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Chapter 4: What Makes Society Just?. Introduction. Political philosophy – concerned with justification of governmental authority to rule and the nature of government of the state Social philosophy – concerned with who gets what and how

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Chapter 4: What Makes Society Just?

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  • Political philosophy – concerned with justification of governmental authority to rule and the nature of government of the state
  • Social philosophy – concerned with who gets what and how
  • Anarchism – the position that governments are by nature immoral and should not be established
  • Democracy – rule by the people
types of justice
Types of Justice
  • Compensatory justice – provides benefits to persons who have suffered undeserved hardships or have been denied benefits they deserved
  • Retributive justice – placing burdens on people who have enjoyed benefits they did not deserve or who are guilty of failing to fulfill their responsibilities
  • Distributive justice – fair distribution of both burdens and benefits to persons in situations of conflict of interest and relative scarcity
  • Egalitarians – argue that all persons should share equally in the distribution of all benefits and burdens
god and justice
God and Justice
  • Theocracy – theory that only God has the right to rule
  • Theocracy is found in ancient Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • Allah – God of Islam
  • Muhammad (570 – 632) was a prophet of Allah
  • Muslim – one who submits to the will of Allah
  • Five pillars of Islam –
    • Witnessing that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his Apostle
    • Mandatory prayers (salat)
    • Mandatory alms (zakat)
    • Fasting during month of Ramadan
    • Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj)
  • Sunni and Shi’l sects of Islam agree that since God does not rule human society directly, humans must devise governments that strive to realize divine ideal of justice
  • The Sunni believe that a caliph (successor to the Prophet) should be selected to provide political and military leadership
islam and democracy khaled abou el fadl
Islam and DemocracyKhaled Abou El Fadl
  • Argues for the compatibility of Islamic traditions and democracy
  • Democracy is the most effective form of government that is compatible with Islam
  • God is still sovereign but allows men to have some decision making power
  • The Shari’ah, which is “God’s way,” is a symbolic construct of the perfection that is not achievable by humans
capitalism and exploitation
Capitalism and Exploitation
  • Laissez-faire capitalism – economic philosophy of a free competitive market. Proposed by Adam Smith (1723-90)
  • John Locke (1632-1704) argued for the concept of private property
  • Socialism – all citizens own the means of production and there is rational planning of economic investment and growth. Proposed by Karl Marx (1818-83) and Friedrich Engels (1820-95)
  • Communism – ideally, equality of individuals who share universal prosperity without class distinctions or the need for a government
  • Totalitarian states – socialist, one-party states that were centrally planned and unsuccessful
manifesto of the communist party karl marx and friedrich engels
Manifesto of the Communist PartyKarl Marx and Friedrich Engels
  • Views the bourgeois society as essentially exploitive
  • Encourages the proletariat to revolt
  • Argues for the socialist ideals of the Communist party in order to bring equality
the original position
The Original Position
  • What is the role of justice in society?
  • Material principle of justice – particular trait that is used as a basis for distributing benefits and burdens
  • Formal principle of justice – requires that benefits and burdens be distributed fairly according to relevant differences and similarities
  • What is relevant or fair?
a theory of justice john rawls
A Theory of JusticeJohn Rawls
  • Justice is the first virtue of social institutions
  • Primary subject of justice is the way that major social institutions distribute fundamental rights and duties and determine the division of advantages from social cooperation
  • Justice as fairness
a theory of justice john rawls12
A Theory of JusticeJohn Rawls
  • Two principles of justice:
    • Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others
    • Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and (b) attached to positions and offices open to all
our obligation to the state
Our Obligation to the State
  • Social contract theory – the authority of government derives from a voluntary agreement among all people to obey the laws passed by a government they collectively select
  • Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) wrote about the need for a “sword of sovereignty” to secure peace and order
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) argued that human nature is basically good, but evil arises with society
crito plato
  • Crito tries to convince Socrates to escape from prison after he has been condemned to death
  • Despite Socrates’ innocence and disagreement with the sate, he chooses to obey the law and therefore accept his unjust punishment of death
civil disobedience
Civil Disobedience
  • Is disobeying the law ever morally justified?
  • Why do we need laws?
  • Does the right of civil disobedience undermine the law?
  • Henry David Thoreau used civil disobedience in America to oppose slavery
letter from birmingham jail martin luther king jr
Letter from Birmingham JailMartin Luther King, Jr.
  • Written while serving a sentence for civil disobedience
  • Justifies the use of nonviolent civil disobedience
  • “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
  • Just law – man-made code that fits within the moral law of God
  • Unjust law – code that is out of harmony with moral law
sovereignty and justice an indigenist s viewpoint
Sovereignty and Justice: An Indigenist’s Viewpoint
  • The existence of oppression is the sign of an unjust society
  • Oppressors attempt to justify their position morally and legally
perversions of justice ward churchill
Perversions of JusticeWard Churchill
  • Seeks justice for the descendants of the first people to inhabit North America
  • The “Doctrine of Discovery” enabled European states to make formal treaties with native nations and therefore obtain property from them
  • The “Norman Yoke” proposed that land rights were dependent upon the extent to which one would develop the land
perversions of justice ward churchill19
Perversions of JusticeWard Churchill
  • “Marshall Doctrine” illegitimately justified U.S. pursuit of territory acquisition from the Native Americans
  • Churchill claims that the U.S. does not have any legitimate right to at least half of the land that it now claims because it was unjustly taken from the Native Americans
  • Marshall Doctrine should be reversed in U.S. and in the world