In this discussion, I shall make some general remarks about how I now understand the concept of justice that I have called "justice as fairness." John Rawls believes that fairness and justice should not be seen as the same but that fairness is a major concept of justice. He focuses attention on justice as a virtue of social institutions. He does not look to particular actions or persons but to practices. Rawls states that justice is just part of the vision of a good society. His take on justice can account for the aspects of the utilitarian view of justice, which can sometimes be misleading. Rawls' conception of justice can be broken down into two principles.
The first idea in his conception of justice is the liberty principle. It states that each person participating in a practice has equal rights and liberties. This means that everyone should be treated equally and given the same rights. The liberty principle applies very much to the legal systems and gives citizens of a practice basic freedoms.
The second idea for his conception is the difference principle. This principle makes up for the inequalities that can occur concerning wealth and social positions. Differences are only justifiable if they work out to the advantage of everyone and the positions are available for all to achieve. Inequalities cannot be justified if some benefited while people at the bottom did not; this instead would be justice as utilitarianism if those at the top were the majority.
After setting the initial principles, Rawls makes notes that people of practice are going to be self-interested. He does believe, however, that justice can still be built if those people are rational when establishing liberties and rules. Rationality can be achieved with a veil of ignorance. Somehow people should be blind to their status in society when making claims for justice. The first method of creating a just society is to allow the participants to voice their complaints or liberties that they feel are principles that they wish to be bound to in future occasions....