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Unformatted text preview: r outside of the dichotomies valid for things; the a prior and the a posteriori, activity and passivity. SLHS Value File Justice Bad
Justice can be defined neither by recourse to current values nor a priori principles
Robert P. Burns, Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW , Fall 1988 / Winter 1989, p. 186 M. SANDEL, LIBERALISM AND THE LIMITS OF JUSTICE 17 (1982). [I]f the principles of justice are derived from the values or conceptions of the good current in the society, there is no assurance that the critical standpoint they provide is any more valid than the conceptions they would regulate, since, as a product of those values, justice would be subject to the same contingencies. The alternative would seem a standard somehow external to the values and interests prevailing in society. But if our experience were disqualified entirely as the source of such principles, the alternative would seem to be reliance on a priori assumptions whose credentials would appear equally suspect, although for opposite reasons. Where the first would be arbitrary because contingent, the second would be arbitrary because groundless. Where justice derives from existing values, the standards of appraisal blur with the objects of appraisal and there is no sure way of picking out the one from the other. Where justice is given by a priori principles, there is no sure way of connecting them up. JUSTICE IS BEYOND ALL THEORIZING Justice exists in the primal relationship between the self and the other. Emmanuel Levinas, French-Lithuanian Ethical Philosopher, TOTALITY AND INFINITY, 1988, p. 89. We are therefore radically opposed to Heidegger who subordinates the relation with the Other to ontology (which, moreover, he determines as though the relation with the interlocutor and the master could be reduced to it) rather that seeing in justice and injustice a primordial access to the Other beyond all ontology. 2. NO THEORY OF JUSTICE IS POSSIBLE Justice must be a prior commitment to the other...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13