Presentation on theme: "Theories of Justice Justice as a virtue Distributive justice"— Presentation transcript:
1 Theories of Justice Justice as a virtue Distributive justice UtilitarianismJustice as fairness (Rawls)Entitlement theory of justice (Nozick)
2 Justice as a virtue Individual trait Social justice Justice and ethics Michael Slote, Justice as a Virtue, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,Individual traitSocial justice“the first virtue of institutions” (John Rawls)Justice and ethicsNot all ethical questions are questions of justiceJustice is a virtue that relates to matters of goods, property and distribution
3 Justice and reason Plato Aristotle Rationalism Virtue ethical conception of justiceAristotleMeritocratic conception of social justiceRationalismPlato and Aristotle conceptualize justice as moral reasoning
4 Justice and benevolence Moral sentimentalismFrancis Hutcheson (1694 –1746)David Hume ( )Natural motivesBenevolence, curiosity, prudenceArtificial virtuesJustice, law-abidingness, fidelity to promises, modestyBeing virtuous depends on capacity for sympathyJustice=respect for propertyPotential for conflict betweenUniversal/impartial benevolenceandJustice and moral obligation
5 Justice without morality Social contract theoryHobbes, Locke, RousseauUtilitarianismConsequentialismOpposed to deontological arguments about goodness of motives determining the moral status of an actionQuestioning the importance of justiceJS Mill: justice derives from human tendencies to retaliate and to empathize
6 Distributive justice Strict egalitarianism Equality of outcomeIndices for measuring value of goodsTime frames for achieving pattern of distributionPreservation of patternEquality of opportunityMeritocratic/desert-based justiceNeeds-basedMarx: ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’Contribution-basedSocial Darwinism
7 Utilitarianism Teleological theory of ethics Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics (1907)18/19th century, evolved from enlightenment project, classic liberalismIndividualist philosophy, but utilitarianism explicitly proposes a moral philosophy that serves to evaluate social arrangementsTeleological theory of ethicsTwo main concepts of ethicsThe right and the goodThe good defined independently from the rightJudgments of valueThe right defined as that which maximizes the good
8 Human nature and social welfare Principles for society are derived from principles for individualsIndividual strives to realize his own interests, his own greatest goodHomo economicusHappiness (Bentham)Balancing desiresPrinciple of utilitySociety aims to advance the welfare of the groupBalancing desires, satisfactions and dissatisfactions of membersPrinciple of social utilityUtilitarians are no egoists; i.e. someone else can be happier than oneself, as long as joint happiness does not decrease
9 Utilitarian justiceAny policy or institution which produces a net gain in terms of utility or pleasure for society, is considered justJust is what benefits more than it disadvantagesUtilitarian theory of justice is indifferent to the distribution of satisfactions among individualsStriving for maximum social fulfilmentNet balance principle; no requirement of equality
10 Justice as fairness John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (1971) Justice as “the first virtue of social institutions”Subject of justice:The basic structure of societyConcerning general rules, which are to be permanentThe basis for deciding individual cases (of allocation) consistentlyJustice as fairness‘Principles of justice are agreed to in an initial situation that is fair’Rules decided by members who are on equal termsRules are to apply for indefinite futureRules applying to every member alikeRules decided upon in the absence of a dominant faction
11 The Original Position Rawlsian thought experiment ‘The original position is defined in such a way that it is a status quo in which any agreements reached are fair. It is a state of affairs in which the parties are equally represented as moral persons and the outcome is not conditioned by arbitrary contingencies or the relative balance of social forces. Thus justice as fairness is able to use the idea of pure procedural justice from the beginning.’ (120)Imperfect procedural justice: e.g. criminal trialPure procedural justice: e.g. gambling‘The idea of the original position is to set up a fair procedure so that any principles agreed to will be just.’ (136)Rawls’ original position is a moralist’s device to propose universal principles of justice for a world of egoistsOP renders egoists morally equal when deciding upon a just social arrangementEgoism is restricted by ignorance
12 The Veil of Ignorance‘the parties are situated behind a veil of ignorance. They do not know how the various alternatives will affect their own particular case and they are obliged to evaluate principles solely on the basis of general considerations.’No knowledge of own status, social background, talents, psychological make-up, economic, social circumstances, culture, civilization, etc.‘The veil of ignorance makes possible a unanimous choice of a particular conception of justice.’ (140)Initial choice:Equal liberty for all (incl. equality of opportunity)First Principle of JusticeEqual distribution of income and wealthWhy not allowing for inequalities that ‘work to make everyone better off’ (Pareto-optimality)?
13 The Difference Principle Inequality is unjustUnless necessary to improve the position of those who are worst-offRawlsian justice is egalitarian, but not fundamentally rejecting inequalitiesJust inequalities: incentivesInequality is unjust even if it leaves the worst-off in the same position as before and everyone else better offWeaker principle: inequality unjust if its removal or reduction would improve position of weakest in societyUnique concern with the weakest members of society!
14 Entitlement Theory of Justice Robert NozickDistributive Justice (1973)Anarchy, State and Utopia (1974)Historical vs. current time-slice principles of justiceEntitlement theory is historicalJustice of a distribution depends on how it came aboutOriginal acquisition of holdingsTransfer of holdingsRectification of injustice in holdings
15 Liberty and justiceUtilitarianism and Rawlsian theory are all ahistorical, current time-slice principles of justiceMarxism has a historical elementClaims that workers deserve ‘the product and full fruit of their labor’ (51)Entitlement based on past history, valuing work vs. ownership‘Must the look of justice reside in a resulting pattern rather than in the underlying generating principles?’ (55)Liberty upsets patternsThose who work overtime because their needs are material are punished (taxed) while those who do not because their needs are immaterial are not‘Patterned principles of distributive justice necessitate redistributive activities. The likelihood is small that any actual freely arrived at set of holdings fits a given pattern; and the likelihood is nil that it will continue to fit the pattern as people exchange and give.’ (65)
16 Entitlement and Welfare Understood taxation (beyond what is required for minimal state) as stealing, and as akin to forced labourUsed by New Right (Reagan), but less so by Thatcherism, to justify erosion of welfare stateRemaining sources of welfare/taxationBasic taxation for running minimal stateCompensation for acquisition of natural resourcesRectification of historical injustices (illegitimate appropriations)Inheritance tax for second-generation transfers
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