Ethics

Phil A301

William Jamison

Notes on Chapter 9 (Justice) in Philosophical Ethics

A Case of Discrimination p. 305 Nuclear Fallout in the Marshall Islands

p. 307 The Nature of Justice

The Meaning of "Justice"

Distributive Justice: benefits and burdens (this chap. won't be concerned with criminal justice).

p. 308 make a connection with characteristics of persons and the morally correct distribution of the burdens and benefits of society.

Comparative Justice: balancing the claims of one individual against the claims of another. Always dealing with a lack of something and our having limited sympathy for others. Would there be problems if we still lived in the garden of Eden?

p. 310 Principles of Justice

The Formal Principle of Justice: Equals must be treated equally, and unequals must be treated unequally. (Aristotle) Does not reject inequality of treatment -- only inequality of treatment for irrelevant reasons. A minimal moral rule.

p. 312 The Libertarian Theory

Fair procedures. Restriction of liberty by threat should only prevent or punish criminal activity.

p. 314 Robert Nozick: "From each as they choose, to each as they are chosen." But more egalitarian or utilitarian conflict with this. How can you tell today who makes the greatest contribution? But libertarian feels, "It is unfortunate, not unfair, if one cannot afford to purchase an item or otherwise obtain legitimate access to it."

Nozick's Theory: justice consists in the operation of just procedures not the production of just outcomes. Government action is justified only when it protects. (*same as Williams).

Robert Nozick: The Entitlement Theory

Should we redistribute? There is no central distribution -- no mom redistributing the pie.

Original acquisition, transfer of holdings, rectification of injustice in holdings.

p. 316 Historical Principles and End-Result Principles: Entitlement theory is historical -- how did it come about? Current time - slice principles, on the other hand, are who has what judged by structural principles but criminals deserve to be punished because of what they did in the past. Patterning: most distributive justice is based on a pattern, but entitlement is not. "From each as they choose, to each as they are chosen." How Liberty Upsets Patterns: p. 317 no patterned principle of justice can be continuously realized without continuous interference in people's lives.

Locke's Theory of Acquisition: labor mixed with object. "enough and as good left in common for others" to insure that the situation of others is not worsened. p. 318 ...theft through taxation.

Critiques of the Libertarian Theory: Types of Procedural Justice: John Rawls 3 forms of procedural justice:

1. perfect -- person that cuts the pizza gets the last slice and gets the largest possible share only if he made every slice the same size.

2. imperfect -- criminals and only criminals punished, but are all trials fair?

3. pure -- lottery. Any result as long as the procedures are fair.

p. 321 Rights-Based Objections to Libertarianism: why limit to economic rights? What about social equality and the right to equal treatment? Why not extend the right to a decent level of education, to health care, and to a decent standard of living? Plus, Nozick assumes all start out as equals but we don't. Pure capitalism is and unreliable mechanism.

Marxist Critiques of Libertarianism: Marx emphasized fair financial return for labor and collective control of distribution as the basic criteria of justice. Also are critical that freedom of choice can be found in systems of private property and capitalist exchange. Capitalist justice is unjust. Labor is not really free to not work for an unfair wage. "The Marxist is not interested in distributive justice in the sense of distributing what is already there in the system, but rather in an entirely new social arrangement involving labor and ownership of property." Nozick would argue that, any diminution of economic choice entailed by contemporary capitalism, such as the choices left to executives at AT&T, would not be unjust if the present system arose by morally legitimate means.

Rawls update: in response to the critics of his Theory of Justice, the book Political Liberalism

attempts to fill in the missing pieces, which he feels are:

1. the idea of justice as fairness as a freestanding view and that of an overlapping consensus as belonging to its account of stability;

2. the distinction between simple pluralism and reasonable pluralism, together with the idea of a reasonable comprehensive doctrine; and

3. a fuller account of the reasonable and the rational worked into the conception of political (as opposed to moral) constructivism, so as to bring out the bases of the principles of right and justice in practical reason.

Alasdair MacIntyre: Rival Justices, Competing Rationalities

p. 336 Section from Whose Justice? Which Rationality?

Susan Moller Okin: The Family: Beyond Justice?

p. 340 Inequalities between the sexes and a critique of Nozick and Rawls.

Not in the 3rd edition:

p. 345 Joel Feinberg: The Presumption in Favor of Equal Treatment: "The burden of proof is on the person who wants to treat people differently from one another...." p. 346 but the principle really requires proof when you want to treat unequal equally as well. p. 347 "Don't confuse an exceptive principle ("Treat all men alike except where there are relevant differences between them") with a presumptive principle ("Treat all men alike until it can be shown that there are relevant differences between them")."

Material Principles of Justice: can't have a lottery for President. What is relevant?

Some possible valid material principles of distributive justice:

1. to each person an equal share

2. to each person according to individual need

3. to each person according to that person's rights

4. to each person according to individual effort

5. to each person according to societal contribution

6. to each person according to merit

7. to each person according to free market exchanges

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