For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The priority of right and ideas of the good"

by Rawls, John (1988)


The idea of the priority of right is an essential element in what I have called political liberalism, and it has a central role in justice as fairness as a form of that view. That priority may give rise to misunderstandings: it may be thought, for example, to imply that a liberal political conception of justice cannot use any ideas of the good except those that are purely instrumental; or that if it uses noninstrumental ideas of the good, they must be viewed as a matter of individual choice, in which case the political conception as a whole is arbitrarily biased in favor of individualism. I shall try to remove these and other misunderstandings of what the priority of right means by sketching its connection with five ideas of the good found in justice as fairness: (i) the idea of goodness as rationality, (2) the idea of primary goods, (3) the idea of permissible comprehensive conceptions of the good, (4) the idea of the political virtues, and (5) the idea of the good of a well-ordered (political) society.

Key Passage

those who surf all day off Malibu must find a way to support themselves and would not be entitled to public fund (p.257)


Rawls, Right To Work, Duty To Work, Cooperation


Rawls Citations, Duty to Work

Links to Reference



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