PHIL 410. ORIGINAL POSITION ASSIGNMENT (10 POINTS)
TO BE POSTED ON THE PHIL 410 GOPOST SITE BEFORE MIDNIGHT ON WEDNESDAY OCT. 24. YOU CAN LINK TO THE GOPOST SITE FROM THE PHIL 410 COURSE WEB SITE. ALL ASSIGNMENTS SHOULD BE POSTED AS COMMENTS ON A SINGLE CONVERSATION THAT I HAVE STARTED, "ORIGINAL POSITION ASSIGNMENT". TO POST YOUR ASSIGNMENT ON THAT CONVERSATION, FIND THE LAST MESSAGE ON THE THREAD AND THEN PASTE YOUR ASSIGNMENT INTO THE "ADD TO THIS CONVERSATION" PANE. ANYONE WHO STARTS A NEW CONVERSATION WILL GET NO CREDIT FOR THE ASSIGNMENT. (IF YOU MISTAKENLY BEGIN A NEW CONVERSATION, JUST REPOST YOUR ANSWER AS PART OF THE CONVERSATION I STARTED.) I expect a good answer to this assignment to be ABOUT 300 words in length.
(a) Give an example of a right you propose for adoption behind the Veil of Ignorance in the Original Position? (b) Explain the right so that we can understand what you are advocating and (c) explain your reasons in a way that shows you understand how to argue behind the veil of ignorance. Unless you are the first to post an answer to this question, your answer should show that you are familiar with previous answers—perhaps by explaining how your proposal differs from previous answers or by explaining why you disagree with previous answers. (You cannot just copy Rawls's principles or a principle proposed by someone else in the class!) You must be present for the class discussion on Thursday Oct. 25 to receive full credit for your homework (unless the absence is excused). You need not develop your principles from scratch. You may suggest modifications to a principle proposed by someone else. But you may not take Rawls as an authority on the Original Position—that is, you should not assume that his two principles of justice would be agreed to in the Original Position. Also, you are not limited to one message. You are required to send one message, but I encourage you to participate in a discussion of potential principles for adoption in the Original Position. We will continue that discussion in class. If you have objections to the possibility of the Original Position thought experiment, temporarily set them aside and try to do the assignment anyway. It may be that trying to conduct the thought experiment yields interesting results even if it is, strictly speaking, impossible to actually do it.
THIS ASSIGNMENT WILL SET THE STAGE FOR A CLASS FIELD TRIP BEHIND THE VEIL OF IGNORANCE TO THE ORIGINAL POSITION ON THURSDAY, OCT. 25. PLEASE READ ALL THE POSTED ANSWERS TO THE ASSIGNMENT ON THURSDAY BEFORE COMING TO CLASS. IN CLASS, IT WILL BE ASSUMED THAT EVERYONE IS FAMILIAR WITH THOSE POSTINGS. TO GET FULL CREDIT FOR THE ASSIGNMENT, YOU MUST BE IN CLASS FOR THE DISCUSSION, UNLESS YOUR ABSENCE IS EXCUSED.