Related Ideas

Review these ideas and then go back to the main thread.

Sidgwick remarks that our political argument is filled with claims about justice and injustice. One of the reasons for the number of such claims is that claims concerning justice seem to take precedence over others.

Consider some of the different kinds of claims that are made in political argument:


  • claims about what is traditional
  • claims about what is economical
  • claims about what is productive
  • claims about what is efficient
  • claims about what is expedient
  • claims about what is prudent
  • claims about what is good or beneficial (including what is morally good)

All of these claims are important and carry weight, but claims of justice seem to carry more weight or weight of a different kind. In many cases (all?) they seem to be able to trump other kinds of claims. Claims about what is good or beneficial may be quite strong, including claims about what is morally good; but claims of justice, especially when put in the form of claims about rights, are often able to trump other moral claims.

As a result of their greater weight, or weight of a different kind, claims of justice or injustice are powerful political weapons.