Discussion Questions on Justice and Contractualism

1. Can economists leave considerations of justice to others?

2. Why can't economists settle for everyday notions of justice. What, if any, need is there for economists to think about philosophical accounts of justice?

3. What role does the social contract play in theories of justice? Is the social contract real? If not, why shouldn't we say (with Robert Nozick) that "is it not worth the paper that it isn't written on"?

4. How does Rawls' use of the veil of ignorance differ from Harsanyi's? Why does he reach such different conclusions?

5. What do you think of Rawls' two principles of justice? How do you think they can be defended? What is the most serious criticism of them?