Discussion Questions on Rawls, pp. 1-38

In this first part of Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, Rawls introduces a number of background concepts that his theory of justice relies on, but does not state the theory or any of his argument for the theory. Consequently, the discussion is rather dry and abstract, but the background is indeed necessary.

I suggest that you write out briefly what Rawls means by each of the following 12 phrases:

A fair system of cooperation

Citizens as fair and equal persons

A well-ordered society

A public conception of justice

A political conception of justice

The basic structure of society

The original position

The two moral powers of individuals

The equality of individuals

The freedom of individuals

Public justification

Reflective equilibrium

A more difficult, but even more important task is then to figure out how these notions are related to one another.