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When the international Community recognizes political entities as states, it confers upon them the rights and powers of statehood. These include the right to territorial integrity, the right to noninterference in their internal affairs, the power to make treaties, and the right (subject to certain restrictions) to enforce legal rules on those within their territory. According to the justice-based account of recognition, political entities ought to be recognized as states if and only if they satisfy minimal requirements of internal and external justice. According to the pragmatic account, they ought to be recognized as states if and only if cooperating with them and giving them international support would be the best means of achieving peace and justice among and within them — that is, global peace and justice — whether or not they themselves currently satisfy minimal requirements of internal and external justice.
A society of peoples refers to those peoples who follow the principles of external and internal justice that Rawls defends in The Law of Peoples. The principles of external justice guarantee the freedom and independence of peoples, impose a duty of nonintervention, confer a right to wage war in self-defense, place limits on the conduct of war, grant the power to ratify (and the duty to observe) treaties, and require assisting economically burdened societies. The principles of internal justice guarantee basic human rights, which for Rawls consist in minimal rights to life (to personal security and means of subsistence), to liberty (to freedom from slavery, serfdom, forced labor), to personal property, to a measure of freedom of conscience and association, to formal equality (treating like cases alike), and to emigration. The principles of internal justice also require societies to contain some kind of consultative procedure through which their members’ views are heard, either as individuals (as in liberal democracies, where individuals possess the right to vote) or as members of associations (for more communal societies, where associations, but not individuals, each have a say in decisions).
Rawls’s use of the term “intuitionism” is to be distinguished from intuitionism as it is traditionally understood. As traditionally understood, intuitionism refers to moral views whose principles, norms, precepts, and so on are self-evident, apprehended directly, or knowable (or justiiable) independently of inference. (These are claims associated with philosophers G. E. Moore and W. D. Ross.) However, as Rawls uses the term, intuitionism, though compatible with these epistemic commitments, does not require them. Rawls instead uses the term to refer to the structure of a moral view, not its epistemic commitments. That structure is characterized by two or more irreducible first principles without any priority rules for weighing them against one another. That structure differs from both utilitarianism (which contains one such principle and a priority rule) and justice as fairness (which contains more than one such principle and a priority rule).
As Rawls uses the term, intuitionism refers to a moral view that includes two or more irreducible irst principles without any priority rules for weighing them against one another. Instead, when the need arises for weighing them, we are to appeal to intuition – our judgment of which way of balancing them seems best upon relection. Rawls gives the example of a view that uses principles of efficiency and equality to determine a just distribution of wealth. Given two societies that produce the same amount of wealth, the more just society will be the one that distributes its wealth more equally to its members. Similarly, given two societies that contain the same degree of inequality in wealth among their members, the more just society will be the more eficient one – the one that produces more wealth.