First of all, a big thank you to Erik Dempsey for the insightful discussion last week regarding Kant’s political philosophy.
Continuing this week with our political philosophy unit, we will be reading a well known critique by John Harsanyi of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. In Rawls’ watershed work, several criticisms of utilitarianism are offered as Rawls espouses his own social contract theory, spurred by the famous original position thought experiment. Harsanyi replies back in favor of utilitarianism, taking issue with a central principle of Rawls’ theory, the “maximin principle”, and contrasting this principle’s faults with the benefits reaped from more utilitarian considerations, while also offering additional arguments for his theory.
Here is a link to the reading: https://webspace.utexas.edu/kal698/harsanyi%20-%20critique%20of%20rawls.pdf
We will meet to discuss Harsanyi’s conclusions at the usual place and time, Friday at 4:30 in GAR 3.116. Come join the discussion!
Armando and Kyle, co-presidents