Unsavory implications of a theory of justice and the law of peoples: The denial of human rights and the justification of slavery
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Forum 43 (2):175-196 (2012)
Many philosophers have criticized John Rawls’s Law of Peoples. However, often these criticisms take it for granted that the moral conclusions drawn in A Theory of Justice are superior to those in the former book. In my view, however, Rawls comes to many of his 'conclusions' without too many actual inferences. More precisely, my argument here is that if one takes Rawls’s premises and the assumptions made about the original position(s) seriously and does in fact think them through to their logical conclusions, both 'A Theory of Justice' and 'The Law of Peoples' have abysmally counterintuitive and immoral implications. To wit, if the members in the original position think, as Rawls suggests,that their society is closed and they will have no interaction with outsiders, and if, furthermore, they are self-interested and concerned with the basic structure of their own society, than there is absolutely no reason for them to use the terms “persons” or “least advantaged” in the formulation of the two principles. Rather, they will use the terms “citizens of our society” and “least advantaged of our society” instead. But thus revised, the principles of justice imply that the genocide or the enslavement of outsiders is unobjectionable. I will consider attempts to block this conclusion and demonstrate that they all fail. The Law of Peoples, moreover, faces similar problems.
|Keywords||contractualism global justice human rights John Rawls slavery|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Antonio Pérez-Estévez (2007). May Western Rights, by Extension, Become Human Rights? The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:61-72.
Rex Martin & David A. Reidy (eds.) (2006). Rawls's Law of Peoples: A Realistic Utopia? Blackwell Pub..
Brian E. Butler (2001). There Are Peoples and There Are Peoples: A Critique of Rawls' Law of Peoples. Florida Philosophical Review 1 (2):1-24.
Samuel Freeman (2006). The Law of Peoples, Social Cooperation, Human Rights, and Distributive Justice. Social Philosophy and Policy 23 (1):29-68.
Rainer Forst (2011). The Right to Justification: Elements of a Constructivist Theory of Justice. Columbia University Press.
Burleigh T. Wilkins (2007). Principles for the Law of Peoples. Journal of Ethics 11 (2):161 - 175.
Christopher Heath Wellman (2012). Reinterpreting Rawls's the Law of Peoples. Social Philosophy and Policy 29 (1):213-232.
David Ellerman (2010). Inalienable Rights: A Litmus Test for Liberal Theories of Justice. [REVIEW] Law and Philosophy 29 (Sept.):571-599.
Huw Lloyd Williams (2011). On Rawls, Development and Global Justice: The Freedom of Peoples. Palgrave Macmillan.
David A. Reidy (2007). A Just Global Economy: In Defense of Rawls. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 11 (2):193 - 236.
Henry Shue (2002). Rawls and the Outlaws. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 1 (3):307-323.
Chris Naticchia (2005). The Law of Peoples: The Old and the New. Journal of Moral Philosophy 2 (3):353-369.
Joseph Heath (2005). Rawls on Global Distributive Justice: A Defence. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (sup1):193-226.
Dale Dorsey (2005). Global Justice and the Limits of Human Rights. Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221):562–581.
Added to index2012-05-08
Total downloads56 ( #35,258 of 1,692,490 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #22,862 of 1,692,490 )
How can I increase my downloads?