1. What does Rawls mean when he states that justice is the first virtue of social institutions?
2. How does he describe what he calls “the original position” and the “veil of ignorance,” from behind which people in the original position must choose?
3. How is the original position supposed to correspond to the notion of justice as fairness?
4. What are the people in the original position supposed to choose?
5. What does their choice from this situation have to do with the voluntary cooperation of individuals in a society?
6. What two principles does Rawls believe the people in the original position would choose? Compare his first statement of these principles with the formulation later in this reading.
7. According to these principles, can the good of some or of the majority justify the hardship of a minority?
8. What are some advantages of contract language for a theory of justice, according to Rawls?
9. What is Rawls’s justification for the “veil of ignorance?”
10. What does Rawls mean when he states that our principles must be made to match our considered convictions about justice and vice versa, going back and forth between these two until we achieve a “reflective equilibrium?”
11. In his final formulation of the principles in this reading, what does Rawls mean by “equal liberties?” What does the second principle require? What are the primary goods to which it refers?
12. Do the principles allow that liberties be curtailed for the sake of economic gains? Why or why not?
13. How do the principles illustrate a tendency toward equality? Explain this in regard to the principle of “redress.”

  • CreatedDecember 30, 2014
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