke]] considers the state of nature in his ''[[Second Treatise on Civil Government]]'' written around the time of the [[Engagement controversy]] in England during the 1680s. For Locke, "The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it", and that law is Reason. Locke believes that reason teaches that "no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions"; and that transgressions of this may be punished. This view of the state of nature is partly deduced from Christian belief (unlike Hobbes, whose philosophy is not dependent upon any prior theology): the reason we may not harm another is that we are all the possessions of God and do not own ourselves.+'''John Bordley Rawls''' (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American [[moral philosophy|moral]] and [[political philosophy|political]] philosopher
- +
-Although it may be natural to assume that Locke was responding to Hobbes, Locke never refers to Hobbes by name, and may instead have been responding to other writers of the day, like [[Robert Filmer]]. In fact, Locke's First Treatise is entirely a response to Filmers Patriarcha, and takes a step by step method to refuting Filmer's theory set out in Patriarcha. The conservative party at the time had rallied behind Filmers Patriarcha, whereas the Whigs, scared of another prosecution of Anglicans and Protestants, rallied behind the theory set out by Locke in his Two Treatises of Government; as it gives a clear theory as to why you should be allowed to overthrow a monarchy who abuses the trust set in it by the people.+
- +
-=== Rousseau ===+
- +
-Hobbes's view was challenged in the eighteenth century by [[Jean-Jacques Rousseau]], who claimed that Hobbes was taking socialized persons and simply imagining them living outside of the society in which they were raised. He affirmed instead that people were neither good nor bad. Men knew neither vice nor virtue since they had almost no dealings with each other. Their bad habits are the products of civilization. Nevertheless the conditions of nature forced people to enter a [[state of society]] by establishing a [[civil society]].+
- +
-=== Hume's theory ===+
- +
-[[David Hume]]'s view is that the use of a "state of nature" hypothesis in political philosophy is a rhetorical ploy, or at best a thought-experiment, and should not be taken seriously as a statement about what human beings have historically been or done. +
- +
-As he says in ''A Treatise of Human Nature'' (1739), human beings are naturally social: "’Tis utterly impossible for men to remain any considerable time in that savage condition, which precedes society; but that his very first state and situation may justly be esteem’d social. This, however, hinders not, but that philosophers may, if they please, extend their reasoning to the suppos’d state of nature; provided they allow it to be a mere philosophical fiction, which never had, and never cou’d have any reality." (Book III, Part II, Section II: "Of the Origin of Justice and Property."+
- +
-Hume's ideas about human nature expressed in the ''Treatise'' suggest that he would be happy with neither Hobbes's nor his contemporary Rousseau's thought-experiments. He explicitly derides as incredible the hypothetical humanity described in Hobbes's ''Leviathan'' (Book II, Part III, Section I: "Of Liberty and Necessity"). And he argues in "Of the Origin of Justice and Property" that if mankind were universally benevolent, we would not hold Justice to be a virtue: "’tis only from the selfishness and confin’d generosity of men, along with the scanty provision nature has made for his wants, that justice derives its origin."+
- +
-=== 20th century ===+
- +
-[[John Rawls]] used what amounted to an artificial state of nature. To develop his [[Theory of Justice]], Rawls places everyone in the [[original position]]. The original position is a hypothetical state of nature used as a [[thought experiment]] to develop Rawls' theory of justice. People in the original position have no society and are under a [[veil of ignorance]] that prevents them from knowing how they may benefit from society. They do not know if they will be smart or dumb, rich or poor, or anything else about their fortunes and abilities. Rawls reasons that people in the original position would want a society where they had their basic liberties protected and where they had some economic guarantees as well. If society were to be constructed from scratch through a social agreement between individuals, these principles would be the expected basis of such an agreement. Thus, these principles should form the basis of real, modern societies since everyone should consent to them if society were organized from scratch in fair agreements.+
- +
-== Between nations ==+
- +
-In Hobbes's view, once a civil government is instituted, the state of nature has disappeared between individuals because of the civil power which exists to enforce contracts. Between nations, however, no such power currently exists and therefore nations have the same rights to preserve themselves - including making war - as individuals possessed. Such a conclusion led some writers to the idea of association of nations or worldwide [[civil society]]. Among them there were [[Immanuel Kant]] with his work on [[perpetual peace]].+
- +
-Rawls also examines the state of nature between nations. In his work the ''[[Law of Peoples]]'', Rawls applies a modified version of his original position thought experiment to international relationships. Rawls says that people, not states, form the basic unit that should be examined. States should be encouraged to follow the principles from Rawls's earlier ''Theory of Justice''. Democracy seems like it would be the most logical means of accomplishing these goals, but benign non-democracies should be seen as acceptable at the international stage. Rawls develops eight principles for how people should act on an international stage.+
 +His ''[[Masterpiece|magnum opus]]'', ''[[A Theory of Justice]]'' (1971), was said at the time of its publication to be "the most important work in moral philosophy since the end of [[World War II]]" and is now regarded as "one of the primary texts in political philosophy". His work in political philosophy, dubbed Rawlsianism, takes as its starting point the argument that "the most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position". Rawls attempts to determine the principles of [[social justice]] by employing a number of [[thought experiment]]s such as the famous [[original position]] in which everyone is impartially situated as equals behind a [[veil of ignorance (philosophy)|veil of ignorance]]. He is one of the major thinkers in the tradition of liberal political philosophy. According to English philosopher [[Jonathan Wolff (philosopher)|Jonathan Wolff]], John Rawls was the most important political philosopher of the 20th century.
 +==See also==
 +* ''[[Anarchy, State, and Utopia]]''
 +* [[List of American philosophers]]
 +* [[List of liberal theorists]]
 +* [[Philosophy of economics]]
 +* ''[[A Theory of Justice: The Musical!]]''
{{GFDL}} {{GFDL}}

Current revision

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

John Bordley Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American moral and political philosopher

His magnum opus, A Theory of Justice (1971), was said at the time of its publication to be "the most important work in moral philosophy since the end of World War II" and is now regarded as "one of the primary texts in political philosophy". His work in political philosophy, dubbed Rawlsianism, takes as its starting point the argument that "the most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position". Rawls attempts to determine the principles of social justice by employing a number of thought experiments such as the famous original position in which everyone is impartially situated as equals behind a veil of ignorance. He is one of the major thinkers in the tradition of liberal political philosophy. According to English philosopher Jonathan Wolff, John Rawls was the most important political philosopher of the 20th century.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "John Rawls" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools