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John Locke and property righs - Essay Example

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This position allowed Rawls to address two contemporary issues that are equally important but also tend oppose each other’s views: freedom and equality. The Rawlsian theory of justice is influenced by Hume’s philosophy with its critique of justice, that which prioritizes conventions and universal meaning (Forbes, 1985, 68). Hume talked about artificial justice and Rawls coined the so-called artificial device or the “original position”, which is used to determine justice. It also takes inspiration from Kantian principles, which emphasize moral nobility and the complexity and richness of human life and experience. The beauty of Rawls’ philosophy is its simplicity. The challenge of including the interests of the whole or the large number as well as those of the individual’s was addressed assuming a degree of ignorance in order to attain a desired fairness. It first rejects everything in order to get to the bottom of fairness, and justice is then determined. What this means is that similar crimes would have different resolutions because the conditions and parties in each crime are different. Also, there are crimes that in traditional justice could easily be punished because it fits a conventional mold. Let us suppose that a man is accused of racism because he calls someone a Negro, along with several derogatory remarks. Rawlsian philosophy does not jump into conclusion and, instead, tries to understand the situation according to several approaches and involves the reflection on several case-specific variables. The “original position” is the first of these and the second is what Rawls referred to as “reflective equilibrium”. In explaining the concept, Rawls (1999) stated that “justification is a matter of the mutual support of many considerations, of everything fitting together into one coherent view” (19). This approach to justice is radically different from the current system used in most societies. However, it depicts a framework that indicate a highly effective process because it determines and metes out justice within the context of the circumstances of the parties involved. This aspect covers the many different conceptions and interpretations of justice. For instance, retributive justice emphasizes the proportionality of the punishment to the crime committed so that it is not greater or lesser than the harm perpetuated. There is also the case of restorative justice, which follows a more benign framework, focusing on “healing” as the more preferable outcome for all stakeholders involved including the victim and the offender. Rawlsian philosophy breaks through the differences of these other theories by identifying the fundamental variable in determining justice and work its way from there. By focusing on fairness and the contexts behind actions, Rawls was able to develop a more inclusive model. While Rawlsian philosophy has earned accolades and recognition, it also has its share of criticisms. One of the most important is his focus on the individual. For example, if a system of justice will follow the “reflective equlibrium model” there are those who point out that it would involve several judgments and doctrines based on different backgrounds of those involved, resulting to an almost infinite number of equlibria (Maffettone, 2010, 139). The critics come from all philosophical inclinations. There are those coming from ...Show more


The Rawlsian Philosophy John Rawls’ theory of justice is one of the most interesting philosophies to have emerged in modern times. It was introduced in the 1970s when A Theory of Justice was published. It was revised several times, with the most recent done in the year 1999…
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John Locke and property righs
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