more from John Rawls

Single Idea 18636

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 3. Original Position / b. Veil of ignorance]

Full Idea

The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. ...Since all are similarly situated and no one is able to design principles to favor his particular condition, the principles of justice are the rest of a fair agreement or bargain.

Gist of Idea

Choose justice principles in ignorance of your own social situation


John Rawls (A Theory of Justice [1972], 03)

Book Reference

Rawls,John: 'A Theory of Justice' [OUP 1978], p.12

A Reaction

A famous idea. It tries to impose a Kantian impartiality onto the assessment of political principles. It is a beautifully simple idea, and saying that such impartiality never occurs is no objection to it. Think of a planet far far away.