Justice as Fairness by John Rawls — A Summary

Clueless Political Scientist

Rawls, John. 1958. “Justice as Fairness.” The Philosophical Review 67 (2). [Duke University Press, Philosophical Review]: 164–94.

Section I claims that the fundamental idea for the concept of justice is fairness.

Section II introduces the two principles of this conception.

Section III explains how these two principles are arrived at.

Section IV pre-empts possible criticisms against justice as fairness as developed in Sections II and III.

Section V sketches why fairness should be central to any concept of justice.

Section VI characterises the utilitarian conception of justice as one concerned with efficacy.

Section VII discusses why such utilitarianism fails as a conception of justice.


The fundamental idea in the concept of justice is fairness. The paper will try to justify this claim. It is this aspect of justice (as fairness) that classical utilitarianism fails to account for.

Three things should be kept in mind. First, justice is…

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Thomas C. Schelling’s Contributions to Policy Analysis

Building State Capability | Blog

Guest blog by Robert Klitgaard

Thomas C. Schelling has been rightly lionized for his contributions in economics, international security, and the transdisciplinary field of game theory. He was also a pioneer in policy analysis. In this note, I want to reflect on what Schelling can teach us about doing policy research.

Though a theorist, he was fascinated by real examples and found them indispensable for developing theory. “In my own thinking,” Schelling wrote in the preface to The Strategy of Conflict (1960, p. vi), “they have never been separate. Motivation for the purer theory came almost exclusively from preoccupation with (and fascination with) ‘applied’ problems; and the clarification of theoretical ideas was absolutely dependent on an identification of live examples.”[1]

This passion led him to topics ranging from foreign aid and international economics to diplomacy, war, and terrorism, from crime to altruism, from collective action to the nature of…

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#ZeroCarbonBill sets us up to be screwed at future multilateral climate talks #ourclimateyoursay

From https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/timing_is_everything

Trump Can Indeed Pardon Himself . . . And We Should Now Never Speak Of This Again


440px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Donald_TrumpBelow is my column in USA Today on the assertion of President Donald Trump that he can pardon himself.  Since such an act would be the most profoundly disgraceful moment in the history of the American presidency, it is chilling to have a president to even engage in such a public debate.  However, I believe that such a power does exist in the Constitution. It is a long and unresolved debate that turns on how you interpret silence.  Since the Constitution is silent on any bar against a president benefitting from this power, I believe that a self-pardon is indeed constitutional, even if distasteful. 

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Why did @jamespeshaw put Suzi Kerr on his climate committee after letting this cat out of the bag in her JEL 2015 survey?

June 6, 1944: The Great Crusade

Almost Chosen People


Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength…

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