16 August 2012
Sixth former Chris Cooke has won first prize in the Lloyd Davies Philosophy prize run by Oriel College, Oxford, for his essay, What is the difference between justice and fairness? Which is more important?. The prize is worth £250. The judges, speaking about Chris's essay said,
'Chris Cooke’s essay stood out, demonstrating an original and methodical approach to this challenging question. Cooke treats the concept of justice as the concept of giving each his due, and notes that this might be understood along libertarian lines. Fairness, on the other hand, is analyzed by Cooke as the elimination of the effects of luck. This enables Cooke to distinguish between justice and fairness and to argue that, while a society is morally obligated to be just, it may not be under any obligation to be fair. Cooke develops the argument into a penetrating criticsm of John Rawls' claim that his own conception of justice is also a conception of fairness. The essay also demonstrated a very impressive mastery of a range of relevant philosophical views.'