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Define the role "the veil of ignorance" plays in Rawls' theory. According to Rawls...

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learning45 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted October 7, 2010 at 5:38 PM via web

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Define the role "the veil of ignorance" plays in Rawls' theory. According to Rawls theory "the veil of ignorance" is an imaginative device for considering what counts as just and fair in a state of society. When a society is formed and no one knows anything about each other's position or background such as ethnic group, race, or gender, then all are ignorant. Then we talk about "the veil of ignorance." If people do not have a clue about what is going on around them and among them, then they are ignorant.  They have no knowledge, no information on each other; therefore, they would have to agree on rules which are fair and just without biases an special interests.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 7, 2010 at 7:27 PM (Answer #1)

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For Rawls, "the veil of ignorance" is the manner by which decisions about resource allocation and political execution should be made.  It is a tool to ensure that justice involves a sense of fairness.  The veil itself is a concealment tool that prevents individuals from fully understanding where they would fall in a social setting.  The term "ignorant" might be too harsh.  Individuals are not fully clear on where they would fall because the veil precludes them from absolutely knowing their placement.  In this light, individuals would choose to protect those on the lowest rung because that could be where they would fall.  It is because of this that the veil of ignorance allows for a more pure sense of decision making because it is the mechanism that allows for individual and collective interests to converge.

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