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PHILOS 3N03: Justice as Fairness in Institutions in the Public Realm (Essay Sample)


We covered Martha Nussbaum's Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Please use this a guide as well as John Rawls' A Theory to Justice and his idea on justice as fairness. These are the only two references necessary.

PHILOS 3N03: Political Philosophy Introduction  Focusing on the following questions:- Do principles of justice apply primarily to institutions or individuals?  - What is the appropriate role of the state in shaping our institutions and ensuring that they are just?  - To what extent is it legitimate to coerce individuals and limit their freedom?  - What responsibility do individuals have?   - Most people agree that all persons should be treated as equals, but what follows theoretically and practically from this commitment?  - What capabilities is it necessary to have to live meaningful lives?  - Should we be concerned with justice beyond our national borders - Have a good understanding of Rawls - Understand the main criticism of Rawls - Understand several different philosophical accounts of equality, liberty and justice - Create you’re own views and support them with argumentLECTURE ONE - Classical Utilitarianism :5 A Theory of JusticeRAWLS AND UTILITARIANISM - Utilitarianism: the morally right act is the act that maximizes the greatest good overall- Society is just when its major institutions are arranged to achieve the net balance of satisfaction summed over all the individuals belonging to it- Rawls: believes utilitarianism is the big justification for doing things; however many people have problems with the views- The distribution of organs to save more lives yet taking another life without consent- Some consequentialist arguments: - Policies that harvesting peoples organs; it is justified because it is public policy- Against: it may generate fear, hence it would result in less happiness- Theory of value; what counts as the good; it depends on the individual- Bentham, Mills and Singer are famous utilitarianism Attractions of Utilitarianism:  - everyone counts for one and no one counts for more than one- Human well-being matters1Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - Test rules according to their consequences on human well-beingWhat has value? How to define utility? - Experience of pleasure is the ultimate human good - CRITICISM: a life of being injected with drugs may be experienced as pleasure but has no value- Many mental states have value i.e. sense of accomplishment, peace - CRITICISM: Nozick’s experience machine- Satisfy our preferences is what is valuable - CRITICISM: can judge badly or be mistaken; preferring something doesn;doesn’t make it valuable; adaptive preferences- Satisfying our informed preference is what is valuable - CRITICISM: difficult to apply in practice
SOME PROBLEMS: - Can’t appropriately value special relationships, promises, contracts, friendships, ones own projects and commitments- Often times certain people believe those are valuable in and out of themselves.  - Utilitarianism does not understand relationships that are important for the individual - We intrinsically want to follow through with out promises/commitments  - Permits counting illegitimate preferences (e.g. desire to deny rights or qual treatment to minority group)- What if many people have immoral preferences? ex; racist/sexist beliefs - We cannot deny the majority and what brings about the greatest amount of happiness, thus they ignore what is right and moral - Very demanding- EX; Singer. Requiring many sacrifices, like abandoning your autonomy and what is valuable to the individual. ex; relationships, promises RAWLS ON “CLASSICAL UTILITARIANISM” & CRITICISM OF UTILITARIANISM  - Principle of rational choice for the individual- Balance losses and gains, make sacrifices for future gainRawls understand the attractiveness of this theory, because they want their preferences met. To achieve these gains you need to make certain sacrifices. The 2Tuesday, January 8, 2019 idea that you make decisions/sacrifices for the moment not keeping in mind of the future. You need to balance losses and gains for the collective good. The problematic implications; sacrificing for others and not receiving any gain – do the same principles apply to a group? - Extend reasoning to society- balance satisfactions and dissatisfactions between different individualsCRITIQUES: - Distribution of goods doesn’t matter directly- Able to judge what is good without referring to what is right independently - Doesn’t take seriously the distinction between persons. This theory wont the best in shaping a flourishing democratic nations, because it does not capture the free individuals’ basic rights
How can a society/government know exactly what are the preferences of the population. They would make sure that in society the means of satisfaction is allocated evenly throughout society insofar to maximize satisfaction. Rawls believes this is problematic. Allocating rights is not being distributing in the right away or evenly. Setting up a theory of justice requires a fair distribution. It is allowing society to set a institution that marginalizes certain groups. A just society may not be the happiest society, but it has to be a fair one. Utilitarianism does not take the distinction between person seriously. 


Justice as Fairness in Institutions in the Public Realm
Institutional Affiliation
Justice as Fairness in Institutions in the Public Realm
Central to political philosophy is the question on when citizens should practice civil obedience or have a moral duty to obey and support government institutions in society. The ideas of equality and freedom tend to conflict with each other when issues of distributing duties, rights, burdens and benefits are in question. Domestic politics is rife with demands for individual freedoms and egalitarian, universal, and welfare arrangements. In his theory of justice, John Rawls attempts to reconcile such conflicts between equality and liberty (Rawls, 1999). Rawls’ theory assumes that certain characteristics of free societies and some particular ideas about people and society need to be understood.

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