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4.) Reasonableness Being in accordance with reason In Rawls, it is opposed to rationality, “choosing the best means to maximize your own self interest. He uses it to mean, “an acceptance of fair terms of cooperation, and a commitment to abide by them, provided everyone else is similarly committed.

Means of Production: Resources and apparatus by which goods and services are created. Rawls identifies ‘property-owning democracies’ and ‘liberal democratic socialism’ as the two social-economic systems able to abide by his principles of justice, because they have collective control, but dispersed ownership of the means of production -Sarah Williams


8) Justice and Hierarchies Hierarchies The article states that Rawls “recognizes that we cannot have a modernistic foundational, hierarchical, deductive basis for our system of social institutions." By using the word the word hierarchical he means A hierarchy (in Greek: Ἱεραρχία, derived from ἱερός — hieros, 'sacred', and ἄρχω — arkho, 'rule') is a system of ranking and organizing things or people, where each element of the system (except for the top element) is a subordinate to a single other element.

Justice The word justice is used several times throughout the article. "Rawls defines a well-ordered society as one that is 'regulated by a public conception of justice'." This would be where all citizens would have the same ideas of justice and they would be well-known rules and rules that are easy to apply. By this he means the definition to be justice as fairness. -Liz Lidgett

13) Reflective Equilibrium (Wide & Narrow)[CESAR GARCIA]

BACKGROUND: Reflective Equilibrium is state of balance that is arrived at through a process of mutual adjustments amongst particular judgments. To understand narrow and wide equilibrium, one has to consider internal and external perspectives. Internal perspective gives an understanding of actions from the individuals/participants in a culture (For example: personal believes, cultural ideologies, etc. inherent to a certain person/community/individual group). External perspective considers the perspective from apart from social institutions in order to be able to critically evaluate them (For example: looking at theories of globalization, and other forces that externally affect people/communities/groups), in order to have a more objective view of their condition.


A Narrow Reflective Equilibrium focuses on reaching an individual balance based on the situational judgments and normative principles of a particular community. (Example: Tommy believes that one must follow the 10 commandments, but he also believes that we should not stone Wiccan practitioners to death. So, Tommy has to do something since two of his personal believes/normative principles conflict with each other. Either he has to find a different version of the Bible, or has to accept to interpret the commandments differently, or has to believe that we should stone Wiccan practitioners.In doing whatever decision he makes, he is pushing towards reflective equilibrium, a stage where his normative principles align through a process of negotiating his own judgments.) This is Narrow Reflective Equilibrium because it is based on reaching this balance on personal principles, and does not bring any external perspective.

A Wide Reflective Equilibrium invokes an external perspective which includes background theories and principals. It brings in a non-local, objective, general view. It helps interpret values critically. Thus, when looking at larger society and decisions in planning, we can determine what principles of justice we ought to adopt, on full reflection, and be persuaded that our choices are justifiable to ourselves and others, only if we broaden the circle of beliefs that must cohere. Going through the same process Tommy went through in the above example, what if killing Wiccan practitioners through stoning would pop up in a policy decision? Bringing in other theoretical and external background, historical perspectives, and broader ideological writing about the subject would push a broader reflection about the decision that has to be made, and would push for a balance of not just individual principles and values, but of values of the entire society if more people are included in the reflective process. Thus, the search for balance in this larger context, would eventually lead to decisions of justice based on fairness for the entire group, since all values of the group would reach alignment and not conflict with each other.


15) In Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, Rawls refers to human and social capital as “knowledge, understanding of institutions, educated abilities, and trained skills.” In the best socio-economic system, people will be able to explore their personal values and interests in order to benefit themselves as well as society as a whole. Human and social capital, along with tangible capital, ideally allows citizens to sufficiently “be fully competing members of society on a footing of equality.”

A language game is not a true “game” but rather more of a fluid activity between people in a society. In terms of internal perspective, a language game is inherently a part of this particular perspective because one cannot describe the words in the game without referring to concepts and meanings that are foundationally utilized within this game. If one is coming from a perspective outside of the language game, the language will not necessarily have meaning that is coherent. In order to have a comprehensive of this, one must actually be able to participate in the culture and be able to relate to the references internally.

-Linda Constant


9) Comprehensive Doctrine & Constraints

Comprehensive Doctrine: A personal value system consisting of one’s ideals, beliefs, and understanding of family, relationships, character, and many other elements of the lived experience.

Relating to ‘Justice as Fairness,’ the comprehensive doctrine falls under the umbrella of thick theories, referring to the personal/private beliefs of a person, including normative principles and ethical theories. Justice exists independently of this array of comprehensive doctrines within a given society, but must be seen as fair by each, often contrasting, individually held belief system. As a principle of justice, in regard to planning theory, those who develop a social contract must operate under a “veil of ignorance” to his/her own attributes AND to the comprehensive doctrines of all others involved. According to Rawls, a democratic society cannot adopt a comprehensive doctrine due to the many religious and philosophical differences between citizens. A liberal democratic society must accommodate as many of these views (comprehensive doctrines) as possible.

Constraints: Limitations or restrictions

In relation to externalities/issues regarding private property, Rawls insists that all citizens have the right to own and occupy private property, and to be protected from ‘urban externalities.’ These rules, and processes of achieving such ordinances, must abide by the constraints of the basic liberties of all people.

- Sarah Cohen

5.) Pluralistic & Procedural

Pluralistic: Pluralism, in essence, is a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, values, etc., coexist. It’s an acknowledgement of and active engagement with diversity. Pluralism is the idea that there are several values that may be equally correct and fundamental, and yet can be – and sometimes are – in conflict with each other. Rawls approaches his ethical theory by looking at a pluralistic society instead of taking a universal approach, as he seeks to develop the conditions that take into account many different viewpoints and values and tolerates many different “thin theories of good” ¬¬– something he says necessary when one is a part of a pluralistic society.

Procedural: A procedure is an established or official way of doing something – a series of actions conducted in a certain order or manner. Rawls employs a very clear method (a procedure) to arrive at the moral idea of justice – first using his ‘thought experiment’ involving his idea of a veil of ignorance (see Sue’s definition) to derive principles of justice that take into account many different views and ideas of what justice is, regardless of one’s own position. This process eventually yields his idea of a Wide Reflective Equilibrium and Narrow Reflective Equilibrium (see Cesar’s definitions), to determine principles of justice. Part of Rawls’ process also demands fluidity and a constant reassessment of the status quo, to ensure justice is being maintained.

- Lauren Walser


2. Substantive & Circular Argument

Substantive- The word substantive in Rawl’s “Planning Theory” is mostly used as an adjective, as it is used to describe a number of terms.It is used in the beginning of the reading.. “and the substantive principles of justice which he argues…”(147) ..major substantive differences will remain in pluralistic societies..(156)Prior to the paragraph on “Substantive Aspects of Rawls” the use of the word substantive seems interpreted as ; strong, concrete, an obvious form of evidence. “Substantive Aspects of Rawls” This paragraph speaks of Rawls principles, “justice as fairness” and “veil of ignorance” as two Substantive Principles of any liberal democratic society.

Circular argument The term circular argument describes the reiterating or repetitive argument which does not come to a conclusion or point. Some of Rawls terms are described as being circular arguments. “vicious circularity” rather than “circularity” should be avoided as they tend to lead into infinite regression. Are Rawls arguments vicious circular arguments? His arguments although repetitive, drive the simple points of his position

Luis


3. Normative and Discourse

Normative: This is referring to statements that affirm how things should or ought to be, how to value them, which things are good or bad, which actions are right or wrong. Furthermore, the normative ethics, which Stein and Harper reference, is the attempt to develop a set of rules governing human conduct, or a set of norms for action. This is dealing with what people should believe to be right and wrong. It further examines the standards for the rightness and wrongness of action.

Discourse can be defined as verbal interchange of ideas (communication) that goes back and forth such as debate or argument. The term is used in semantics and discourse analysis. In semantics, discourses are linguistic units composed of several sentences — in other words, conversations, arguments or speeches. Studies of discourse have roots in a number of theoretical traditions, such as modernism, structuralism and feminism, which investigate the relations between language, structure and agency. It also is used as a mode of organizing knowledge, ideas, or experience that is rooted in language and its concrete contexts.

-Sarah Nesbit


6. Public Realm and Private Realm

Private Realm is loosely defined as the mind, body, property, and home. Stein and Harper uses the term to speak towards the religious and philosophical issues of an individual (thick theory of good). These issues lead a person to develop ideas of how things make sense to them, guiding and structuring their lives. When more than one person shares the same beliefs and views, it creates a sub culture that also helps an individual develop ideas about their collective experience and their meaning in the world. This views and beliefs can change over time from person to person.

Public realm is typically defined as the areas that are publicly accessible such as open spaces and civic buildings. Stein and Harper uses the phrase to deal with the public realm in a society, not in physical terms. This public realm deals with developing a moral basis of communal existence, a conception of society (a thin theory of good) that tolerates many different private realm beliefs (thick theories of good) within a framework of basic democratic political values. The public realm of a society are not concerned with the idea of truth (truth which can be formed from their own private realm beliefs) but are concerned with wether an idea put into the public can bring about consensual support as providing a reasonable basis for public policy in a democratic society.

Lauren Davis


7. Social Institutions and Overlapping Consensus

Social Institutions – Each society has its own social institutions. These are not buildings or places, but structures of relationship, obligation, role and function. These are social concepts and practices, but also involve cognitive structures. Members of a society have a similar mental concept of right and wrong, order and relationships, and patterns of good (positive values). Those who do not honor these concepts are "criminals," or at least antisocial. Rawls considers social institutions as liberal values (political, legal, economic) which provide the framework for planning democratic societies.

Overlapping Consensus – The overlapping consensus “depends, in effect, on there being a morally significant core of commitments common to the ‘reasonable’ fragment of each of the main comprehensive doctrines in the community”. The commitments as applied to a liberal society, for example, would be basic human rights and freedoms such as that of expression and religion, as well as abiding by notions of democracy and the rule of law. Rawls introduced the idea of an overlapping consensus—or agreement on justice as fairness between citizens who hold different religious and philosophical views (or conceptions of the good).

-Becky Johnson


Here are mine:

11: Veil of Ignorance and "Maximizing the benefit for the worst off" "Veil of Ignorance" This term refers to Rawls' notion of the "original position," a condition that replaces the "state of nature" referred to by Thomas Hobbes in political philosophy and social contract theory. In a social contract, people agree to basic rights and provisions for citizens in a society, and Hobbes placed these people in a "state of nature" to make these decisions. Rawls saw a problem with this, arguing that certain natural abilities in a state of nature would allow some individuals to exert power over other individuals. This coercion would call into question the validity of any subsequent social contract. He proposed instead the "original position," a made-up condition in which all participants are involuntarily placed behind a "veil of ignorance," which would erase all knowledge of any individual characteristics like race, ethnicity, gender, talents, religion, country, or ancestry. The participants are also unable to know their own characteristics - they only know what is "relevant to making fair judgements about the principles of justice." (Stein/Harper) In this condition, Rawls theorizes that the participants would adopt the maximin rule - a formulation of social equality that "maximizes the well-being of the worst off."

Maximin (Maximizing the well-being of the worst off) Rawls' rational actors under the veil of ignorance would logically adopt this rule because they could potentially occupy any social position in the society. Therefore, they would seek to provide a social safety net that would give the highest pay-off to the worst off citizens. This is because "rational" is defined as "choosing the best means to maximize your own self-interest." And since everyone's self-interest is the same in the original position, the social contract would be arranged so that the benefits and advantages of the best-off in society would be redistributed to have the highest value for the poorest members.

-Sue Yank

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