University of Kansas, Spring 2004
Philosophy 555: Justice and Economic Systems

Class notes: Hare’s critique of Rawls

The following notes correspond roughly to what we cover, including at least a portion of what I put on the board or the screen, in class. In places they may be more or less comprehensive than what we actually cover in class, and should not be taken as a substitute for your own observations and records of what goes on in class.

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  1. philosophical methodology
    1. reliance on his and his readers’ considered judgments (p. 145.4)
    2. reliance on “scores” of separate intuitions (p. 146.7)
    3. reliance on “prior consensus” on “substantive moral questions” (p. 147.3)
  2. ethical analysis
    1. (Hare is concerned about this because his work relies heavily on it.)
    2. neglect of such analysis (p. 147.6)
  3. moral methodology
    1. sufficiency of thin veil (p. 151.5); why actually so think? (p. 151.9)
    2. possibly so thin in order to avoid utilitarianism? (p. 152.3)
    3. possibility of thick veil leading to undesirable outcomes (p. 154.3)
  4. normative moral questions
    1. restrictions on “membership” in the original position (and whether these give the POP’s reason to reject utilitarianism)
      1. no animals (p. 242.8)
      2. members of only one generation (p. 243.2)
      3. “representative” individuals (p. 244.3)
      4. only actually existing people (p. 244.8)
    2. the thickness of the veil
      1. contrast with thin veil (p. 246.3–4)
      2. serving no purpose; denial of principle of insufficient reason does all the work (p. 247.3)
    3. the principle of insufficient reason and aversion to risk
      1. why not use principle of insufficient reason? (p. 247.7)
      2. inconsistency about risk aversion (pp. 247.9–248.3)
    4. substantive conclusions
      1. maximin vs. insurance (p. 248.9)
      2. not maximin even in “reduced circumstances” (p. 250.2)
      3. possibility of a utilitarian basis for justice (p. 251.3)