Justice, in its broadest context, includes both the attainment of that which is just and the philosophical discussion of that which is just. The concept of justice is based on numerous fields, and many differing viewpoints and perspectives including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity and fairness. Often, the general discussion of justice is divided into the realm of social justice as found in philosophy, theology and religion, and, procedural justice as found in the study and application of the law.
Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with "goodness" or "rightness".
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.
Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason. Rationality implies the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe, and of one's actions with one's reasons for action. "Rationality" has different specialized meanings in philosophy, economics, sociology, psychology, evolutionary biology, game theory and political science.
The concept of justice differs in every culture. Early theories of justice were set out by the Ancient Greek philosophers Plato in his work The Republic, and Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics. Throughout history various theories have been established. Advocates of divine command theory argue that justice issues from God. In the 1600s, theorists like John Locke argued for the theory of natural law. Thinkers in the social contract tradition argued that justice is derived from the mutual agreement of everyone concerned. In the 1800s, utilitarian thinkers including John Stuart Mill argued that justice is what has the best consequences. Theories of distributive justice concern what is distributed, between whom they are to be distributed, and what is the proper distribution. Egalitarians argued that justice can only exist within the coordinates of equality. John Rawls used a social contract argument to show that justice, and especially distributive justice, is a form of fairness. Property rights theorists (like Robert Nozick) also take a consequentialist view of distributive justice and argue that property rights-based justice maximizes the overall wealth of an economic system. Theories of retributive justice are concerned with punishment for wrongdoing. Restorative justice (also sometimes called "reparative justice") is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of victims and offenders.
Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of the individuals in these groups.
Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.
The Republic is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 375 BC, concerning justice (δικαιοσύνη), the order and character of the just city-state, and the just man. It is Plato's best-known work, and has proven to be one of the world's most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both intellectually and historically.
In his dialogue Republic, Plato uses Socrates to argue for justice that covers both the just person and the just City State. Justice is a proper, harmonious relationship between the warring parts of the person or city. Hence, Plato's definition of justice is that justice is the having and doing of what is one's own. A just man is a man in just the right place, doing his best and giving the precise equivalent of what he has received. This applies both at the individual level and at the universal level. A person's soul has three parts – reason, spirit and desire. Similarly, a city has three parts – Socrates uses the parable of the chariot to illustrate his point: a chariot works as a whole because the two horses' power is directed by the charioteer. Lovers of wisdom – philosophers, in one sense of the term – should rule because only they understand what is good. If one is ill, one goes to a medic rather than a farmer, because the medic is expert in the subject of health. Similarly, one should trust one's city to an expert in the subject of the good, not to a mere politician who tries to gain power by giving people what they want, rather than what's good for them. Socrates uses the parable of the ship to illustrate this point: the unjust city is like a ship in open ocean, crewed by a powerful but drunken captain (the common people), a group of untrustworthy advisors who try to manipulate the captain into giving them power over the ship's course (the politicians), and a navigator (the philosopher) who is the only one who knows how to get the ship to port. For Socrates, the only way the ship will reach its destination – the good – is if the navigator takes charge.
Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he made no writings, and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers writing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos. Aristophanes, a playwright, is the main contemporary author to have written plays mentioning Socrates during Socrates' lifetime, though a fragment of Ion of Chios' Travel Journal provides important information about Socrates' youth.
According to Plato, a philosopher king is a ruler who possesses both a love of wisdom, as well as intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life. Such are the rulers of his utopian city Kallipolis. For such a community to ever come into being, "philosophers [must] become kings…or those now called kings [must]…genuinely and adequately philosophize".
A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.
Advocates of divine command theory argue that justice, and indeed the whole of morality, is the authoritative command of God. Murder is wrong and must be punished, for instance, because God says it so. Some versions of the theory assert that God must be obeyed because of the nature of his relationship with humanity, others assert that God must be obeyed because he is goodness itself, and thus doing what he says would be best for everyone.
A meditation on the Divine command theory by Plato can be found in his dialogue, Euthyphro. Called the Euthyphro dilemma, it goes as follows: "Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?" The implication is that if the latter is true, then justice is arbitrary; if the former is true, then morality exists on a higher order than God, who becomes little more than a passer-on of moral knowledge. A response, popularized in two contexts by Immanuel Kant and C. S. Lewis, is that it is deductively valid to argue that the existence of an objective morality implies the existence of God and vice versa.
Euthyphro, by Plato, is a Socratic dialogue whose events occur in the weeks before the trial of Socrates, between Socrates and Euthyphro. The dialogue covers subjects such as the meaning of piety and justice.
The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Plato's dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro, "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" (10a)
The argument from morality is an argument for the existence of God. Arguments from morality tend to be based on moral normativity or moral order. Arguments from moral normativity observe some aspect of morality and argue that God is the best or only explanation for this, concluding that God must exist. Arguments from moral order are based on the asserted need for moral order to exist in the universe. They claim that, for this moral order to exist, God must exist to support it. The argument from morality is noteworthy in that one cannot evaluate the soundness of the argument without attending to almost every important philosophical issue in meta-ethics.
For advocates of the theory that justice is part of natural law (e.g., John Locke), it involves the system of consequences that naturally derives from any action or choice. In this, it is similar to the laws of physics: in the same way as the Third of Newton's laws of Motion requires that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction, justice requires according individuals or groups what they actually deserve, merit, or are entitled to.[ citation needed ] Justice, on this account, is a universal and absolute concept: laws, principles, religions, etc., are merely attempts to codify that concept, sometimes with results that entirely contradict the true nature of justice.
John Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism". Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
In Republic by Plato, the character Thrasymachus argues that justice is the interest of the strong – merely a name for what the powerful or cunning ruler has imposed on the people.
Thrasymachus was a sophist of ancient Greece best known as a character in Plato's Republic.
Advocates of the social contract agree that justice is derived from the mutual agreement of everyone concerned; or, in many versions, from what they would agree to under hypothetical conditions including equality and absence of bias. This account is considered further below, under 'Justice as fairness'. The absence of bias refers to an equal ground for all people concerned in a disagreement (or trial in some cases).[ citation needed ]
According to utilitarian thinkers including John Stuart Mill, justice is not as fundamental as we often think. Rather, it is derived from the more basic standard of rightness, consequentialism: what is right is what has the best consequences (usually measured by the total or average welfare caused). So, the proper principles of justice are those that tend to have the best consequences. These rules may turn out to be familiar ones such as keeping contracts; but equally, they may not, depending on the facts about real consequences. Either way, what is important is those consequences, and justice is important, if at all, only as derived from that fundamental standard. Mill tries to explain our mistaken belief that justice is overwhelmingly important by arguing that it derives from two natural human tendencies: our desire to retaliate against those who hurt us, or the feeling of self-defense and our ability to put ourselves imaginatively in another's place, sympathy. So, when we see someone harmed, we project ourselves into their situation and feel a desire to retaliate on their behalf. If this process is the source of our feelings about justice, that ought to undermine our confidence in them.
Theories of distributive justice need to answer three questions:
Distributive justice theorists generally do not answer questions of who has the right to enforce a particular favored distribution. On the other hand, property rights theorists argue that there is no "favored distribution." Rather, distribution should be based simply on whatever distribution results from lawful interactions or transactions (that is, transactions which are not illicit).
This section describes some widely held theories of distributive justice, and their attempts to answer these questions.
Social justice is concerned with the just relationship between individuals and their society, often considering how privileges, opportunities, and wealth ought to be distributed among individuals.Social justice is also associated with social mobility, especially the ease with which individuals and families may move between social strata. Social justice is distinct from cosmopolitanism, which is the idea that all people belong to a single global community with a shared morality. Social justice is also distinct from egalitarianism, which is the idea that all people are equal in terms of status, value, or rights, as social justice theories do not all require equality. For example, sociologist George C. Homans suggested that the root of the concept of justice is that each person should receive rewards that are proportional to their contributions. Economist Friedrich Hayek argued that the concept of social justice was meaningless, saying that justice is a result of individual behavior and unpredictable market forces. Social justice is closely related to the concept of relational justice, which is concerned with the just relationship with individuals who possess features in common such as nationality, or who are engaged in cooperation or negotiation.
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In his A Theory of Justice , John Rawls used a social contract argument to show that justice, and especially distributive justice, is a form of fairness: an impartial distribution of goods. Rawls asks us to imagine ourselves behind a veil of ignorance that denies us all knowledge of our personalities, social statuses, moral characters, wealth, talents and life plans, and then asks what theory of justice we would choose to govern our society when the veil is lifted, if we wanted to do the best that we could for ourselves. We don't know who in particular we are, and therefore can't bias the decision in our own favour. So, the decision-in-ignorance models fairness, because it excludes selfish bias. Rawls argues that each of us would reject the utilitarian theory of justice that we should maximize welfare (see below) because of the risk that we might turn out to be someone whose own good is sacrificed for greater benefits for others. Instead, we would endorse Rawls's two principles of justice:
This imagined choice justifies these principles as the principles of justice for us, because we would agree to them in a fair decision procedure. Rawls's theory distinguishes two kinds of goods – (1) the good of liberty rights and (2) social and economic goods, i.e. wealth, income and power – and applies different distributions to them – equality between citizens for (1), equality unless inequality improves the position of the worst off for (2).
In one sense, theories of distributive justice may assert that everyone should get what they deserve. Theories disagree on the meaning of what is "deserved". The main distinction is between theories that argue the basis of just deserts ought to be held equally by everyone, and therefore derive egalitarian accounts of distributive justice – and theories that argue the basis of just deserts is unequally distributed on the basis of, for instance, hard work, and therefore derive accounts of distributive justice by which some should have more than others.
According to meritocratic theories, goods, especially wealth and social status, should be distributed to match individual merit, which is usually understood as some combination of talent and hard work. According to needs -based theories, goods, especially such basic goods as food, shelter and medical care, should be distributed to meet individuals' basic needs for them. Marxism is a needs-based theory, expressed succinctly in Marx's slogan "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".According to contribution-based theories, goods should be distributed to match an individual's contribution to the overall social good.
In Anarchy, State, and Utopia , Robert Nozick argues that distributive justice is not a matter of the whole distribution matching an ideal pattern, but of each individual entitlement having the right kind of history. It is just that a person has some good (especially, some property right) if and only if they came to have it by a history made up entirely of events of two kinds:
If the chain of events leading up to the person having something meets this criterion, they are entitled to it: that they possess it is just, and what anyone else does or doesn't have or need is irrelevant.
On the basis of this theory of distributive justice, Nozick argues that all attempts to redistribute goods according to an ideal pattern, without the consent of their owners, are theft. In particular, redistributive taxation is theft.
Some property rights theorists (like Nozick) also take a consequentialist view of distributive justice and argue that property rights based justice also has the effect of maximizing the overall wealth of an economic system. They explain that voluntary (non-coerced) transactions always have a property called Pareto efficiency. The result is that the world is better off in an absolute sense and no one is worse off. Such consequentialist property rights theorists argue that respecting property rights maximizes the number of Pareto efficient transactions in the world and minimized the number of non-Pareto efficient transactions in the world (i.e. transactions where someone is made worse off). The result is that the world will have generated the greatest total benefit from the limited, scarce resources available in the world. Further, this will have been accomplished without taking anything away from anyone unlawfully.
According to the utilitarian, justice requires the maximization of the total or average welfare across all relevant individuals.This may require sacrifice of some for the good of others, so long as everyone's good is taken impartially into account. Utilitarianism, in general, argues that the standard of justification for actions, institutions, or the whole world, is impartial welfare consequentialism, and only indirectly, if at all, to do with rights, property, need, or any other non-utilitarian criterion. These other criteria might be indirectly important, to the extent that human welfare involves them. But even then, such demands as human rights would only be elements in the calculation of overall welfare, not uncrossable barriers to action.
Theories of retributive justice are concerned with punishment for wrongdoing, and need to answer three questions:
This section considers the two major accounts of retributive justice, and their answers to these questions. Utilitarian theories look forward to the future consequences of punishment, while retributive theories look back to particular acts of wrongdoing, and attempt to balance them with deserved punishment.
According to the utilitarian, justice requires the maximization of the total or average welfare across all relevant individuals. Punishment fights crime in three ways:
So, the reason for punishment is the maximization of welfare, and punishment should be of whomever, and of whatever form and severity, are needed to meet that goal. This may sometimes justify punishing the innocent, or inflicting disproportionately severe punishments, when that will have the best consequences overall (perhaps executing a few suspected shoplifters live on television would be an effective deterrent to shoplifting, for instance). It also suggests that punishment might turn out never to be right, depending on the facts about what actual consequences it has.
The retributivist will think consequentialism is mistaken. If someone does something wrong we must respond by punishing for the committed action itself, regardless of what outcomes punishment produces. Wrongdoing must be balanced or made good in some way, and so the criminal deserves to be punished. It says that all guilty people, and only guilty people, deserve appropriate punishment. This matches some strong intuitions about just punishment: that it should be proportional to the crime, and that it should be of only and all of the guilty.[ citation needed ] However, it is sometimes argued that retributivism is merely revenge in disguise. However, there are differences between retribution and revenge: the former is impartial and has a scale of appropriateness, whereas the latter is personal and potentially unlimited in scale.[ citation needed ]
Restorative justice (also sometimes called "reparative justice") is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of victims and offenders, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender. Victims take an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, "to repair the harm they've done – by apologizing, returning stolen money, or community service". It is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and wrongdoing to be an offense against an individual or community rather than the state. Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.
Some modern philosophers have argued that Utilitarian and Retributive theories are not mutually exclusive. For example, Andrew von Hirsch, in his 1976 book Doing Justice, suggested that we have a moral obligation to punish greater crimes more than lesser ones.[ citation needed ] However, so long as we adhere to that constraint then utilitarian ideals would play a significant secondary role.
It has been arguedthat 'systematic' or 'programmatic' political and moral philosophy in the West begins, in Plato's Republic, with the question, 'What is Justice?' According to most contemporary theories of justice, justice is overwhelmingly important: John Rawls claims that "Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought." In classical approaches, evident from Plato through to Rawls, the concept of 'justice' is always construed in logical or 'etymological' opposition to the concept of injustice. Such approaches cite various examples of injustice, as problems which a theory of justice must overcome. A number of post-World War II approaches do, however, challenge that seemingly obvious dualism between those two concepts. Justice can be thought of as distinct from benevolence, charity, prudence, mercy, generosity, or compassion, although these dimensions are regularly understood to also be interlinked. Justice is the concept of cardinal virtues, of which it is one. Metaphysical justice has often been associated with concepts of fate, reincarnation or Divine Providence, i.e., with a life in accordance with a cosmic plan. The association of justice with fairness is thus historically and culturally inalienable.
Law raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness, and justice. There is an old saying that 'All are equal before the law'. The belief in equality before the law is called legal egalitarianism. In criticism of this belief, the author Anatole France said in 1894, "In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread."With this saying, France illustrated the fundamental shortcoming of a theory of legal equality that remains blind to social inequality; the same law applied to all may have disproportionately harmful effects on the least powerful.
Equality before the law is one of the basic principles of classical liberalism.Classical liberalism calls for equality before the law, not for equality of outcome. Classical liberalism opposes pursuing group rights at the expense of individual rights.
Jews, Muslims and Christians traditionally believe that justice is a present, real, right, and, specifically, governing concept along with mercy, and that justice is ultimately derived from and held by God. According to the Bible, such institutions as the Mosaic Law were created by God to require the Israelites to live by and apply His standards of justice.
The Hebrew Bible describes God as saying about the Judeo-Christian patriarch Abraham: "No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice;...." (Genesis 18:19, NRSV). The Psalmist describes God as having "Righteousness and justice [as] the foundation of [His] throne;...." (Psalms 89:14, NRSV).
The New Testament also describes God and Jesus Christ as having and displaying justice, often in comparison with God displaying and supporting mercy (Matthew 5:7).
In criminal law, a sentence forms the final explicit act of a judge-ruled process, and also the symbolic principal act connected to his function. The sentence can generally involve a decree of imprisonment, a fine and/or other punishments against a defendant convicted of a crime. Laws may specify the range of penalties that can be imposed for various offenses, and sentencing guidelines sometimes regulate what punishment within those ranges can be imposed given a certain set of offense and offender characteristics. The most common purposes of sentencing in legal theory are:
|Theory||Aim of theory||Suitable punishment|
|Retribution||Punishment imposed for no reason other than an offense being committed, on the basis that if proportionate, punishment is morally acceptable as a response that satisfies the aggrieved party, their intimates and society.|
|Rehabilitation||To reform the offender's behavior|
|Incapacitation||Offender is made incapable of committing further crime to protect society at large from crime|
|Reparation||Repayment to victim(s) or to community|
|Denunciation||Society expressing its disapproval reinforcing moral boundaries|
In civil cases the decision is usually known as a verdict, or judgment, rather than a sentence. Civil cases are settled primarily by means of monetary compensation for harm done ("damages") and orders intended to prevent future harm (for example injunctions). Under some legal systems an award of damages involves some scope for retribution, denunciation and deterrence, by means of additional categories of damages beyond simple compensation, covering a punitive effect, social disapprobation, and potentially, deterrence, and occasionally disgorgement (forfeit of any gain, even if no loss was caused to the other party).
Evolutionary ethics and an argued evolution of morality suggest evolutionary bases for the concept of justice. Biosocial criminology research argues that human perceptions of what is appropriate criminal justice are based on how to respond to crimes in the ancestral small-group environment and that these responses may not always be appropriate for today's societies.
Studies at UCLA in 2008 have indicated that reactions to fairness are "wired" into the brain and that, "Fairness is activating the same part of the brain that responds to food in rats... This is consistent with the notion that being treated fairly satisfies a basic need".Research conducted in 2003 at Emory University involving capuchin monkeys demonstrated that other cooperative animals also possess such a sense and that "inequity aversion may not be uniquely human".
In a world where people are interconnected but they disagree, institutions are required to instantiate ideals of justice. These institutions may be justified by their approximate instantiation of justice, or they may be deeply unjust when compared with ideal standards – consider the institution of slavery. Justice is an ideal the world fails to live up to, sometimes due to deliberate opposition to justice despite understanding, which could be disastrous. The question of institutive justice raises issues of legitimacy, procedure, codification and interpretation, which are considered by legal theorists and by philosophers of law.[ citation needed ]
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence.
Jurisprudence or legal theory is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, legal institutions, and the role of law in society.
Political philosophy, also known as political theory, is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of laws by authority: what they are, if they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect, what form it should take, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.
In moral and political philosophy, the social contract is a theory or model that originated during the Age of Enlightenment and usually concerns the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority in exchange for protection of their remaining rights or maintenance of the social order. The relation between natural and legal rights is often a topic of social contract theory. The term takes its name from The Social Contract, a 1762 book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau that discussed this concept. Although the antecedents of social contract theory are found in antiquity, in Greek and Stoic philosophy and Roman and Canon Law, the heyday of the social contract was the mid-17th to early 19th centuries, when it emerged as the leading doctrine of political legitimacy.
Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges. In Western as well as in older Asian cultures, the concept of social justice has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society. In the current global grassroots movements for social justice, the emphasis has been on the breaking of barriers for social mobility, the creation of safety nets and economic justice.
John Bordley Rawls was an American moral and political philosopher in the liberal tradition. Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls' work "helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself."
Distributive justice concerns the socially just allocation of goods. Often contrasted with just process, which is concerned with the administration of law, distributive justice concentrates on outcomes. This subject has been given considerable attention in philosophy and the social sciences. Distributive justice is fundamental to the Catholic Church's social teaching, inspiring such figures as Dorothy Day and Pope John Paul II.
Procedural justice is the idea of fairness in the processes that resolve disputes and allocate resources. One aspect of procedural justice is related to discussions of the administration of justice and legal proceedings. This sense of procedural justice is connected to due process (U.S.), fundamental justice (Canada), procedural fairness (Australia), and natural justice, but the idea of procedural justice can also be applied to nonlegal contexts in which some process is employed to resolve conflict or divide benefits or burdens. Other aspects of procedural justice can also be found in social psychology and sociology issues and organizational psychology.
The original position (OP) is a hypothetical situation developed by American philosopher John Rawls as a thought experiment to replace the imagery of a savage state of nature of prior political philosophers like Thomas Hobbes.
A Theory of Justice is a 1971 work of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls, in which the author addresses the problem of distributive justice. The theory utilises an updated form of Kantian philosophy and a variant form of conventional social contract theory. Rawls's theory of justice is fully a political theory of justice as opposed to other forms of justice discussed in other disciplines and contexts.
"Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical" is an essay by John Rawls, published in 1985. In it he describes his conception of justice. It comprises two main principles of liberty and equality; the second is subdivided into Fair Equality of Opportunity and the Difference Principle.
In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good refers to either what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the realm of politics and public service. The concept of the common good differs significantly among philosophical doctrines. Early conceptions of the common good were set out by Ancient Greek philosophers, including Aristotle and Plato. One understanding of the common good rooted in Aristotle's philosophy remains in common usage today, referring to what one contemporary scholar calls the "good proper to, and attainable only by, the community, yet individually shared by its members." The concept of common good developed through the work of political theorists, moral philosophers, and public economists, including Thomas Aquinas, Niccolò Machiavelli, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, James Madison, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, John Maynard Keynes, John Rawls, and many other thinkers. In contemporary economic theory, a common good is any good which is rivalrous yet non-excludable, while the common good, by contrast, arises in the subfield of welfare economics and refers to the outcome of a social welfare function. Such a social welfare function, in turn, would be rooted in a moral theory of the good. Social choice theory aims to understand processes by which the common good may or may not be realized in societies through the study of collective decision rules. And public choice theory applies microeconomic methodology to the study of political science in order to explain how private interests affect political activities and outcomes.
In most contexts, the concept of good denotes the conduct that should be preferred when posed with a choice between possible actions. Good is generally considered to be the opposite of evil, and is of interest in the study of morality, ethics, religion and philosophy. The specific meaning and etymology of the term and its associated translations among ancient and contemporary languages show substantial variation in its inflection and meaning depending on circumstances of place, history, religious, or philosophical context.
Entitlement theory is a theory of distributive justice and private property created by Robert Nozick in chapters 7 and 8 of his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia. The theory is Nozick's attempt to describe "justice in holdings" —or what can be said about and done with the property people own when viewed from a principle of justice.
Global justice is an issue in political philosophy arising from the concern about unfairness. It is sometimes understood as a form of internationalism.
"Instrumental" and "value rationality" are terms scholars use to identify two ways human reason when correlating group behaviour to maintain social life. Instrumental rationality recognizes means that "work" efficiently to achieve ends. Value rationality recognizes ends that are "right," legitimate in themselves.
Justice in economics is a subcategory of welfare economics with models frequently representing the ethical-social requirements of a given theory, whether "in the large", as of a just social order, or "in the small", as in the equity of "how institutions distribute specific benefits and burdens". That theory may or may not elicit acceptance. In the Journal of Economic Literature classification codes 'justice' is scrolled to at JEL: D63, wedged on the same line between 'Equity' and 'Inequality' along with 'Other Normative Criteria and Measurement'. Categories above and below the line are Externalities and Altruism.
Desert in philosophy is the condition of being deserving of something, whether good or bad.
The social norm of reciprocity is the expectation that people will respond to each other in similar ways—responding to gifts and kindnesses from others with similar benevolence of their own, and responding to harmful, hurtful acts from others with either indifference or some form of retaliation. Such norms can be crude and mechanical, such as a literal reading of the eye-for-an-eye rule lex talionis, or they can be complex and sophisticated, such as a subtle understanding of how anonymous donations to an international organization can be a form of reciprocity for the receipt of very personal benefits, such as the love of a parent.
Justice and the market is an ethical perspective based upon the allocation of scarce resources within a society. The allocation of resources depends upon governmental policies and the societal attitudes of the individuals who exist within the society. Personal perspectives are based upon ones circle of moral concern or those who the individual deems worthy of moral consideration.
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