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Taking the Distinction between Persons Seriously

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Rawls criticizes utilitarianism for not taking the distinction between persons seriously, and suggests that his own theory: justice as fairness, does. I argue that justice as fairness aims to take the distinction seriously at four levels, ranging from the content of its principles to its conception of political philosophy, and that doing so at each stage is of fundamental importance in working out the basis of a conception of justice for a democratic society. Understanding Rawls’s theory in this way points to a clearer understanding of how to go on doing political philosophy after Rawls.

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Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S. Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607, USA, Email:


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