Download PDF by John T. Edelman (auth.): An Audience for Moral Philosophy?

By John T. Edelman (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0312049315

ISBN-13: 9780312049317

ISBN-10: 1349211036

ISBN-13: 9781349211036

ISBN-10: 1349211052

ISBN-13: 9781349211050

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Outset by the principles of justice which specify the boundaries that men's systems of ends must respect. We can express this by saying that in justice as fairness the concept of right is prior to that of the good. (31) But the outset referred to here is not prior but posterior to the choice of principles in the original position. Once those principles are chosen, desires and aspirations are restricted. Prior to the choice of principles, however, a man's desires and aspirations are, in effect, hardly restricted at an.

But, as I have noted, he is here speaking of what is the case once the principles of right and justice have been chosen in the original position. It is true that within Rawls' fuH theory, which entails, as he puts it, the priority of the right over the good, certain desires have no weight (30-1). But the issue at hand concerns the derivation of the principles of justice and morality and the bearing of that on the character of those principles. ' There is a conflict of interests since men are not indifferent as to how the greater benefits produced by their coHaboration are distributed, for in order to pursue their ends they each prefer a larger to a lesser share.

We need not suppose, of course, that persons never make substantial sacrifices for one another, since moved by affection and ties of sentiment they often do. But such actions are not demanded as a matter of the basic structure of society . (177-8). The appeal to such factors as 'affection and ties of sentiment' that might 'move' a man to an act of substantial self-sacrifice is important, and I shall return to it. It should be emphasized, too, that Rawls is here speaking of sacrifices demanded by 'the basic structure of society' .

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An Audience for Moral Philosophy? by John T. Edelman (auth.)


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