• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

John Rawls in his book "Political Liberalism" lays out a political system that answers the fundamental question.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

John Rawls in his book "Political Liberalism" lays out a political system that answers the fundamental question, "How is it possible for there to exist over time a just and stable society of free and equal citizens, who remain profoundly divided by reasonable religious, philosophical and moral doctrines?" (Rawls, 4) He answers this question through a number of abstract conceptions. Rawls argues that a political conception of justice, an overlapping consensus, and public discussion conducted in terms of the political conception of justice will bring about a just and stable society of free and equal citizens. Rawls starts out by outlining his idea of "Justice is Fairness"; this idea has a number of different aspects. He lays out two primary principles of justice, uses the idea of original position to back up liberalism, and argues for the necessity of democracy beyond formal democracy. The first principle of justice is: Each person has an equal claim to a fully adequate scheme of equal basic rights and liberties, which scheme is compatible with the same scheme for all; in this scheme the equal political liberties, and only those liberties, are to be guaranteed their fair value. ...read more.

Middle

Rawls disagrees with many earlier philosophers such as Kant, who believed that a society could be created fairly with only one comprehensive doctrine. He sees differing comprehensive doctrines as inherent in democracy. "The diversity of reasonable, comprehensive religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines found in modern democratic societies is not a mere historical condition that may soon pass away; it is a permanent feature of the public culture of democracy." (Rawls, 36) There are two basic parts required to bring about an intermingling of comprehensive doctrines; one all doctrines must be reasonable, and two an overlapping consensus must exist. Both of these requirements are controversial, but they do allow for a possible society wherein all may live their comprehensive doctrines, and participate in the political. The first (and hardest to define) requirement for a unified society is that all comprehensive doctrines be reasonable. Rawls defines reasonability when, "persons are reasonable in one basic aspect when, among equals say, they are ready to propose principles and standards as fair terms of cooperation and to abide by them willingly, given the assurance that others will likewise do so." (Rawls, 49) He goes on to state, "This reasonable society is neither a society of saints, nor a society of the self-centered." ...read more.

Conclusion

This statement shows Rawls' views on how the overlapping consensus is purely political in nature. He argues that people have a sense of justice that uses overlapping consensus to create political values. "A sense of justice is the capacity to understand, to apply, and to act from the public conception of justice which characterizes the fair terms of social cooperation." (Rawls, 19) This public consensus of justice can allow for a political dialogue to take place, which enables reciprocity to exist between various communities and holders of comprehensive doctrines. Rawls has answered his question; "How is it possible for there to exist over time a just and stable society of free and equal citizens, who remain profoundly divided by reasonable religious, philosophical and moral doctrines?" (Rawls, 4) He shows in "Political Liberalism" how it is possible to create a society that both protects individual liberties, while at the same time creating a true democracy with equality of opportunity. He resolves the issue of differing comprehensive doctrines through the use of reasonableness and overlapping consensus. His two principles of justice ensure that individual rights are protected and secure. Political discussion is allowed for through individual sense of justice and ensuring that unreasonable comprehensive doctrines are excluded from the society. Most importantly true democracy is enabled by ensuring equality of opportunity and equal influence upon the political process. Knupp 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Compare Rawl's Theory of Justice with those of Nozick and Walzer. How may ...

    Nozick percieves the receiving of these goods unjust, mainly because they have been taxed out of other members of society's earnings. The taxed earnings pay for other citizen's benefits that are deemed worse off. Citizens do not wish to pay tax; citizens are forced to by the government.

  2. Research and questions and answers on Marriage.

    An increase in the advocation of human rights, whether as women's rights or as children's rights, has caused the traditions of child marriage to be unfair and dangerous. Child brides are usually treated badly and are refused from pursuing education which totally hinders their universal rights.

  1. Rawls claims that ‘utilitarianism does not take the distinction between persons seriously.’ Explain this ...

    together with freedom of speech and assembly; liberty of conscience and freedom of thought; freedom of the person along with the right to hold (personal) property; and freedom from arbitrary arrest and seizure"4. The difference principle is that which allows for inequalities in such things as wealth or social status providing that even the worst off are advantaged or compensated.

  2. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    Eg, according to our current norms of calculation and thinking, the correct solution to an arithmatical problem. Casual adequacy: there's a probability it will always actually occur in the same way. Eg, statistical probability, according to verified generalization from experience, that there would be a correct or incorrect solution to the arithmatical problem.

  1. This critical assessment of the Canada's justice system it is important

    For example, a man on welfare and a doctor both commit the crime of trafficking illicit street drugs. The poor man has no money and was selling drugs as income; he has no lawyer and must be represented by the lawyer that the courts supply to him.

  2. Modernity - a philosophical disposition

    The !Kung, when forced into an organic division of labor were displaced, began to feel jealous of the monetary 'successes' of their peers, fought over food and possessions, and rebelled against each other. The old moral compass of the !Kung tribe was destroyed and there was nothing to take its place.

  1. Examine The Political Significance Of Any Carnival Of Your Choice.

    "During the period preparing for the carnival the school members were in effect mobilising the local working class population, both black and white for a vigorous, sustained and relentless campaign against the local landlords and the council for 'urban space' against the worst housing situation the country has ever seen."

  2. 'How To Get On In Society' by John Betjeman

    The speaker goes from being the authority to being the inquisitive, as she tells the company of their fork for their pastries, in a polite yet snobbish and condescending manor. The poem can be further divided into quatrains dependant upon different subjects, with the first two talking of the presentation,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work