Rawls’s Self-Defeat

A Formal Analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

One of John Rawls’s major aims, when he wrote A Theory of Justice, was to present a superior alternative to utilitarianism. Rawls’s worry was that utilitarianism may fail to protect the fundamental rights and liberties of persons in its attempt to maximize total social welfare. Rawls’s main argument against utilitarianism was that, for such reasons, the representative parties in the original position will not choose utilitarianism, but will rather choose his justice as fairness, which he believed would securely protect the worth of everybody’s basic rights and liberties. In this paper, I will argue that, under close formal examination, Rawls’s argument against utilitarianism is self-defeating. That is, I will argue that Rawls’s own reasons, assumptions, and the many theoretical devices he employs demonstrably imply that the representative parties in the original position will choose utilitarianism instead of justice as fairness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalErkenntnis
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1

Fingerprint

Formal Analysis
Choose
Fairness
Welfare
Person
Maximise
Imply
Alternatives
Utilitarianism
Defeat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Logic

Cite this

Rawls’s Self-Defeat : A Formal Analysis. / Chung, Hun.

In: Erkenntnis, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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