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Self-Realization and the Priority of Fair Equality of Opportunity

Self-Realization and the Priority of Fair Equality of Opportunity <jats:sec><jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The lexical priority of fair equality of opportunity in John Rawls’s justice as fairness, which has been sharply criticized by Larry Alexander and Richard Arneson among others, is left almost entirely undefended in Rawls’s works. I argue here that this priority rule can be successfully defended against its critics despite Rawls’s own doubts about it. Using the few textual clues he provides, I speculatively reconstruct his defense of this rule, showing that it can be grounded on our interest in self-realization through work. This reconstructed defense makes liberal use of concepts already present in A Theory of Justice, including the Aristotelian Principle (which motivates the achievement of increasing virtuosity) and the Humboldtian concept of social union (which provides the context for the development of such virtuosity). I also show that this commitment to self-realization, far from violating the priority of right in Rawls’s theory, stems directly from his underlying commitment to autonomy, which is the very foundation of the moral law in his doctrine of right. The reconstituted defense of this priority rule not only strengthens the case for justice as fairness but also has important and controversial implications for public policy.</jats:p> </jats:sec> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Moral Philosophy Brill

Self-Realization and the Priority of Fair Equality of Opportunity

Journal of Moral Philosophy , Volume 1 (3): 333 – Jan 1, 2004

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References (3)

Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1740-4681
eISSN
1745-5243
DOI
10.1177/174046810400100307
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:sec><jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The lexical priority of fair equality of opportunity in John Rawls’s justice as fairness, which has been sharply criticized by Larry Alexander and Richard Arneson among others, is left almost entirely undefended in Rawls’s works. I argue here that this priority rule can be successfully defended against its critics despite Rawls’s own doubts about it. Using the few textual clues he provides, I speculatively reconstruct his defense of this rule, showing that it can be grounded on our interest in self-realization through work. This reconstructed defense makes liberal use of concepts already present in A Theory of Justice, including the Aristotelian Principle (which motivates the achievement of increasing virtuosity) and the Humboldtian concept of social union (which provides the context for the development of such virtuosity). I also show that this commitment to self-realization, far from violating the priority of right in Rawls’s theory, stems directly from his underlying commitment to autonomy, which is the very foundation of the moral law in his doctrine of right. The reconstituted defense of this priority rule not only strengthens the case for justice as fairness but also has important and controversial implications for public policy.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

Journal

Journal of Moral PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2004

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