Ariadne's Thread on Justice
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Sidgwick

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Dee

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Fred

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Introduction

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Professor Sidgwick Speaking
Good morning! Good morning, indeed. Welcome back. Welcome back.

Our subject for these discussions is a very important question. It is one of the oldest questions in philosophy. Plato asked it in his Republic and we are still asking it today. And well we should.

What is Justice?

If we could answer that question, we could all go home. But I wonder if we can answer it?

Whatever justice is, it would seem to be at the heart of some of our most important political conflicts. We make claims about justice all the time in our political arguments. It seems to be a stronger claim than simply saying that something is beneficial. Perhaps even stronger than saying that something is morally good. That might lead us to wonder what the relationship is between the good and the just? Perhaps we'll get to that question later.

The concept of justice also seems to be rather plastic, a sort of Swiss army knife with lots of uses in moral and political arguments. Think of all the things we call just:

 
  • Just societies
  • Just laws
  • Just institutions
  • Just acts
  • Just decisions
  • Just distributions of things
  • Just punishment
  • Just men and women
  • Just wars

I've asked Dee and Fred to think about some of the political questions we are asking these days that are concerned with justice.

The whole question involves such enormous variety. How should we begin?


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