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Title: Can Gandhi's and Dostoevsky's Unique Conception of Humility Enhance Rawls' Distributive Justice?
Author(s): TAYSHETE, Neha
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 30    Issue: 2   Date: 2023   
Pages: 155-192
DOI: 10.2143/EP.30.2.3292665

Abstract :
John Rawls famously delineated principles of justice, i.e., defining the concept of liberty and equality in society. These principles were indubitably aimed for institutions, such as Parliament, governmental officials and the like. However, it is often asserted that his principles cannot be implemented without individuals supporting them. For example, his scholarship propounded that individuals would have motivations for following his principles of justice. This is especially crucial so that individuals can vote and support political parties that aim to implement Rawls’ principles of justice. This article argues that there is a gap in the existing literature of Rawls’ scholarship: the above-mentioned aspect of Rawls’ scholarship is not feasible. This is because everyone encounters personal suffering at several junctures in life, for example, professional or personal setbacks. This personal suffering can erode the individual motivation of Rawls’ principles of justice. This article illuminates and justifies this, with the work of Mohandas Gandhi and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Furthermore, it is argued that by juxtaposing Gandhi’s theory with Dostoevsky’s theory, one can derive seven remedies for the above stated erosion. These remedies are not directly present in the existing literature, they are rather distilled by analysing the writings and interlocutors of Gandhi and Dostoevsky, as an original analysis. During this attempt, the article also reformulates key concepts in Rawls’ theory, for example, the ‘self-respect’ conception, as filling a gap in this regard. The ultimate aim of this article is, therefore, to maintain and bolster the implementation of Rawls’ scholarship, with the analysis of Gandhi’s and Dostoevsky’s theory.

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