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Mill and Rawls

  • Henry R. West
Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)

Abstract

No collection of writings on Mill and justice would be complete without a comparison of Mill’s account of justice with that of John Rawls. Rawls’s A Theory of Justice attracted more attention than any writing on justice in the twentieth century. It bred a substantial volume of secondary literature — interpretation, criticism, and efforts to apply the theory in other areas. Rawls himself, in later writings, expanded — or contracted, some commentators would say — it to more general questions of political philosophy and to justice among nations. In this chapter I will focus on the original statement of his position in A Theory of Justice. The basic model on which the theory is constructed seems very simple, but the limitations of its scope and the supporting arguments for it are very complex. In the first place, Rawls is presenting an ideal theory for a well-ordered society, with strict compliance. He thinks that this helps to provide principles to criticize the injustice in our own society. But he goes on to provide argument for institutional arrangements in nonideal societies in light of the ideal. Secondly, the scenario by which he argues for his principles of justice is subject to controversial assumptions.

Keywords

Marginal Utility Great Happiness Political Liberty Imperfect Duty Basic Liberty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. Rawls, John (1971) A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Belknap).Google Scholar
  2. Rawls, John (1999) A Theory of Justice, Revised Edition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Belknap).Google Scholar
  3. Robson, J.M. (ed.) (1965) The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill: Principles of Political Economy Part 1, Vol. II (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).Google Scholar
  4. Robson, J.M. (ed.) (1967) The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill: Essays on Economics and Society Part 2, Vol. V (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).Google Scholar
  5. Robson, J.M. (ed.) (1969) The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill: Essays on Ethics, Religion, and Society, Vol. X (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).Google Scholar
  6. Robson, J.M. (ed.) (1977) The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill: Essays on Politics and Society Part 1, Vol. XVIII (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).Google Scholar
  7. Robson, J.M. and Stillinger, Jack (eds) (1981) The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill: Autobiography and Literary Essays, Vol. I (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Henry R. West 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry R. West

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