uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The Secret Ingredients to Moral Philosophy: Blood, Sweat, and Tears: On bad enough worst-case scenarios in experimental approximations of John Rawls' Original Position
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper approximates the study of a natural experiment to John Rawls’ thought experiment ‘the original position’ (OP). It argues that laboratory experiments have been unsuccessful in making legitimate approximations of the OP because of their inability to present convincing worst-case scenarios. Notably, the effects of decisions made by agents in the OP are meant to determine agents’ and agents’ descendants’ life chances, and the reason why Rawlsarrives at the maximin principle is closely tied to the undesirability ofending up as ‘worst off.’ Constrained by the need to comply with ethicalstandards, laboratory experiments have not been able to produce bad enough worst-case scenarios totest whether this is a valid assumption. Identifying ‘vulnerability to a radically undesirable although uncertain outcome as the crucial feature ofthe OP, the paper argues that the 1969 US drafting system, the Vietnam lottery,was able to produce satisfactory conditions for a natural experimentalapproximation. Using the results of Laura Stoker’s and Robert S. Erikson’s Caught in the Draft: TheEffects of Vietnam Draft Lottery Status on Political Attitudes (2011), the paper examines howvulnerability prompted changes in respondents’ preferences and interprets thesechanges as if they were the expression of agents’ preferences in the OP.Results support the idea that people, when exposed to vulnerability-inducingconditions, alter their convictions to ensure the protection of theirself-interests. This is in line with the empirical assumptions that Rawls makesabout preferences as he arrives at the maximin principle. The conclusion of thepaper, therefore, supports the maximin principle as the likely result ofdiscussions behind the veil of ignorance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Distributive Justice, Maximin, John Rawls, Original Position, Veil of Ignorance, Justice, Experiment, Vietnam Lottery, Stoker, Erikson, Frohlich, Oppenheimer
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-374308OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-374308DiVA, id: diva2:1280630
Subject / course
Political Science
Educational program
Bachelor Programme in Political Science
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-01-22 Created: 2019-01-20 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(1989 kB)169 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1989 kBChecksum SHA-512
1810880f262d1bf42da1bd7f3523c8abe566011b71ae875e443bcceaf21e7186e951d58aa7b14b34e7e182d5b4025cb2e18fa69fd4c2d6ec11c9204add3e0e97
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

By organisation
Department of Government
Political Science

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 169 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 1166 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf