Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

(#8) John B. Rawls (Installment 1/3 -- Robby Sabir)

(#8) John Rawls (Installment 1/3 -- Robby Sabir)

John Bordley Rawls (1921-2002)

"The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance." - John B. Rawls

For my report on a selected post-Descartes philosopher, I chose to analyze the life and works as theorized by the 20th century political philosopher John Bordley Rawls. My analysis of Rawls' biographical and philosophical theorizations will be divided into three separate installments. The first installment will discuss the general biographical information that pertains to the life and accomplishments over the course of his career. The second installment will include a breakdown of John Rawls' major works and theories (I.E: A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism), and how his works have influenced certain aspects of modern day society. The third and final installment will reflect my personal opinions on Rawls' works in regards to whether or not I necessarily agree or disagree with him. To sum it all up, I will be discussing the major aspects of John Rawls philosophy with respect to his moral and political theories whilst granting some background information alongside stating my personal opinion(s) on his works.

Installment 1 (Biography):
John Bordley Rawls (1921-2002), a political and moral theorist, can be considered as one of the most influential 20th century philosophers in America. He was birthed as the second out of his five siblings in Baltimore, Maryland to his father William Lee Rawls and his mother Anna Abell Stump. During Rawls' youth, he experienced several infectious diseases that two of his siblings unfortunately contracted and passed away (I.E: Diphtheria and Pneumonia); it is possible that these harsh circumstances may have imparted some parts of his future life as far as his philosophical views are concerned.  John Rawls' had a fairly rigorous schooling career early and late into his lifetime. Eventually, Rawls' graduated at the top of his class from Princeton University upon receiving his bachelor's of arts degree. Shortly after this event, John Rawls' enlisted in the army to serve in the military during the WWII era; this phase is speculated to have impacted certain aspects of his philosophies as well. Near the culmination of his academic career, John Rawls returned to Princeton University to attain his PhD in moral philosophy. Following this remarkable time in his life, Rawls' took part in teaching at several higher education institutes such as Cornell University, MIT, and most notably Harvard University in which he would propagate some of his greatest contributions to the 20th century.

In John Rawls' later years, He penned down his magnum opus A Theory of Justice which granted him a large amount of renown and credibility to the point in which it may be considered as one of the most significant political and moral philosophy texts. Rawls, essentially, attempts to explain how freedom and equality could be tied together through his theory of justice as fairness/egalitarianism. As I will expand more upon in my later installments, John Rawls' develops a basis as to defend these notions by utilizing his idea known as "The Original Position" with "The Veil of Ignorance" from which he derives two principles of fairness/justice (I.E: Liberty Principle and Difference Principle) to further support his ideology of equality among individuals within a society. Rawls' other major works include Political Liberalism which depicts how his two principles of justice should be supported by individuals even in a pluralistic government. In other words, he addresses the issues of using political control in a democracy, and how it should properly be exercised. Nevertheless, these are a few of the topics that will be further discussed in my later installments.  


1 comment:

  1. Justice really was personal for Rawls, having been seared by the experience of losing family and friends to circumstances he considered profoundly unfair. Ironic, then, that his veil of ignorance is designed precisely to shield deliberators from their own personal stories. And kind of odd.