, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 1–25

Rawls' differenzprinzip und seine deutungen

  • Peter Koller

DOI: 10.1007/BF00166491

Cite this article as:
Koller, P. Erkenntnis (1983) 20: 1. doi:10.1007/BF00166491


Rawls's difference principle, according to which social and economic inequalities are justified only if they achieve the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, has been often interpreted as a maximin-principle, in order to make it fit into the frame of welfare economics. Under this interpretation, however, the difference principle is subject to such grave objections, that it can hardly serve as a principle of justice. In order to avoid these difficulties, modifications of the difference principle have been proposed by Sen and Rae. But these proposals don't lead to acceptable resolutions either. As an alternative, a new interpretation of Rawls's difference principle is proposed, which brings out the reasonable core of this principle and, at the same time, repairs the shortcomings of its earlier interpretations.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Co. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Koller
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für RechtsphilosophieUniversität GrazÖsterreichGermany

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