Take a few minutes and think about justice. What is it? How do we know what it is? What makes an act

Take a few minutes and think about justice. What is it? How do we know what it is? What makes an action a just action? What makes a person a just person? What makes a law a just law? Think carefully
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Justice is a famous concept written and debated by authors, scholars, integrated among legal frameworks, and spoken among people from old to young. There is much talk on justice in the contemporary world, including fighting just wars, justice against terrorists, living in a just world. Some feel that justice involves punishing the wrongdoers for achieving fairness or a determinant of what is wrong or right. I argue that justice is what we want it to be, including getting what we deserve: both good and bad irrespective of whether we like the outcomes. Justice is what we want it to be due to the diverse personal moral fortitude, lack of a universal definition of justice, and the continued ill description and confusion of justice with other virtues and ideas. Primarily, many philosophers have diverse definitions of justice. According to Plato, justice is a moral and political virtue that helps establish rational order (LeBar, 2020): Aristotle argues that justice describes what is lawful and fair, including equitable distribution, correction, and punishment of what is inequitable: Hobbes argues that justice is an “artificial virtue necessary in society and a function of the social contract.” (LeBar, 2020). These philosophers describe justice as a moral and political virtue that guides what is right, wrong, and fair (Pomerleau, 2012). However, Aristotle acknowledges justice involves getting what one deserves, both good (equitable distribution) and bad (correction and punishment).

The definitions feel subjective as what is right? Wrong? Fair? According to whom? A primary confusion of justice is seen with terms such as fairness, equality, and equating justice to getting what one deserves with a negative connotation. For instance, according to Rawls, a just person is “free and equal, morally autonomous, rational agents, who are not necessarily egoists.” the use of ‘egoistic’ (Pomerleau, 2012) seems farfetched when defining a just person. Morals and ethics are relative; what one finds wrong could be right to someone. For instance, people will avenge or revenge-seeking justice for an injustice done. This may include stealing, violence, or murder for closure or retribution for another person or oneself. The perpetrator feels stealing or violence on another person who may have caused harm to them is justice and right. However, someone else will condemn the act as morally wrong and legally unjust. These variations and relativeness thus make a just person or a just law subjective.


LeBar, M. (2020). Justice as a Virtue. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justice-virtue/#JusVirSoc.

Pomerleau, W. P. (2012). Western Theories of Justice. Internet Encycopedia of Philosophy, https://iep.utm.edu/justwest/.



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