Two Associations with the Unencumbered Self Essay

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Two Associations with the Unencumbered Self

The unencumbered self separates who I am from my attributes and desires. Rawls encounters the unencumbered self in proposing both the veil of ignorance and the difference principle; both separate the subject from the attributes and ends of the subject. Rawls denies both the utilitarian and libertarian views as practical solutions, and puts forward the veil of ignorance and difference principle as a third alternative. This paper will begin with briefly describing what Sandel considers the unencumbered self. I will outline utilitarianism and liberalism as theories Rawls rejects, as well as Rawls’ philosophy as a practical Kantianism. I will identify the unnecessary transition Rawls makes
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Immanuel Kant puts forward a theory of categorical imperatives. In Kant’s theory, moral correctness is not evaluated by results, but rather on the consistency and applicability of universally held principles. Utilitarianism is the philosophy that moral good can be calculated by taking the sum of all of the happiness of the citizens in a society. The libertarians deny John Stuart Mill’s utilitarian philosophy because it presupposes a particular notion of the good, namely happiness. Instead, they favor Kant’s categorical imperative because it offers justice as an a priori right unconfined to any particular notion of the good. To the libertarians, even happiness is an ineffective foundation because the constitution of happiness varies greatly among people. Any regulating doctrine would at least confine some from pursuing their own conceptions of happiness. Sandel says of the Kantian philosophy, “Only when I am governed by principles that do not presuppose any particular ends am I free to pursue my own ends consistent with a similar freedom for all.” (CPP 248) Kant’s philosophy, however, does not provide a clear basis for arriving at the morality and rights that Rawls seeks. Rawls attempts to translate Kant’s labyrinthine German philosophy into a pragmatic American application; Sandel refers to this as the original position. Sandel says, “Rawls’ project is

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