John Rawls, fully John Bordley Rawls

John
Rawls, fully John Bordley Rawls
1921
2002

American Philosopher, held James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University

Author Quotes

One who lacks a sense of justice lacks certain fundamental attitudes and capacities included under the notion of humanity. Now the moral feelings are admittedly unpleasant, in some extended sense of unpleasant; but there is no way for us to avoid a liability to them without disfiguring ourselves. This liability is the price of love and trust, of friendship and affection, and of devotion to institutions and traditions from which we have benefited and which serve the general interests of mankind…by understanding what it would be like not to have a sense of justice–that it would be to lack part of our humanity too–we are led to accept our having this sense.

The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.

The strength of the claims of formal justice, of obedience to system, clearly depend upon the substantive justice of institutions and the possibilities of their reform.

A society regulated by a public sense of justice is inherently stable.

As free persons, citizens recognize one another as having the moral power to have a conception of the good. This means that they do not view themselves as inevitably tied to the pursuit of the particular conception of the good and its final ends which they espouse at any given time.

Each person possesses and inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason, justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests. The only thing that permits us to acquiesce in an erroneous theory is the lack of a better one; analogously, an injustice is tolerable only when it is necessary to avoid an even greater injustice. Being first virtues of human activities, truth and justice are uncompromising

Thus I assume that to each according to his threat advantage is not a conception of justice.

In constant pursuit of money to finance campaigns, the political system is simply unable to function. Its deliberative powers are paralyzed.

The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.

The fundamental idea in the concept of justice is fairness.

Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.

An economic system is not only an institutional device for satisfying existing wants and needs but a way of fashioning wants in the future.

The perspective of eternity is not a perspective from a certain place beyond the world, nor the point of view of a transcendent being; rather it is a certain form of thought and feeling that rational persons can adopt within the world. And having done so, they can, whatever their generation, bring together into one scheme all individual perspectives and arrive together at regulative principles that can be affirmed by everyone as he lives by them, each from his own standpoint. Purity of heart, if one could attain it, would be to see clearly and to act with grace and self-command from this point of view.

Author Picture
First Name
John
Last Name
Rawls, fully John Bordley Rawls
Birth Date
1921
Death Date
2002
Bio

American Philosopher, held James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University