Foundation Of Justic
RUNNING HEAD: WHAT IS JUSTICE
Foundation of Justice
[Name of the Institution]
Foundation of Justice
What is justice according to theory?
In common terms, justice is often equated with ‘equal treatment’ or ‘fairness’. However, justice is a concept that is far vast and complex, and a number of theories of justice have been proposed by philosophers, in which a few prominent ones will be discussed.
According to the Greek philosopher Plato, the purpose of justice is to establish a rational order. It is a virtue that involves each part to perform its appropriate role without interfering or obstructing the functioning of the other part CITATION Ger10 \l 1033 (Santas, 2010). Simply, justice was seen as not meddling in something that was not your own. Thus, each person performs the tasks assigned to him for his role in a just society. The Platonic view of inspired later-day theologians and philosophers such as Aquinas and Augustine to develop their own theories. Aquinas saw justice to be a rational mean that exists between two polar opposite forms of injustice, or between excess and deficiency, and involves external actions, reciprocal transactions and proportional distributions CITATION Tho11 \l 1033 (Bushlack, 2011). For him, it is a moral habit that leads man to give to everyone their due and signifies virtuosity.
In the early modern era, John Stuart Mill proposed the utilitarian concept of justice in which justice came to be seen as a subset of ethics and morality. Violating the rights of an individual was injustice for Mill, who suggested that justice is not merely something which is wrong not to do and right to do, but something upon which a person can claim his moral right CITATION Fre12 \l 1033 (Wilson, 2012). The contemporary philosopher Rawls disagreed and saw justice to be a form of social contract in which the principles that would govern a society are chosen by its people CITATION Joh091 \l 1033 (Rawls, 2009). For Rawls, justice refers to a social institution’s virtue just as how truth is seen as a virtue of thought.
In my view, disagreement over what is just or fair is a result of the differences between human cultures and times. We all may think that we understand what justice is or how it looks like but still, perceive it differently. For instance, our sense of justice commonly agrees that a person who commits murder should be punished; however, whether true justice would be served by executing the murderer or imprisoning him comes from our differing perceptions of what it is. Therefore an appreciation of the various schools of thought around the world that discuss justice and what it entails is necessary. Personally, I see justice to be a commitment, a gift and a call towards morality. It is giving to the other what is their due, and to work for justice requires that we understand the reality of those in poor situations, and see it as a responsibility to enable everyone to live a life of dignity, without being oppressed.
I believe my view of justice closely resonates with the theories of justice presented by Aquinas. Aquinas had talked about serving the common good of the community and saw treating individuals in specific ways to be part of ‘particular justice’ CITATION Tho11 \l 1033 (Bushlack, 2011). It has to do with our external actions and exists between two the two extremes, at a point, he called the ‘rational mean'. This theory of justice sees robbery to be injustice because it violates the natural right to property, however, if a thief stole out of starvation, stealing may not be injustice and therefore not punishable.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Bushlack, T. J., 2011. Justice in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas: Rediscovering Civic Virtue, Notre Dame, Indiana: Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.
Rawls, J., 2009. A Theory of Justice. Revised ed. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.
Santas, G. X., 2010. Understanding Plato's Republic. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wilson, F., 2012. John Stuart Mill on Justice. In: Mill on Justice: Philosophers in Depth. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 90-115.
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