Concepts of Justice

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 9.00.06 AMNatural Justice/Natural Law/Natural Rights… all begin in Rome jurisprudence.

Aristotle: Justice is a habit of conduct; Political Justice = partly natural and partly legal. Natural Law = Source of all legality vs. the idea of Legality of Positive Law in which justice is derived from the will of sovereign alone.

Plato’s Gorgias: It is better to suffer than do injustice

Socrates: Justice is concerned with inner life. The just person sets in order his or her inner life.

Spinoza: Justice = Obedience…  Laws are not formulated by reference to justice but to the interest of the State which has a right to its own preservation. As long as it has power, it can do as it likes.


Plato/The Republic – Wisdom= Virtue of Rulers, Justice = Organizing principle of Plato’s ideal state.

Thrasymachus says: Justice is the interest of the stronger. What is best for the protection of the State is justice. For the weak they can only do injustice. They can’t even experience it. Injustice means – disobeying rulers.

Thoreau, Gandhi, MLK Jr: Civil Disobedience toward unjust laws that violate a person’s conscience may have the force of the State behind them but they exert no authority over him or her. The just person is called upon to break them and to submit gladly to the consequences of break them by suffering whatever penalties may be attached to their breach (opposite of Good German).

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