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Does the co-existence of these routes to success suggest a 'well-ordered society' and are either based on considerations of fairness?

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In the last eighteen months, two prime-time television shows have screened national competitions in which the winners rise to fame and fortune as pop stars. In the same period, the government has continued to plan for the expansion of university education and exhorted students to equip themselves with the skills that will enable them to work in rewarding careers. Does the co-existence of these routes to success suggest a 'well-ordered society' and are either based on considerations of fairness? At first glance it seemed there could be only one logical answer to the question in that only by the existence of such different routes to success as stated in the question could it be a well-ordered society. The fact that individuals who are not academically intelligent can pursue other talents resulting in rewarding careers can only be seen as 'fair'. However, the debate is not as simplistic as it may first appear. Various questions can be uncovered when debating such an issue. For example can it be considered fair that winning a competition reaps the same kind of benefits as working for a place at university and studying for a degree? Can it be a well-ordered society when success through a competition can provide greater rewards than could be attained through achieving a successful degree? Does it make for a well-ordered society that both opportunities are made available to the individual? ...read more.


80). Dworkin posits, "that political decisions must be as far as possible independent of conceptions of the good life. Since citizens of a society differ in these conceptions, the government does not treat them as equals if it prefers one conception to another". Taking this theory into account it should therefore be considered fair that different types of people are able to attempt to gain rewarding careers in different fields. The question of human nature and the ultimate attainment of goals by the individual is discussed further by Rawls in his book 'A Theory of Justice'. His theory of primary goods and the original posititon became especially relevant. According to Rawls, it is possible to define a set of primary goods that are desired by everyone irrespective of whatever their own perception of good may be, and is independent of any particular assumptions about human nature. Rawls uses a device called the 'thin' theory of the good to explain these issues. Firstly, he assumes that all rational persons have 'thick' or developed theories of good. That is, they have a plan of life, an idea of what they would like to be or what they would like to achieve in life, and of their own personality and purposes. Such theories describes the conditions in which would allow us to flourish and meet our own ends. ...read more.


Yet in modern democratic society a plurality of incompatible and irreconcilable doctrines - religious, philosophical, and moral - coexist within the framework of democratic institutions. Indeed, free institutions themselves encourage this plurality of doctrines as the normal outgrowth of freedom over time. Recognizing this as a permanent condition of democracy, Rawls therefore asks, how can a stable and just society of free and equal citizens live in concord when deeply divided by these reasonable, but incompatible, doctrines? His answer is based on a redefinition of a "well-ordered society." It is no longer a society united in its basic moral beliefs but in its political conception of justice, and this justice is the focus of an overlapping consensus of reasonable comprehensive doctrines. Justice as fairness is now presented as an example of such a political conception; that it can be the focus of an overlapping consensus means that it can be endorsed by the main religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines that endure over time in a well-ordered society. Such a consensus, Rawls believes, represents the most likely basis of society unity available in a constitutional democratic regime. Were it achieved, it would extend and complete the movement of thought that began three centuries ago with the gradual if reluctant acceptance of the principle of toleration. This process would end with the full acceptance and understanding of modern liberties. 1 Plant, 1999, p. 98-99 2 Plant, 1999, p. 96 Modern Political Concepts - EUB304 ...read more.

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