Justice Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Martin Luther King Jr. What is Justice • Moral principle that determines what is just, equitable, and morally right based on ethical, political, environmental, and religious beliefs and values. – Just: guided by truth, reason, and fairness • Promoting welfare, virtue, and freedom • Keeping intact the foundations of our democracy including upholding the law • Securing natural rights • According to Merriam Webster Justice is the use of law and being fair Sandel’s Theories of Justice Michael Sandel is a professor of history and philosophy at Harvard University. He is one of the most prominent thinkers and writers on the idea of justice today. Justice Maximizing Welfare Promoting Virtue Respecting Freedom Maximizing Welfare • Improving standard of living for society as a whole • Bringing the “greatest happiness for the greatest number” of people = UTILITARIAN • This means that a persons theory of justice is based on promoting prosperity or spurring economic growth, to seek the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. • Examples: Social Security, healthcare (Medicare and Medicaid), public schools, criminal justice system with prisons Respecting Freedom • This means that you have respect for individual rights and universal human rights. E.g. the Bill of Rights – Emphasis on respect for individual rights • Laissez-faire camp (free-market libertarians) – Policies that respect voluntary choices so minimal government intervention in individual lives and choices. • Fairness camp (egalitarian theorists) – Policies that give everyone a fair chance at success so government passes laws that ensure everyone has equal opportunity. Promoting Virtue • This means that you look at justice by affirming certain virtues and conceptions of the ‘good life’. • These virtues must be defined by society by drawing from moral or religious ideals. “A just society affirms certain virtues” – Policies and laws are made based on those virtues. Other Philosophers • Aristotle - justice means giving people what they deserve. • John Rawls – a fair society respects each person’s freedom to decide what is virtue. • Justice involves REAL issues that deal with the equality and fair treatment of humanity and the environment. • Justice also involves the laws in a country or nation, and the arrangement of how a government will protect it’s values and maintain order while preserving the rights of the people. Essential Questions: • How is justice defined? • Can a free society ensure both justice and liberty? • Should justice be our first priority?