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Primary Goods

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The account of primary goods was introduced by Rawls (1999b) in order to make possible comparisons between citizens of the advantages conferred on them by a system of social cooperation. In conditions of reasonable pluralism, because different citizens have different comprehensive conceptions of the good, some common standard is required in order to impartially evaluate and compare social positions, from the least to the most well-off. Rawls wants to avoid relying on any particular comprehensive conception of the good in his account of the primary goods so that these goods can be recognized as good by any reasonable and rational citizen. While these goods have a central position in Rawls’ account of social justice, the full set of primary goods is not used in his account of global justice.

Rawls’ account of the primary goods evolved over time from his position in A Theory of Justice, where Rawls defined the primary goods as goods it is rational to want whatever else one wants, to his...

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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Murray, P. (2011). Primary Goods. In: Chatterjee, D.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Justice. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_54

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