John Rawls And The Veil Of Ignorance

Hammering Shield

220px-03-rawls-225[pictured:  John Rawls]

In his book, A Theory Of Justice, Rawls asks us to imagine a fantastic scene:  a group of people are gathered to plan their own future society, hammering out the details of what will basically become a Social Contract.  Rawls calls this the “Original Position.”  In the Original Position, the future citizens do not yet know what part they will play in their upcoming society.  They must design their society behind what Rawls calls the Veil Of Ignorance.

“No one knows his place in society, his class position or social status; nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like.”   

Neither do the people know what type of society they will be entering.  They do not know its culture, its economic situation, or political climate.

It is important for Rawls that the…

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