Read James Rachels, The Challenge of Cultural Relativism (pp. 421-433) in the SECOND section of your course text.
While Rachels appreciates the value of being open and thoughtful in response to cultural diversity of opinion regarding morals, he gives a number of reasons why it is not philosophically viable to extend such openness into a full-blown relativism -about the nature of morality.”
Your essay should consist of two parts, the first of which describes Rachels’ position. and the second one evaluates it philosophically. The essay must not exceed 1500 words. Grading criteria:
From a literary and grammatical point of view, the essay should be almost entirely free of mistakes.
Philosopher Allan Bloom, a student of Leo Strauss, criticized Rawls for failing to account for the existence of natural right in his theory of justice, and wrote that Rawls absolutizes social union as the ultimate goal which would conventionalize everything into artifice. Recent criticisms of Rawls’ theory have come from the philosopher G.A. Cohen. Cohen’s series of influential papers culminated first in his book, If You’re An Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich? and then in his later work, Rescuing Justice and Equality. Cohen’s criticisms are leveled against Rawls’ avowal of inequality under the difference principle, against his application of the principle only to social institutions, and against Rawlsian fetishism with primary goods (again, the metric which Rawls chooses as his currency of equality). Philosopher and Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, a former student of Rawls’, critiques and attempts to revitalize A Theory of Justice in his 2009 book The Idea of Justice. He defends the basic notion of justice as fairness but attacks the notion that the two principles of justice emerging from the Original position are necessary. Sen claims that there are multiple possible outcomes of the reflective equilibrium behind the veil of ignorance. A Theory of Justice (1971), by John Rawls, is ”one of the most influential works in moral and political philosophy written in the twentieth century,” according to Samuel Freeman in the Collected Papers of John Rawls (1999). A Theory of Justice is Rawls’s attempt to formulate a philosophy of justice and a theoretical program for establishing political structures designed to preserve social justice and individual liberty. Rawls writes in reaction to the then predominant theory of utilitarianism, which posits that justice is defined by that which provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Rawls proposes a theoretical person who, shrouded in a veil of ignorance, must design a just society without foreknowledge of his or her own status in that society. Rawls asserts that from this objective vantage point, which he calls the original position, the individual will choose a system of justice that adequately provides for those positioned on the lowest rungs of society. The individual will do so because he or she may end up in such a disadvantaged position and will want to be adequately provided for. Rawls draws from earlier theories of political philosophy that posit a social contract by which individuals implicitly agree to the terms on which they are governed in any society. Rawls concludes that such a social contract, formulated from the perspective of the original position, will guarantee a just society without sacrificing the happiness or liberty of any one individual. Rawls addresses issues of liberty, social equality, democracy, and the>