John Rawls: Let's do a thought experiment

T

The_Bear

Let's do a thought experiment. This thought experimet was first thought up of by John Rawls, one of the greatest philosophers there is.

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Imagine that whatever you are in this world, whatever class you are, or whatever you wealth is; imagine whatever makes you you, your money, beliefs, social status, is taken away from you.
Your 'spirit' is sucked away from your body, and is put into a big pool - a pool that contains everyone else within your society.
Now randomly, you are assigned to a random body - so if you were a CEO of goldman sachs before, you could be assigned to the janitor who works on the 16th floor of the GS building.
Now, whatever you make as that person, you make - it cannot be increased. So if you make $5 an hour, you must only make that $5 an hour and no more.

If it was possible for you to 'leave' your body, and come back as someone else in society, would you do it? You may come back as Rupert Murdoch, but you may come back as pablo guzman from the southside projects.

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Chances are, most people would not participate in this experiment. Probably because they do not want to live the life of a poor man, or of the innocent student that was brutalized by cops recently in florida, or as the evangelical christian that thumps the bible 24/7, or as a communist. Why? Because most people wouldn't not want to end up as 'those people'. Most people are self interested.
Isn't it our moral duty to ourselves, that should we somehow get thrown into a different situation, we are looked after by society with the same fairness as we would be beforehand?
 
D

Darcy Smith

Well i think that this experiment depends entirely on the person. You say 'chances are', but there is no such thing as 'chances are'. All that means is that you are guessing most people would not participate. Unless you actually go out there and ask people from all over the world and from all different backgrounds and of different intellegence and beliefs, then you have no conclusive evidence to back up this 'chances are' theory. I do believe that if you went to Brixton and asked the people there whether they would do it, they would probably say yes. If you then went to the Boltons they would probably say no. It is all to do with how you view your own life and whether you are someone who likes to take risks or not.

Most people are self interested. Of course they are. All people want to be happy and sucessful. The people who have resigned themselves to the fact that they will never be either of those two things are the people who will never be happy or sucessful. It is all to do with self-belief and motivation.

And, should the situation arise that this experiment did actually happen, then society would look after each person the same as before, but this is not to say that you would have the same amount of money or be as clever or sucessful. I have more money than the average person but the average person probably recieves more help from society than i do.