An overview of the idea of justice in society

First of all, the issue of punishment is one he considers in Utilitarianism.

concept of justice pdf

Each person has made the same concession relative to the outcome that is best for them personally — not accepting the same absolute loss of welfare, let it be noted, but the same proportionate loss.

Similarly, citizens should be able to justify their political decisions by public standards of inquiry.

Principles of justice

This is the society's public political culture. To individuals who are frustrated that their fellow citizens and fellow humans do not see the whole truth as they do, Rawls offers the reconciling thought that this diversity of worldviews results from, and can support, a social order with greater freedom for all. It is a matter of justice, for example, that people should be paid the right amount for the jobs that they do, but, special circumstances aside, it is no concern of justice that John derives more satisfaction from his fairly-earned income than Jane does from hers but see Cohen for a different view. One then adds to this narrow equilibrium one's responses to the major theories in the history of political philosophy, as well as one's responses to theories critical of political philosophizing as such. As this article will endeavour to show, justice takes on different meanings in different practical contexts, and to understand it fully we have to grapple with this diversity. Marx explains the ideal of socio-economic equality he advocates with the famous slogan that all should be required to contribute to society to the extent of their abilities and all should be allowed to receive from society in accordance with their needs. The liberal principle of legitimacy intensifies the challenge of legitimacy: how can any particular set of basic laws legitimately be imposed upon a pluralistic citizenry? But, then, oligarchy is also intrinsically unjust insofar as it involves treating equals as unequal because of some contingent disparity, of birth, wealth, etc. The severity of punishment should be relative to the severity of the crime involved, since its rationale is to deter future violations of civil law Leviathan, pp.

How could this claim be justified? John Stuart Mill, a nineteenth-century English philosopher, was aware of the call for a Communist revolution and advocated progressive liberal reform as an alternative path to political evolution.

In setting out justice as fairness, Rawls assumes that the liberal society in question is marked by reasonable pluralism as described above, and also that it is under reasonably favorable conditions: that there are enough resources for it to be possible for everyone's basic needs to be met.

It is in this context that people agree on what should be the principles of justice. But this view runs into a number of objections.

An overview of the idea of justice in society

This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right. With this as a backdrop, we should be able to see what motivated Plato and Aristotle to seek a strong alternative. It may not be possible to agree on perfectly just institutions, but, Sen contends, using a comparative approach we can at least arrive at widespread consensus on the injustice of certain practices or outcomes relative to others. It is a matter of justice, for example, that people should be paid the right amount for the jobs that they do, but, special circumstances aside, it is no concern of justice that John derives more satisfaction from his fairly-earned income than Jane does from hers but see Cohen for a different view. But conceptually, at least, both forms seem admissible; indeed we can find cases in which it appears we have to choose between doing justice comparatively and doing it non-comparatively see Feinberg ; for a critical response, see Montague But the two dominant paths that medieval philosophy would follow for its roughly thousand year history had been blazed by Plato and Aristotle. Whether that is or is not the case in specific circumstances becomes a judgment call. In a letter to Boniface, he maintains that godly, righteous people can serve in the military, again citing scripture to support his position. But even where a procedure has been shaped by a concern that it should produce substantively just outcomes, it may still have special properties that make it intrinsically just. What is crucial is that all citizens view the values of a political conception of justice as very great values, which normally outweigh their other values should these conflict on some particular issue. We can get a better grasp of what justice means to us by seeing the various conceptions that compete for our attention as tied to aspects of our social world that did not exist in the past, and are equally liable to disappear in the future. Though each may believe that she knows the truth about the best way to live, none is willing to force other reasonable citizens to live according to her beliefs, even if she belongs to a majority that has the power to enforce those beliefs on everyone.

Again, when justice takes the conservative form of respect for existing entitlements or legitimate expectations see para 2. All citizens, for their own reasons, give the political conception priority in their reasoning about how their society's basic laws should be ordered.

It might initially seem as though the justice of a procedure can be reduced to the justice of the results produced by applying it, but this is not so. JF, 42—43 The first principle of equal basic liberties is to be embodied in the political constitution, while the second principle applies primarily to economic institutions.

This, however, would bring the theory very close to utilitarianism, since the natural method of weighing primary goods is to ask how much utility having a given quantity of each is likely, on average, to bring for the claim that utilitarianism would be chosen in a Rawlsian original position, see Harsanyi

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John Rawls (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)