A satisfactory minimum conception of justice: Reconsidering Rawls's maximin argument

Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):349-369 (2013)
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John Rawls argues that it is possible to describe a suitably defined initial situation from which to form reliable judgements about justice. In this initial situation, rational persons are deprived of information that is . It is rational, Rawls argues, for persons choosing principles of justice from this standpoint to be guided by the maximin rule. Critics, however, argue that (i) the maximin rule is not the appropriate decision rule for Rawls's choice position; (ii) the maximin argument relies upon an imprecise account of the satisfactory minimum to be secured under the maximin rule; or that (iii) Rawls relies upon unrealistic assumptions about diminishing marginal value. These critics, I will suggest, argue from a number of assumptions that are confused or false. The satisfactory minimum that choosers in the original position seek to achieve is not a minimum level of primary goods, nor is the satisfactory minimum sought under the maximin rule supplied by the difference principle. I will argue that the maximin argument is more robust than has generally been recognized and that this argument performs a number of important functions in clarifying the nature and implications of Rawls's argument for justice as fairness



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The Rawls–Harsanyi Dispute: A Moral Point of View.Michael Moehler - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):82-99.

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References found in this work

Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.C. L. Ten - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):563-566.
On indeterminate probabilities.Isaac Levi - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (13):391-418.
Contemporary Political Philosophy. An Introduction.Will Kymlicka - 1993 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 55 (1):180-181.

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