Rawls was primarily concerned with questions of how best social justice could be organized as a “basis structure” in a liberal and democratic society (Ibid: 6). For Rawls, his idea of justice was directed at how a societys main political, social, and economic institutions should cooperate together in distributing fundamental rights and duties to everyone in an ordered society (Ibid: 6). His objective of A Theory of Justice, published in 1971, was to provide an alternative solution to the then dominant utilitarian principle of justice, which held that, a society is “right and morally just,” if major institutions maximized what is intrinsically good, to the satisfaction of the vast majority of people in a society (Ibid: 21). In rejecting the utilitarian principle of utiltiy, Rawls set forth his conception of justice, which was egalitarian in nature.
It would perhaps be helpful to look at some definitions of justice, before analyzing Rawlss conception of justice. The dictionary of legal theory define justice as the set of moral and political constrains on human interactions (Bix, 2004: 108). There have been significant debates about the nature and source of standards of justice, and some sceptical thinkers argued that standards of justice were grounded only in the conventional views of society, or in a communitys traditions (Ibid: 108). Other theories viewed the principles of justice as a general agreement among people under certain ideal conditions. A traditional view of justice described standards that are eternal and unchangeable, established by God, the nature of the universe, human nature, or some combination of these (Ibid). D.D.Raphael (2001:1), a theorist of justice, recognized justice as a complex concept
that pervaded social thought, and is basic to law, ethics, and politics alike (Raphael:1). In social and political ethics,