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Rawls, Justice in the Family and Justice of the Family

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I contend that a form of contractualism more individualistic than Rawls’ would do better at addressing concerns about justice and the family raised by feminist theorists, and that it would also compel us to be more egalitarian. Dissatisfactions expressed with Rawls’s neglect of issues related to gender and the family can only be addressed if ‘parties in the original position’ are strictly defined as individuals. Thus defined, they are not only able to address questions of justice within families, but can also explore the less familiar question of justice of the family, namely whether the family should exist, from the point of view of justice. I conclude by exploring the question of whether the family should be abolished, in view of its leading to life chances unequal between individuals, and compare the family with a generalized, well resourced and well run orphanage.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: University College London

Publication date: July 1, 1998

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