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The Moral Foundations of Politics

Yale, , Prof. Ian Shapiro

Updated On 02 Feb, 19

Overview

Information and Housekeeping - Natural Law Roots of the Social Contract Tradition - Origins of Classical Utilitarianism - Classical Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice - From Classical to Neoclassical Utilitarianism - The Neoclassical Synthesis of Rights and Utility - Limits of the Neoclassical Synthesis - The Marxian Challenge - Marx's Theory of Capitalism - Marxian Exploitation and Distributive Justice - The Marxian Failure and Legacy - Appropriating Locke Today - Rights as Side Constraints and the Minimal State - Compensation versus Redistribution - The Rawlsian Social Contract - Distributive Justice and the Welfare State - The "Political-not-Metaphysical" Legacy - The Burkean Outlook - Democracy and Majority Rule - Democratic Justice: Theory,Applications

Includes

Lecture 16: The Rawlsian Social Contract

4.1 ( 11 )


Lecture Details

Moral Foundations of Politics (PLSC 118)

The next and final Enlightenment tradition to be examined in the class is that of John Rawls, who, according to Professor Shapiro, was a hugely important figure not only in contemporary political philosophy, but also in the field of philosophy as a whole. Today, the class is introduced to some of the principal features of Rawlss theory of justice, such as the original position and the veil of ignorance, two of Rawlss most important philosophical innovations. Rawls channels Kants categorical imperative because he asks individuals who would hypothetically be making choices about the structure of society to consider what would be desirable regardless of who they turned out to be--high IQ or low IQ, male or female, black or white, rich or poor. Rawls does not want to consider utility or welfare, but rather something more concrete--resources. And for him, these resources are liberties, opportunities, income and wealth, and the social bases of self-respect. The first of these leads to Rawlss first principle of justice, which states, "Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all." Professor Shapiro animates this principle by asking, "Should there be an established religion?" For Rawls, the approach to answering this question is from the standpoint of the most adversely affected person.

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website httpopen.yale.educourses

This course was recorded in Spring 2010.

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Sam

Excellent course helped me understand topic that i couldn't while attendinfg my college.

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Dembe

Great course. Thank you very much.

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