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In Search of the Just: Reflections on John Rawls’s Ideal Theory

Project by Polygence alum Lale

In Search of the Just: Reflections on John Rawls’s Ideal Theory

Project's result

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In A Theory of Justice, Rawls presented a picture of what he envisioned as just society that runs under favorable conditions that presume principles of justice, which were adopted under the veil of ignorance. The true principles of justice will be established in this respect since the veil of ignorance ensures that no one is disadvantaged or benefited by any factor, including contingencies, natural chance, or social circumstances. Rawls’s ideal theory has been challenged, particularly by realists, for a lack of contact with reality and recognition of the true character of humanity. Thus, the realists argue, the ideal theory does not apply to real-world environment, people, and institutions. In this paper, I will define the ideal theory, following Rawls, as a just society that occurs in a realistic utopia after all non-ideal factors have vanished. I will argue for the necessity of ideal theory on the grounds that it allows us to identify both humankind's limitations and potential while also serving as a guide to establishing a just society for which we must strive. I will also argue that ideal theory does not give the possibility of becoming completely detached from reality, forming a utopia, and creating an unreachable form of society. Instead, it depicts a realistic utopia by combining realist and utopian features that creates a form of ideal theory. Finally, I will demonstrate that elements of Rawls's realistic utopia establishes both imaginable and achievable in the form of an exemplary just society. I shall follow most of Rawls’s method, however I will diverge from it on the original position and the veil of ignorance. As I will mostly address to realism criticism, I will also offer some changes for Rawls’s realistic utopia and adopt certain Communitarian conceptions.



Polygence mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate


Social Science, Psychology


Ethics, Political Philosophy, History of Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Work with Philosophy and the social sciences, Writing for the Humanities, philosophical ideas in film and literature




Hello! I'm Lale, and my Polygence project is on John Rawls's Theory of Justice and utopian thinking. I chose to work on this project because I've always been interested in politics, especially how moral questions and dilemmas shape and lead political agents and actors. After completing my project, I would like to continue my studies in ethics and further explore other aspects of Rawls's theory.


Tenzile Erdogan Kiz Anadolu Imam Hatip Lisesi

Graduation Year


Project review

“I was waiting for a more remote experience and simple guidance to write a paper, but I received so much more than that. It was very interactive, challenging, and refreshing in every aspect. I discovered a whole new area within philosophy where I'm lacking and good at.”

About my mentor

“He provided everything I needed to understand, question, challenge, and defend my thesis and research. He was accommodating in helping me choose a topic I love and care to search more about. He answered all my questions and concerns in the meetings and through chat.”