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John RawlsDebating the Major Questions$
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Jon Mandle and Sarah Roberts-Cady

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190859213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190859213.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 September 2020

The Point of Justice

The Point of Justice

On the Paradigmatic Incompatibility between Rawlsian “Justice as Fairness” and Luck Egalitarianism

(p.148) 8 The Point of Justice
John Rawls

Rainer Forst

Oxford University Press

John Rawls famously claimed that “the accidents of natural endowment and the contingencies of social circumstance” are “arbitrary from a moral point of view.” Luck egalitarians believe that a conception of justice that eliminates the effects of circumstance but not of choice captures that intuition better than Rawls’s own principles of justice. This chapter argues that the opposite is the case. We can learn from Rawls that one cannot overcome moral arbitrariness in social life by using a morally arbitrary distinction between choice and circumstance. Furthermore, the chapter argues that the incompatibility between these two approaches points to a deeper difference between a deontological and a teleological paradigm that is crucial for the debate between relational and nonrelational notions of political and social justice.

Keywords:   justice as fairness, luck egalitarianism, procedural justice, Rawls, relational justice, relational egalitarianism

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