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Unpublished Paper
Veils and Cloaks of Ignorance: Under-Used Tools for Conflict Resolution
ExpressO (2011)
  • Barry F Anderson, Portland State University
In his influential work, A Theory of Justice, John Rawls (1971) introduced the notion of a “veil of ignorance” as a conceptual device for promoting just choices. On the premise that getting conflicting parties to think more fairly is a good first step toward achieving agreement, we develop Rawls’s notion as a tool for conflict resolution. However, the interpretation that is usually placed upon Rawls’s “veil of ignorance” is what we call a “thin veil,” and psychological research shows such veils to be generally ineffective. To thin veils, we add the concepts of “thick veils” and “cloaks,” providing examples of their use in mediation, the law, and decision analysis. We then consider ways in which mediators can extend the application of cloaks and veils to conflict resolution and the ethical consideration thereof. We also consider the ethics of using cloaks and veils.
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Citation Information
Barry F Anderson. "Veils and Cloaks of Ignorance: Under-Used Tools for Conflict Resolution" ExpressO (2011)
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