A theory of justice?

Theory and Decision 4 (3-4):311-324 (1974)
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Abstract

AnsrRAcr. This is a critical analysis of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice. Rawls offers a theoretical justihcation of social democratic principles of justice. He argues that they are the principles which rational men would choose, under defined constraints, in an original position of social contract. The author criticises Rawls’s assumption that men of any background, of any socialisation, would choose these principles in the original position. He argues that the choice which Rawls imputes to his contractors reflects a specific socialisation — one dominant in Western democracies. The theory is useful because it systematises a particular sense of justice ; it is in no sense however a universal theory.

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Philip Pettit
Australian National University

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