Inspirational John Rawls Quotes

John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American moral and political philosopher. This post features some Inspirational John Rawls Quotes.

He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University and the Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Oxford. Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls’s work “helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself.”

His magnum opus, A Theory of Justice (1971), was said at the time of its publication to be “the most important work in moral philosophy since the end of World War II” and is now regarded as “one of the primary texts in political philosophy”.

John Rawls Quotes
John Rawls Quotes

John Rawls Quotes

“The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.”
― John Rawls

“Justice is happiness according to virtue.”
― John Rawls

“Many of our most serious conflicts are conflicts within ourselves. Those who suppose their judgements are always consistent are unreflective or dogmatic.”
― John Rawls

“I am particularly grateful to Nozick for his unfailing help and encouragement during the last stages.”
― John Rawls

“The concept of justice I take to be defined, then, by the role of its principles in assigning rights and duties and in defining the appropriate division of social advantages. A conception of justice is an interpretation of this role.”
― John Rawls

“An individual who finds that he enjoys seeing others in positions of lesser liberty understands that he has no claim whatever to this enjoyment.”
― John Rawls

“A conception of justice cannot be deduced from self evident premises or conditions on principles; instead, its justification is a matter of the mutual support of many considerations, of everything fitted together into one coherent view.”
John Rawls

“It may be expedient but it is not just that some should have less in order that others may prosper.”
― John Rawls

“Indeed, it is tempting to suppose that it is self evident that things should be so arranged so as to lead to the most good.”
John Rawls quotes

“In all sectors of society there should be roughly equal prospects of culture and achievement for everyone similarly motivated and endowed. The expectations of those with the same abilities and aspirations should not be affected by their social class.”
― John Rawls

“We may suppose that everyone has in himself the whole form of a moral conception.”
― John Rawls

“Greater intelligence, wealth and opportunity, for example, allow a person to achieve ends he could not rationally contemplate otherwise.”
― John Rawls

“The first statement of the two principles reads as follows. First: each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others. Second: social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both(a)reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and (b) attached to positions and offices open to all.”
― John Rawls

“A just system must generate its own support.”
― John Rawls

“The difference principle, for example, requires that the higher expectations of the more advantaged contribute to the prospects of the least advantaged.”
― John Rawls

“A scheme is unjust when the higher expectations, one or more of them, are excessive. If these expectations were decreased, the situation of the less favored would be improved.”
― John Rawls

“An intuitionist conception of justice is, one might say, but half a conception.”
― John Rawls

“Our concern is solely with the basic structure of society and its major institutions and therefore with the standard cases of social justice.”
John Rawls quotes

“No one deserves his greater natural capacity nor merits a more favorable starting place in society.”
― John Rawls

“To each according to his threat advantage does not count as a principle of justice.”
― John Rawls

“Many conservative writers have contended that the tendency to equality in modern social movements is the expression of envy. In this way they seek to discredit this trend, attributing it to collectively harmful impulses.”
― John Rawls

“Ideal legislators do not vote their interests.”
― John Rawls

“The even larger difference between rich and poor makes the latter even worse off, and this violates the principle of mutual advantage.”
― John Rawls

“The extreme nature of dominant-end views is often concealed by the vagueness and ambiguity of the end proposed.”
― John Rawls

“If A were not allowed his better position, B would be even worse off than he is.”
― John Rawls

“The intolerant can be viewed as free-riders, as persons who seek the advantages of just institutions while not doing their share to uphold them.”
― John Rawls

“I have tried to set forth a theory that enables us to understand and to assess these feelings about the primacy of justice. Justice as fairness is the outcome: it articulates these opinions and supports their general tendency.”
― John Rawls

“Men resign themselves to their position should it ever occur to them to question it; and since all may view themselves as assigned their vocation, everyone is held to be equally fated and equally noble in the eyes of providence.”
― John Rawls

“There is a divergence between private and social accounting that the market fails to register. One essential task of law and government is to institute the necessary conditions.”
John Rawls quotes

“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.”
― John Rawls

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