Example Of Essay On Justice As Fairness

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Law, Justice, Supreme Court, Society, People, Property, Commerce, Business

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/17

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Introduction

The concept of justice is very broad and often elicits many discussions on what it really means and how human actions can be classified as either just or unjust. The complexity of the term justice arises from its definitional problem. People tend to have subjective as opposed to general ways of defining justice such that they end up viewing it from the specific conditions or situations they are in. Justice is therefore differently viewed in various fields and cultures. Early philosophers have also contributed to this debate by offering philosophical explanations to different definitions of justice. This paper will look into two of the most famous perspectives on justice; which are the concepts of fairness and that of property rights.

This is the definition of justice that is viewed as being most practical and ideal for any given society. The people who view justice from the fairness perspective base their arguments on the theory of justice postulated by John Rawls. According to him, justice can be equaled to fairness that occurs when everyone is afforded a chance to get societal goods. In this understanding of justice, human actions should not be based on individual bias but rather on ignorance. By applying ignorance, the aspect of self-bias that leads to unfairness is dealt with. Justice in this case is constructed by a society with people who are equal and free (Swift 2013, p. 156) .The people in this case are organized in such a way that they cooperate for the general well-being of the society. To this end, the freedom and the “equalness” that the society operates in are the basic concepts of justice. Justice in this kind of society can further be highlighted through two important concepts.
The first concept is that of equal opportunity and that brings into play the aspects of freedom of choice and circumstances that people find themselves in. According to the equal opportunity principle, an action can be viewed as just if only the inequalities experienced come as a result of the personal decisions that one made. Factors such as circumstances people find themselves in therefore results into injustice. Justice on the other hand only occurs when the people who are already equal in the society are given equal and fair opportunities (Swift 2013, p 158). A good example that people who view justice from the fairness perspective give is that of two people with the aspirations of one day going to Mars. Justice in this case is allowing the one with the academic qualifications to go while at the same time allowing another person who has the aspiration but whose circumstances did not allow him to get the required academic qualifications.
The other concept in this understanding of justice is the principle of difference. Here, justice is achieved in a society that takes into consideration the poorest people in the society and assuring them of achievement of a certain way of life. To this end efforts are made such that a minimum wage limit is set, a kind of wage that would allow individuals to live an acceptable way of life that meets their general needs (Swift 2013, p 160).

Justice as Property rights

Another group of people view justice from a position that differs with the fairness approach discussed above and rather focus on the individuality of justice. I view this approach to be faulty and not considerate of the different circumstances that people find themselves in. This is the group that believes justice to be about dealing with what individuals are entitled to as opposed to coming up with general concepts to be applied on everyone. Justice in this case is defined in terms of the goods that the person possesses such that justice is seen where a person has certain goods entitled to him and obtained justly by either transfer of acquisition. (Wolff 1991, p 68) The philosophical basis of understanding justice from this perspective is based on the theories made famous by Robert Nozick. He views distributive justice as the way that any just society should lead while shunning any kind of redistribution of personal property without the owner’s consent that equals to theft.
The people with this kind of notion on justice are often referred to as the libertarians whose basic argument is based on two issues; self-ownership and property ownership. The first aspect entails the rights that every individual in the society has to being given equal opportunity to be the owner of the self. Using this kind of ownership, everyone in the society is allowed to act within their liberty and their actions are respected by other members of the society. In a just society therefore, one has the liberty of ownership and especially owning and maintenance of ownership of property. The ideal society therefore is one where the state accords freedom to its people. The freedom guarantees them the ability to get the goods that they desire with the society not placing any regulative measures on individual ownership of goods. (Wolff, 1991, p 70) This position is not practical since such a position would lead to anarchy in the society.
After justice is achieved by allowing property rights to individuals, the society has a role to play in ensuring that this kind of justice is maintained. To this end the libertarians call for the setting up of institutions that prevent people from intruding into the property of others. This kind of protection is however based on the nature of the means through which a person came into ownership of the property. If the means that the person used to get their hands on the goods are not perceived to be just by the societal setup, the goods or property has to be taken away and given back to the rightful and just owner.

Conclusion

The concept of justice therefore as seen from the two perspectives reveals the differences in perceptions of the two. The fairness approach seeks to develop a general understanding of justice that can be applied to all people irrespective of their societal standing. The libertarian approach however focuses on the individual and takes into consideration the properties that one owns in the society. The fairness approach to justice therefore proves to be the only viable definition that sets up the society to maintain the dignity and rights of every individual.

Works Cited

Swift, Adam. Political Philosophy. Polity, 2013.
Wolff, Jonathan. Robert Nozick: Property, Justice, and the Minimal State. Stanford University Press, 1991.

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