Lecture on Justice Justice and Injustice this question has preoccupied philosophers for millennia. Three ways to talk about justice: Retributive Justice-principles that govern punishment Compensatory Justice-principles that govern compensation to victims Distributive Justice-principles that govern the distribution of benefits and burdens We will concern ourselves with Distributive Justice. Fairness, Equality, Desert, or Rights. Justice as Fairness: something is Unjust when it fails to treat everyone Fairly. we think it is unjust when pampered Hollywood celebrities buy their way out of spending time in jail when the same offense would put us ordinary folks away for months or even years. Justice as Equality: In a just society Everyone is treated Equally. We thus consider it such an Injustice when someone gets special treatment imply because they are popular or beautiful or rich. We ask ourselves: What has that person done to merit special treatment? This brings us to the third type of idea that comes up when discussing distributive Justice, namely, Desert: Justice as Desert: Justice requires that people get what they deserve. in a Just world, the guilty are put away and the innocent are left alone. We like to believe that if you work hard, pay your taxes, and follow the law, then you should be rewarded with a good job, a nice house, and a decent existence where you can pursue the American Dream as your heart desires. If you are lazy, criminal, and ignorant, then you deserve Nothing! Justice and Rights: Someone is treated Unjustly when their moral rights are violated. What one’s moral rights are. We all have a moral right to life and liberty. John Locke argued that we have natural rights to life, liberty, and property. In US, we have a legal right to free speech, a right to privacy, a right to vote, and so on. Other moral rights, such as our right not to be harmed by consumer products, not to be harmed by headache medicine. So, when one of my rights is violated, or when one of these rights is not respected or is ignored, we tend to think of the situation as Unjust. These different ideas about Justice lead philosophers to argue that the essence, or nature, of Justice is proper distribution. Thus, we call Justice: Distributive Justice.
Distributive Justice: concerns the proper distribution of social benefits and burdens. The ideas of Fairness, Equality, Desert, and Rights correspond certain Principles of Distribution. Principles of Distribution: Fairness and Equality: each member of the society is entitled to an equal share of the benefits; Desert: each member is entitled to benefits in proportion to his/her efforts, merits, or social contribution; Rights: each member of the society is entitled to those necessities that fulfill his/her needs.