Quotes about John Rawls
2 Sourced Quotes
The idea that reason requires an impartial treatment of individuals corresponds to well-known principles. To resolve the questions of distributive justice, Leibniz proposes the following maxim: Put your self in the place of everyone. In recent theories, this amounts to saying that the choice of a just organization of society must take place behind a veil of ignorance, an idea that can be interpreted in several ways. For utilitarianism, each individual must count as one, and none as more than one. For John Rawls, we have to choose the form of society that favors the least advantaged, whoever they might be. Another impartial idea is that of universal rights, embodied in the two declarations of 1776 and 1789.
John Rawls says that justice is the 'first virtue' of social institutions, meaning that it is more fundamental than any other, and that we cannot expect individuals to accept social regulation, and engage in social co-operation unless the terms on which society operates are seen as reasonably just. To talk as though Plato and Aristotle saw justice as a matter of the terms of social and political co-operation may suggest a modern and individualist perspective foreign to both. Yet it is not wholly misleading.