QUEST
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Justice is one of the most important moral and political concepts.
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For Plato, justice is a virtue establishing rational order, with each part performing its appropriate role and not interfering with the proper functioning of other parts.
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Aristotle says justice consists in what is lawful and fair, with fairness involving equitable distributions and the correction of what is inequitable.
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For Augustine, the cardinal virtue of justice requires that we try to give all people their due; for Aquinas, justice is that rational mean between opposite sorts of injustice, involving proportional distributions and reciprocal transactions.
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Hobbes believed justice is an artificial virtue, necessary for civil society, a function of the voluntary agreements of the social contract;
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for Hume, justice essentially serves public utility by protecting property (broadly understood).
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For Kant, it is a virtue whereby we respect others’ freedom, autonomy, and dignity by not interfering with their voluntary actions, so long as those do not violate others’ rights;
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Mill said justice is a collective name for the most important social utilities, which are conducive to fostering and protecting human liberty.
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Rawls analyzed justice in terms of maximum equal liberty regarding basic rights and duties for all members of society, with socio-economic inequalities requiring moral justification in terms of equal opportunity and beneficial results for all;
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Western philosophers generally regard justice as the most fundamental of all virtues for ordering interpersonal relations and establishing and maintaining a stable political society.
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