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72 Fordham L. Rev. 1739 (2003-2004)
The Incoherence between Rawls's Theories of Justice

handle is hein.journals/flr72 and id is 1757 raw text is: THE INCOHERENCE BETWEEN RAWLS'S
Thomas W. Pogge*
Would it be desirable to reform the global institutional order in
conformity with the principles Rawls defends in A Theory of Justice?
Rawls himself denies this and proposes a different moral theory
(The Law of Peoples) for the relations among self-governing
peoples. While sharing a questionable, purely recipient-oriented
approach, his two theories differ importantly in substance and
structure. The former gives weight only to the interests of individual
persons, yet the latter gives no weight to these interests at all. The
former theory is three-tiered and institutional, centering on a public
criterion of justice that is justified through a contractualist thought
experiment and in turn justifies particular institutional arrangements
and reforms under variable empirical circumstances. Yet, the latter
theory is two-tiered and interactional, deploying a contractualist
thought experiment to justify rigid rules of good conduct for
peoples. Poorly motivated, these asymmetries help Rawls's anti-
cosmopolitan case. But they fail to vindicate his claim that global
economic justice demands only a modest duty of assistance.
In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls offers his account of domestic
justice, meant to provide moral guidance for the assessment, design,
and reform of the institutional order (basic structure) of one
society.   Twenty-eight years later, he published    a work    on
international justice: The Law of Peoples, which he presents as an
extension of his domestic theory.
Central to both texts are thought experiments involving a fictional
deliberative forum, the original position, composed of rational
deliberators, or parties. In the domestic case, the parties represent
individual persons. As each prospective citizen has his or her own
representative, this original position is said to model the freedom and
fundamental equality of all persons. The parties have the task to
agree on a public criterion of justice for assessing alternative feasible
* Columbia University, Department of Philosophy. Professor Pogge is the author of
Realizing Rawls (1989) and has written numerous important papers in ethics and
moral and political philosophy, especially on global justice and on the work of Rawls
and Kant.


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