Thursday, March 10, 2011

Justice and John Rawls

Justice Lecture 8 by Harvard University


Click here to view the video on youtube

"Those who have been favored by nature, whoever they are, may gain from their good fortune only on terms that improve the situation of those who have lost out."- John Rawls 

The difference principle recognizes that some people are blessed with gifts that others don't have. Therefore they can gain only if it improves the situation of those who have lost out. One of the students challenged this idea, based on the effort exerted in order to succeed. However, everyone puts effort into their life. Everyone is striving to overcome their own obstacles. I've never met a person who talked about how easy their life has been. I doubt I will ever meet one of these mythical people who possess an easy life. We all face our own challenges and we all achieve different levels of success. Not all include payment, yet this shouldn't define someone striving to be the best that they can be. Another challenge is that there would be no incentive to succeed. This is something that John Rawls defended.

"The naturally advantaged are not to gain merely because they are more gifted, but only to cover the costs of training and education and for using their endowments in ways that help the less fortunate as well." –John Rawls

I would like to add, that you explore your talents as an exploration of who you are. Sometimes there are incentives to be who you are and sometimes there isn't. In either case, you cannot choose to be someone else.

Justice by Harvard University http://www.justiceharvard.org/ To read my thoughts on earlier lectures click on the label at the bottom of the blog that reads Justice by Harvard University.