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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Understanding of Justice in Rawls' 'Theory of Justice'

Human Rights
International Relations
Sara Dragisic
Sapienza University of Rome
Sara Dragisic
Sapienza University of Rome

In book "Theory of justice", Rawls tries to develop a conception of justice which should be a serious alternative to utilitarianism. He tries to answer the question how to allocate resources and goods among people in a society. Among other things, Rawls objects to utilitarianism that it fails to take into account individual preferences, as well as individual life plans. It will be shown that three aspects which are relevant to the interpretation of Rawls I try to defend: the difference between justice and legitimacy, the introduction of the term "decent" due to the ambiguity of the term "reasonable," and the concept of moral development at the level of society, which is a precondition of understanding the concept of "realist utopia". In the first part of my paper, I try to formulate the basic premises of Rawls's theory of justice in the book of the same name. In the second part, I will emphasize Rawls's political conception of liberalism, which he expands to people in the "Law of Peoples", in an effort to establish the theoretical foundations of the international order and its foreign policy. I focused on the difference between the two conceptions - first one, based on justice and liberalism, explains how liberal society is possible, and the other, which explains how the world society of "liberal and decent nations" is possible. Some of the most important strategies for organizing the society of peoples are mutual respect, the principles of reciprocity, the great role of statesmen, but also, in difficult circumstances, the right to a just war. A special part of thepaper is the analysis of Rawls's idea of realistic utopia. The basic objection to this idea is in fact reduced to the question of whether a realistic utopia is possible. I will show that Rawls's idea can be justified by emphasizing the importance of the concept of moral development at the level of society. Rawls's claim that the very possibility of such a social order can reconcile us with our social world does not mean that its realization is negligible, but it should emphasize that the very possibility of achieving utopia is an indicator of the efforts of the social world. Finally, I will problematize the assumption that the difference between justice and legitimacy is crucial for understanding the problematic parts of Rawls's theory. Based on Rawls's analysis of the various roles of political philosophy, and taking into account the analogy between the international starting position and the starting position in the "Theory of Justice", I argue in favor of the view that Rawls did not abandon the liberal understanding of human rights in the later period of his work. This comparative consideration will aim to show that the basis of the theory given in the article "The Law of Peoples" is partially present in the "Theory of Justice", and that Rawls justified the view that the rights of the people are in line with the liberal principles of justice.
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