Paper Topic—Justice and Pluralism

Rawls claims that justice is the highest virtue of political institutions and offers his two (or three) principles of justice as a decision procedure which is supposed to solve political conflicts. Galston rejects the notion that there can be one single decision procedure, instead arguing that a pluralist approach to political life is more adequate to the nature of political, moral, and social disagreements. Answer one of the two following questions. What is ‘justice as fairness’ for Rawls and does his theory offer an acceptable foundation for peaceful, orderly, and just political institutions? Or, what is ‘liberal pluralism’ for Galston, and does his theory offer an acceptable foundation for peaceful, orderly, and just political institutions?

Paper Instructions—

  • The paper should be typewritten, double-spaced, 3-4 pages long, and it should have normal margins.
  • The term ‘three pages’ means that the paper consists of at least three complete pages, while the term ‘four pages’ means that the paper should not carry over to a fifth page.
  • I expect a clear and coherent argument which answers the questions and is supported with quotations from the text.
  • Do not merely paraphrase the reading. Avoid offering a chronological account of the text (i.e. do not just repeat Rawls’ or Galston’s argument in the sequence that he makes it).
  • Answer the questions. Avoid offering an encyclopedic account of the text (i.e. do not tell me everything that you know about American politics).
  • This is an academic paper so write in an academic style (i.e. assume that the reader, which will be me, is an expert in the field). Do not write the paper in a familiar or personal style (i.e. avoid mention of your feelings about life, the universe, and everything; avoid exclamation points; avoid slang terms and obscenities).
  • Make an argument. This entails beginning with an introduction and thesis statement answering the questions. Part of the essay will be expository and will demonstrate your grasp of the material. Part of the essay will consist of an argument as to whether Rawls’ or Galston’s theory offers an acceptable foundation for peaceful, orderly, and just political institutions.
  • You must support your argument with direct quotations from primary sources (i.e. the Rawls book and the Galston book). If you do not support your answer with direct quotations from the text, you will not well on the paper. Supporting your claims about ideology and liberalism with appropriate quotations demonstrates a mastery of the material that will contribute to success.
  • The quotations that you use to support your argument should be supplemented by the appropriate page number from either Justice as Fairness or Liberal Pluralism. For example, in Liberal Pluralism, Galston claims that “there is a wide range of legitimate diversity—of individual conceptions of good lives, and also of public cultures and public purposes.” (6)
  • I do not require that students use outside sources. If you choose to do so, you must footnote these sources. Footnotes should follow this format:
  • Author, Title, edition if applicable (Location of publication: Publisher, Date of publication) page number.
  • For example: Plato, The Republic, trans. Alan Bloom, 2nd edition (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1991) 55.
  • Have someone proofread your paper before you turn it in to me.
  • Grammatical and typographical errors make papers difficult to read.
  • The more difficult a paper is to read, the more difficult it is to understand.
  • Thus, although I do not use a point reduction system for such errors, grammar errors and typos tend to reduce students’ grades significantly.
  • Students who wish to discuss their draft papers need to make an appointment with me. The appointment needs to be at least two days before the paper is due.

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