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Philosopher Angie Hobbs on the Veil of Ignorance

Angie Hobbs, Leif Wenar and David Runciman explore one of the most searching ideas of 20th-century legal thought: John Rawls' belief in the value of a veil of ignorance.

Angie Hobbs with Leif Wenar and David Runciman debate and explore one of the most searching ideas of twentieth century legal thought: John Rawls' assertion of the value of a veil of ignorance.

John Rawls was a prolific American philosopher and one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. His magnum opus, A Theory of Justice defines the principles of Justice as those that "everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position". He proposed that in order to build a truly 'just' system of law, the law-makers should be kept unaware of their eventual position within that system - they should determine what is best for society from a position outside of society. This famous thought experiment is known as the 'veil of ignorance'.

Rawls served as a soldier in the Second World War and was promoted to Sergeant. After he refused to discipline a fellow soldier, who he thought had done nothing wrong, he was demoted back to Private.

Producer: Tim Dee.

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11 minutes



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