Dualism, Incentives and the Demands of Rawlsian Justice


In “Institutions and the Demands of Justice,” Liam Murphy ~1999! makes a distinction between two approaches to normative political theory. He labels these two positions “dualism” and “monism.” The former maintains that “the two practical problems of institutional design and personal conduct require, at the fundamental level, two different kinds of practical principle” ~1999: 254!. The most influential proponent of dualism is John Rawls. In A Theory of Justice Rawls defends his theory of “justice as fairness,” which recognizes a division of responsibility between the principles that apply to the main social, economic and political institutions of society, and the principles that apply to individuals. Institutions are to be arranged so that citizens’ basic rights and liberties are protected and social and economic inequalities are to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged and attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity. The principles that apply to individuals include various principles of natural duty, as well as the principle of fairness. These principles impose on citizens a diverse array of duties and obligations, such as the duties of mutual respect and mutual aid



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Colin Farrelly
Queen's University

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