Via PHIL103: Unit 4
In times of financial crisis, some governments have chosen to use debtor’s prisons as a way to both punish those persons who default on debts and as a deterrent to those who might willingly default on debts in the future. Is this a legitimate use of the government’s power to punish those who break social contracts, in reference to Hobbes and Rawls? Why, or why not?
Local governments in the past would sometimes not provide fire department services to members of the community; instead, private fire departments would sell yearly subscriptions as a form of fire insurance. Is this a legitimate form of social contract, or would you argue that fire protection is so important to the public good that a government should always provide such services? Explain your response.
In Rawls’s second principle of justice, much attention is given to the concept of social mobility, the idea that if we do have to have inequality in society, then we should be able to move up by work and education. What do you think Rawls might say about recent lawsuits involving colleges and universities and affirmative action policies used to choose new students?