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Paper Topic:

Rawls, A Theory of Justice

Running Head : THE NECESSITY OF UPHOLDING LIBERAL BELIEFS The Necessity of Upholding Liberal Beliefs for the Adherence to Liberal Institutions

Analysis of John Rawls A Theory of Justice


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The Necessity of Upholding Liberal Beliefs for the Adherence to Liberal Institutions : Analysis of John Rawl 's A Theory of Justice

Adherence to a liberal outlook is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the adherence to liberal

institutions (Barry , 1990 ,

.11 The reason for such a claim is based on the lack of logical relation between liberal ideas and the support for liberal institutions (Barry 1990 ,

.2 . In to understand such a claim it is necessary to present the correlation of the aforementioned elements [liberal ideas and liberal institutions] . Three main features characterize liberal institutions (1 ) adherence to the harm principle [which states that people are free to act as they wish provided they do not harm others] (2 ) freedom of expression and (3 ) equal citizenship regardless of social class , race , or gender . Each of the aforementioned traits have corresponding characteristics within the liberal outlook . Equal citizenship coheres with the idea that no religious dogma can (be reasonably held with certainty (Barry , 1990 ,

. 1 . Freedom of expression coheres with the assumption that no view should be held unless it has withstood critical scrutiny (Barry , 1990 ,

.2 . The conception of the necessity to oppose servile status , on the other hand coheres with the idea of the necessity to uphold fundamental equality (Barry , 1990 ,

. 2 . Analysis of the aforementioned correlation [between the characteristics of liberal ideas and the main features of liberal institutions] shows that liberal institutions antedate the prevalence of liberal attitudes (Barry 6 . If such is the case , it follows that liberal attitudes were merely pragmatic outcomes of liberal institutions . In to prove the necessity [or universality] of the adherence to liberal institutions it is thereby necessary to prove the necessity of the adherence to liberal institutions that is not based upon a liberal outlook . The possibility of such was presented by John Rawls through his version of the principle of neutrality

According to the principle of neutrality , public policy should as a matter of justice be neutral between different ideas of the good (Barry , 1990 ,

.6 . As opposed to the historic basis [and hence pragmatic justification] of the aforementioned relation between liberal institutions and liberal beliefs , the importance of the principle of neutrality lies in its ethical justification of liberalism . Such an ethical justification is evident in John Rawls ' theory of distributive justice as presented and elucidated in his A Theory of Justice . Such a theory states the distribution or allocation of various resources within a set of individuals within society (Barry , 1990 ,

7 . Prima facie , the distribution of resources [to be understood as something whose deployment is a means of satisfaction of wants] is conceived as an equal...

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