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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Extra info for An Audience for Moral Philosophy?

Example text

But when Rawls says that a just man may 'chance death rather than act unjustly' his talk of 'exemptions' makes it undear how such a dilemma could ever arise for a man. When he contrasts his own theory with what he takes to be the more demanding ethic of 'dassical utilitarianism' he does so by saying that in the latter there is nothing 'corresponding to the exemptions induded in the formulation of natural duties' within justice as fairness (117). But would not the prospect of death be just the sort of 'excessive risk' (114) to suggest the need for some exemption dause such that the failure to take that risk would not constitute the violation of any principles of right?

All the same, can he not have a 'sense of justice', an 'effective desire to apply and to act from the principles of justice and so from the point of view of justice' (567)? If he has a sense of justice, he will have a 'regulative desire to comply with the corresponding principles' (569). He will have a 'knowledge of his situation' and will be able, if he wishes, to 'exploit contingencies to his advantage' . But, as the principles chosen in the original position require, he will give consideration to the 'rights and claims' of others; for he will voluntarily take on the 'limitations' expressed by Rawls' interpretation of 'the moral point of view'.

It is significant that Rawls compares the role of the sovereign in guaranteeing social stability within Hobbes' Leviathan to the role of his own ideal theory assumption that there is public knowiedge of a common and normally effective sense of justice (497). For, of course, within Hobbes' theory, with the absence of a sovereign 'sufficient to compel performance' obligations (in foto externo) come to an end, which suggests an analogous limit to duties and obligations within Rawls theory, a limit set by the possibility of an absence of that 'public knowiedge of a common and normally effective sense of justice' (my emphasis).

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

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