A stimulating discussion. I like Rawls, but .... he states as an a priori assumption what needs to be proven: that is, that material incentives invariably raise total social output. In recent experience, this seems open to question. Increasing levels of social inequality have been accompanied by gross economic distortions followed by stagnation. Perhaps his entire structure needs inverting.
1 · April 5
Unfortunately, I've not been enjoying the reading. It's a fantastic text and I find his whole argument very appealing, it's just that modern Political Philosophy doesn't really do it for me. I find it hard going and stale. I'll take myself off the list. In all honesty, I am failing to get enthusiastic, so others would make much more use of my spot.
0 · April 3
I think you have picked out an important point in your point D. Rawls does seem to give up the possibility of a theory of justice that can stand alone on reason by accepting the necessity of our intuitions about justice, even if this is intuition modified in a reflective equalibrium. He says on p.44 "There is a deﬁnite if limited class of facts against which conjectured principles can be checked, namely, our considered judgments in reﬂective equilibrium."
I suppose one defence of Rawls here, might be to say we can only check what any theory of justice comes up with as just against our considered view of the matter (given our modified intuitions arising through reflective equalibrium). Unless our morality is handed down from god we can do nothing else.
Not sure this is convincing, as reduces rawls's theory to one tool amungst many. But hey maybe thats enough.
0 · April 3
My main concern is regarding the circularity of his argumentation for arriving at the two principles behind the veil of ignorance.
I refer to his statements on Pages 18,40,43 & 44 where he argues that the conclusions arrived at behind the veil of ignorance should be judged by how close they come to our considered intuitive judgements. But at the same time it is these considered intuitive judgements that inform our construction of the veil of ignorance.
Essentially, if we followed Rawls’ suggestions we would end up using the whole process to simply tell us what we already decided was right or just in the first place.
0 · March 31
He argues vehemently against a distribution of primary goods along utilitarian principles. However, I am not aware of any nation state that is organized along purely utilitarian principles so his argument appears not to be of much relevance to modern politics. On the other hand, the political system he describes sounds very similar to the current U.S. structure which he might unconsciously or maybe not be attempting to ratify
0 · March 31
It seems to me that, even behind his veil of ignorance, the second principle the difference principle, although a perfectly acceptable way for people to decide on the distribution of their primary goods, is by no means the only principle of distribution people could decide to adopt. (For example: Some might choose a welfare state. What would Karl Marx have opted for? A man convinced of the supremacy of divine law as taught by his true followers would have stated that the law of God takes supremacy over all other principles; I believe many millions on Earth today are of this view)
0 · March 31
It seems to me that the first principle (Page 266) is not original. The idea of liberties being protected by the laws of society is an old one and has been arrived at by societies of humans in many different ways that did not require the veil of ignorance; for example by simply applying principles of non-discrimination.
0 · March 31
I would like to take the liberty of contributing some thoughts before our meeting for I am particularly interested in anyone’s input on the questions below.
Although Rawls made a heroic attempt to give mankind a better system and his thoughts have at the very least provoked healthy debate, if I were to make his teachings the basis for my political views I would have the following concerns, even misgivings.
I have 4 points: A, B, C, and D.
I look forward to our discussion on Wednesday.
0 · March 30
Hi, I'm now top of the wait list, so I guess it seems likely that I'll get into the main group. This is my very first attendance at any meet-up event and I'm excited to see how it all works. If I do get moved up from the wait list, can someone volunteer to lead the second group to a nearby table or pub? I'd be happy to do it if I'm not in the main group, but just in case......
0 · March 23
I think Elaine's suggestion (below) should work well.
If you've read the chapters and want to come, then if there aren't too many people we can have one large group. Otherwise, then maybe Elaine could lead the way to a nearby pub (there are a few) or elsewhere in the same pub! Thanks to you, Elaine, for suggesting it.
If people read this and intend to turn up, could they post a message here, to help us gauge numbers?
0 · March 21
Sorry to those on the waiting list, but I think the attempt (below) to arrange something else has foundered.
If anyone else is interested in helping to run additional sessions in the future (so we can arrange them in advance), then it'd be great if you sent me an email about it. Any help is much appreciated!
0 · March 20
I'm third on the wait list and I've gone up from 7th. I'm hoping that 3 more places will become available before the day, but if not, is it sensible to turn up anyway in case of no shows? If no places available on the day, perhaps some others would be waiting around too and we could just go to a nearby venue and have an un-hosted discussion?
1 · March 20
Last time some people on the waiting list arranged to meet at the Royal Festival Hall, where there are some good spaces to have a discussion. Would anyone on the waiting list be willing to act as host for this?
It doesn't need much effort---just turning up after having read the chapters of the book. In my experience the discussion then tends to just move along on its own momentum.
If anyone's willing, I can set up an another event page, and those of you on the waiting list who aren't likely to be moved up here, can move across.
0 · March 6