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Chapter 10 – Justice and Equality. What is justice?. What is justice : generally similar to fairness. Justice has been defined as treatment in accordance with desert . Justice.

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Chapter 10 – Justice and Equality

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Chapter 10 justice and equality l.jpg

Chapter 10 – Justice and Equality

What is justice?


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  • What is justice : generally similar to fairness.

  • Justice has been defined as treatment in accordance with desert.


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Justice

1.Justice has to do with how human beings treat each other. Generally, if someone is born with a disease, we do not claim they have been treated unjustly.

2.Justice is past looking.


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Justice

3.Justice is individualistic. Collectivism is generally considered unethical. I can’t collect your test grades, average them out and give everyone the same grade because some students deserve higher grades and some students deserve lower grades. Collectivist thinking can be a result of either hasty or sweeping generalizations. Any time we lump a group of people together and try to make judgments about them. The poor, the rich, African Americans, Hispanics, women, men, and so on. There are individual differences within groups. Some people are skilled and some are unskilled. Some may be lazy and some may be hardworking, and so forth. After World War II people tended to associate Germans with Nazi’s but obviously all German’s were not Nazi’s so this was to label some people unfairly.Is collectivism ever justified? Insurance rates? Unjust, but the only way to make it just would involve a lot of work that would raise rates for everyone.

4.Comparative justice – was Martha Stewart treated more harshly because she was a women?


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Justice

  • Justice as equal treatment: Everyone should be treated equally. What does this mean? Students with good home lives vs. those with terrible home lives. Those with no breakfast vs. those with breakfast. Those that catch on quickly vs. those that don’t. Utilitarian method might say to spend more time with smart students. If a special needs child is placed in a separate class is the child being treated equally? It is hard to figure out in small cases? How in the world would you do it in society?


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Justice

  • Two people get 90% on a paper. They are numerically identical but qualitatively different. Equal treatment: We don’t take an innocent and a guilty person and tell them to split a 10 year sentence because the innocent person does not deserve to serve jail time. So nobody should get special treatment. But what about the president with body guards?


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Justice and Discrimination

  • What does it mean to discriminate?

  • Discrimination originally meant to choose

  • Shouldn’t choose for irrelevant reasons. Now we have to decide what is relevant and what is not. If a teacher gives a higher grade to a student because he/she is sexually attractive, then that is not just, because sexual attractiveness is irrelevant to what grade a student should get.


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Discrimination

  • What about an employee who only takes a bath twice a year?

  •  What about inviting people to a party? People discriminate all of the time. But is it an injustice?

  •  Is it an injustice if you are an employer and required by law not to discriminate based on race or gender? Some employers think it is discrimination because it is their money and they should have the right to hire whoever they want.

  •  Some features which we can’t control are sometimes relevant. Maybe a bouncer at a bar should be strong, a football player needs to be big and so forth. What about overweight bartenders? What about hiring a few women that can do a job but distract the men? Is it just to let them go?


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Discrimination

  • What about gay teachers? Some say that gay teachers will prey on children but evidence does not back that up. There is a larger proportion of heterosexual teachers who prey on girls than of homosexual teachers that prey on boys. Should we get rid of all male teachers? If someone can’t stand the thought of a gay teacher than should the gay teacher not be allowed to teach or should the person learn to stand it. Or not discriminate even if they can’t stand it.

  • Female reporters are allowed into male locker rooms.

  • Do minority groups deserve preferences because other members of their group have been discriminated against?

  • Do people in minority groups deserve preference because they have suffered from past discrimination? 

  • Problem with discrimination: it is hard to get out of it.


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Criteria of Desert

  • Egalitarianism (page 329) -

  • Equality of opportunity – What does equality of opportunity mean? Can we give everyone an equal opportunity.

  • Effort – Is each according to their effort just? How do we know if someone is really trying as hard as they could? What if their project is a failure? Should they be rewarded as much as a person that has a successful project? What about grades? Should someone that tries really hard but fails every test get an ‘A’ for effort? Do employers care about effort?

  • Need – page 335

  • Achievement – does improvement count? Generally, is the student able to master the material?


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Justice

  • Justice and impartiality – stalkers, when can you shoot at someone?

  • The veil of ignorance – distributive justice – Rawls


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Rawls

  • Rawls argues that he has a theory wherein he can provide the framework for a just society. In A Theory of Justice, he claims a just society can be established by a unanimous consensus of players, because each player is to vote for the framework of their society behind a veil of ignorance. According to Rawls, each and every single rational person will use a maximin approach with regard to their decision-making strategies. The maximin rule states that all rational individuals will always avoid the worst possible outcome if there is a possibility of grave danger. Rawls claims this strategy would not be employed for every decision an individual would make but that it would certainly apply when the worst possible outcome is a lifetime of abject poverty, death, or a dire situation for future generations of your family. If we did not know what our lot in life would be behind the hypothetical veil of ignorance, we would be just to everyone (because we could be anyone) – the theory is that I would be in favor of women’s rights, etc...because I wouldn’t know if I would be a women or not. I would be in favor of protecting the disadvantaged because I might be the disadvantaged. Rawls calls his justice distributive justice.


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Nozick

  • Contrast with Nozick:

  • Nozick gives a very famous (infamous?)Wilt Chamberlain example to show that freedom of transfer makes equality, as well as any end-state theories, impossible to achieve.

  • “Wilt Chamberlain is greatly in demand by basketball teams, being a great gate attraction...He signs the following sort of contract with a team: In each home game, twenty-five cents from the price of each ticket of admission goes to him...The season starts, and people cheerfully attend his team’s games; they buy their tickets, each time dropping a separate twenty five cents of their admission price into a special box with Chamberlain’s name on it...Let us suppose that in one season one million persons attend his home games, and Wilt Chamberlain ends up with $250,000, a much larger sum than the average income and larger even than anyone else has. Is he entitled to this income? Is this new distribution D2, unjust?”


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Nozick

  • Nozick argues that the only way to enforce D1 is to forbid voluntary exchanges. I should also mention Nozick’s argument about side constraints. He writes, “...the stronger the force of an end-state maximizing view, the more powerful must be the root idea capable of resisting it that underlies the existence of moral side constraints.” He points out that each of us are distinct individuals that are not resources for others. If anyone wishes to dispute this particular side constraint then they must choose from three alternatives. (1) he must reject all side constraints; (2) he must produce a different explanation of why there are moral side constraints rather than simply a goal-directed maximizing structure, an explanation that doesn’t itself entail the libertarian side constraint; or (3) he must accept the strongly put root idea about the separateness of individuals and yet claim that initiating aggression against another is compatible with this root idea.


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Nozick and Rawls

  • There are criticisms of argument that voluntary exchange is always moral and only voluntary exchange is more. Some critics also question his use of the term voluntary because he argues that force and fraud are prohibited but exploitation and misunderstood contracts are ok.

  • Nozick also confronts Rawls argument that we are all just winners or losers of some natural lottery. Rawls has argued that talent is undeserved, thus why should people that win the natural lottery fare better than those that don’t? Rawls even goes on to say that people that cultivate their talents have probably learned to cultivate them through some sort of natural lottery (good parents, natural abilities, and so forth.)


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Nozick and Rawls

  • Nozick disagrees with Rawls. He writes:

  • “This line of argument can succeed in blocking the introduction of a person’s autonomous choice and actions (and their results) only by attributing everything noteworthy about the person to certain sorts of ‘external’ factors. So denigrating a person’s autonomy and prime responsibility for his actions is a risky line to take for a theory that otherwise wishes to buttress the dignity and self – respect of autonomous beings.”


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