In Defense of Liberal Equality
M.E. Newhouse, 'In Defense of Liberal Equality' (2017) 9 (1-2) Public Reason 99-108.
10 Pages Posted: 18 May 2018
Date Written: 2017
In A Theory of Justice, Rawls concludes that individuals in the original position would choose to adopt a system of democratic equality governed by his two principles of justice. However, Rawls mistakenly defines the possibility space within which individuals in his original position must make their choice. An alternative account of the possibility space created by Rawls’s original position reveals that a system of liberal equality, according to which distributive shares would be determined by market processes, would be preferred by risk-averse individuals. However, such individuals would guard against the erosion of the social bases of self-respect by including a social safety net among the basic equal liberties secured by Rawls’s first principle of justice.
Keywords: Rawls, a Theory of Justice, Constructivism, Original Position, Difference Principle, Liberal Equality, Democratic Equality
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