Beliefs About Justice

/ 11 December 2012

Each day for the Ethics class I’ve been in this semester we’ve had a “question of the day” to respond to. These were normally based on readings for the day (and hence I never posted them here), but this final one was preparation for our final integrative discussion. In fact, after today’s class there is just one more class period for review before next Monday’s final exam. For this assignment we first listed two beliefs about the content of justice that were confirmed or strengthened through the readings and discussions in this course:

Beliefs Confirmed or Strengthened through the Course

  1. It is just that inequalities exist only if everyone can still benefit prosperously in the economic and social system
  2. It is just that governments provide a floor under which their citizens cannot fall which sustains the values of life in that country

The second part of the assignment was to list two beliefs about the content of justice that we are not so sure of anymore after doing the readings and participating in the discussions for this course and to explain one of those in depth:

Beliefs I’m not so Sure of Anymore through the Course

  1. It is just that there are roles set aside for certain people (gender roles, white versus blue collar jobs, etc.) that determine behavior
  2. It is relatively just to have a single notion of justice that applies to everyone and/or everything: Before taking this course to the extent that I considered the issue of justice at all I assumed it was a clean-cut thing. I’ve changed my thinking here because the readings all showed how completely that isn’t the case in the real world. Though it is Walzer’s book that truly illustrates how wrong this belief was each reading helped change my view. Even when Rawls and Nozick laid out single sets of principles their separate methods both made clear how one cannot use the same principles for every form of every good. In similar ways Okin and the wider discussion of Walzer’s assumptions showed just how completely different groups of people, countries, cultures, etc., will view justice differently and thus no single set of multiple principles can even fit the mold of every community.