The Theory Of Justice By Rawls Essays

1392 Words Apr 3rd, 2015 null Page
In developing his theory of justice, Rawls is primarily concerned with the basic structure of society, not the personal conduct of individuals (Kymlicka 2002: 10). His theory is constructed with a particular conception of society in mind, namely, that of the modern nation-state (Parfit 2011: 346), and furthermore, his theory is focused on justice within such a society, not on interactions between different societies (Singer 1993: 253). In formulating his theory, Rawls also stipulates some circumstances that need to be applied to society and its members when conceiving his principles of justice. He sees them as the necessary conditions under which a cooperative society is possible. These are; the condition of moderate scarcity — in terms of natural and other resources — that the individuals of a society have more or less the same basic needs and interests, and, they persue their interests rationally (Rawls 1971: 126-127). Now that it is clear that Rawls is concerned with justice in a specific context, we are better able to contrast and compare his theory with utilitarianism, against which he intended to formulate a more appealing alternative (Kymlicka 2002: 53). However, when discussing utilitarianism, I will first point out some significant differences that do arise after acknowledging that it is not strictly concerned with political organisation, nor focused on individuals within a particular society.

In its broad sense, utilitarianism is considered a comprehensive moral…

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