want to thank you all for returning for our second session. Thank you
very much indeed.
In our first session we discussed a principle of justice that most
moral philosophers agree to; namely, that we should
treat equally cases equally and unequal cases unequally. We agreed that
this principle was of some
value, but that it did not exhaust the subject of justice. Perhaps it
is a formal principle, and perhaps there are other more substantive
principles that we must add to it in order to decide what is just in
any given case.
Several people agreed that in order us to treat equal
cases equally and unequally cases differently, we must have more
information. For example, we must know what characteristics are relevant to determining which cases are equal. We must
also know what treatment is dictated by justice when cases
are equal or unequal. All of this must be provided by a broader theory of
justice. And that leads us to our topic today.
This week I want us to venture into more substantive matters and
discuss one of the best known modern theories of justice. I have asked John to
begin our discussion of the most prominent and influential political
philosopher of the last 35 years -- John Rawls. All of you have
read some of Rawls, so everyone should be able to help us lay out his
For this session, I want everyone to confine themselves to
clarifying what Rawls said. Let's try to get a clear understanding of
his theory before we start tearing it apart. In our next session we
can criticize his views.