Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 1 decade ago

John Rawls maximin criterion?

Can anyone explain to me John Rawl's maximin criterion? I read Rawls' article for the American Economic Review and from what I gather, it's some sort of decision theory regarding maximum and minimum losses.

I can't find much about it online, and I need a good understanding of what it's all about!


5 Answers

  • j153e
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Minimax is two-fold: seek to maximize your minimum profits, and seek to minimize your maximum losses.

    This assumes a zero-sum game (one pie, pieces cut according to each player's control/power).

    Nash's equilibrium is a far truer form of minimax than Rawls' for Rawls does not permit others' full knowing of what control/power they might have, for establishing "justice as fairness." Nash permits this, and in fact it is more profound. E.g., if A has chosen to maximize her assets by saving more and investing wisely, her position, when understood by others in a Nash equilibrium, will be honored far more than if her assets are to be divided (per Rawls' dialectic of "justice as fairness") among needy others, whose prior choices have been to spend and not save. Ant and grasshopper analogy, which Rawls' "justice as fairness" disregards, in favor of simplistic egalitarianism. This error was rightly noted, and later Rawls somewhat backtracked and made some provisions for this type of reality. However, with Nash equilibrium, all prior social etiologies are known, and ideally appreciated, by those in the zero sum game. Ironically, this appreciation is precisely what occurred for Rawls, as he modified toward the Nash equilibrium model of social justice.

    If you're studying for a test in which Rawls is valorized, then your instructor is probably promoting a similar early Rawlsian point of view, perhaps for a general social agenda. Logically, Nash equilibrium trumps Rawls' Difference Principle (synonym for maximin).

    Moreover, true Nash equilibrium obtains only when individual plays are optimal (and, given, of course, complete transparency). In terms of social justice, this would necessitate rational behavior a la A's saving and investing, if B wished to optimize her strategy. This is basically a Hobbesian notion of rationality.

    There is, in Rawls' "Theory of Justice," the "minimax" notion of maximizing the minimal societal portions. This is different from maximizing the minimum profits per Nash equilibrium of making personal optimal choices in clarity; rather, Rawls' notion of fairness as justice redistributes profits to the minimal holders of same, who are not necessarily making Nash equilibrium decisions.

    Beyond this fairly clear and simple level, there are many further levels of discussion.

    "A Philosophy of Universality," O. M. Aivanhov,

    "Nihilism," Father Seraphim Rose,

    "The Path of the Higher Self," Mark Prophet.

  • horth
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Maximin Criterion

  • 5 years ago

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Lou Rawls has a brother? Can he sing?

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  • JOSH
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Yeah is he a musician, or what?

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