For many, the term primary goods refers to John Rawls's use of the term in his book A Theory of Justice. In this context, the term was used in reference to distributive justice as the first sort of good one might desire to create well-being (which assists one to live out one's rational life plan). A second meaning also occurs in the literature in those theories that focus on goods needed for action. Finally, there is a third understanding of primary goods as capability. Thus, the three senses are well-being, specific goods attainment, and capability.

Rawls and Primary Goods

Rawls defines primary goods as things that everyone presumably wants, such as rights, liberties, powers, opportunities, income, and wealth. These primary goods are meant to promote well-being. Rawls ...

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