As part of his effort to answer the question "What is the best conception of justice for a democratic society?" philosopher John Rawls constructed a thought experience called the original position. In the original position, representativs of members of society choose principles of justice for society in light of limited interests and with limited information. Situated behind the veil of ignorance, the parties in the original position have no knowledge about particular facts that could lead them to prefer principles of justice partial to those they represent. The veil of ignorance is thus an important part of Rawls's argument that his conception of justice-justice as fairness-is the best conception for a democratic society.
Copyright © 2017 SAGE Publications. This chapter first appeared in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behavior.
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Von Platz, Jeppe. "The Veil of Ignorance in Rawlsian Theory." In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behavior, edited by Fathali M.. Moghaddam, 889-92. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Reference., 2017.