J Soc Sci, 29(2): 183-192 (2011)
The Nature of Justice
Uwaezuoke Precious Obioha Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Olabisi Onabanjo University, P.M.B. 2002, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria Telephone: +234-803-3950-443, E-mail: email@example.com KEYWORDS Rights. Distributive. Equality. Fairness. Difference Principle. Commutative ABSTRACT Since the Renaissance period in history initiated the act of free thinking and independent thought, there have existed and still exist various notions and perspectives over every single subject of human discourse. The concept of justice is a good example. There are shades of opinion and views concerning the nature of justice. Consequent upon this, human relationships and co-existence have become precarious as a result of wrong or inadequate conceptions of justice. This is particularly true, I believe, because justice is a basic imperative for good human relationships and co-habitation. In this paper therefore, I have tried to analyze the various conceptions of justice and the implications of such conceptions to human quest for peaceful co-existence and the full realization of human potentials. At the end I argue that justice as fairness, better than every other conception of justice, provides answers to man’s quest for a global social order requisite for human flourishing any time and any day.
INTRODUCTION The need and the quest for justice in the micro and macro societies and by extension the global world is increasingly becoming inevitable in the wake of all kinds of violence and orchestrated social disorder and break down of law that characterize our world today. Justice cuts across and assumes a high degree of importance in every sphere of human endeavor such that it is a recurrent concept, an ideal in ethics, jurisprudence, governance and every other form of human undertaking that involve human relationships, management and administration. At the intrapersonal and interpersonal levels, it is a cardinal virtue such that with it global peace is guaranteed and without it our world will remain a place of horror and discomfort. As a result of this, the concept of Justice has become real and very topical in contemporary societies. Verily, we do have an insight into the reality of justice whenever somebody cheats us or our group is marginalized in the share and distribution of national resources and properties. However, the concept of justice cuts across national boundaries and assumes a very important place in international politics, that is, politics between and among states. There is something anthropologically and ontologically common to man and objects, creatures and phenomena of the universe. This commonness lies in the fact that all are parts that make up the universe whose origin is a mystery which man is one. The ‘life’ of one part may not
be known by the other, yet each part obeys the rhythm of nature who has judiciously assigned the respective parts their respective purposes, agenda, mission and reasons for existence. The universe’s natural order is never an accident or a coincidence. It is not only teleological, but also a milieu of commitments and avoidances. Each object of nature (both animate and inanimate) desires to herself a breathing place in the natural space, herself being natural too, to fulfill her innate or natural callings, to avoid threats from other objects of nature and exercise the freedom necessary for her existence. Against this background, the history of justice is as old as the history of man. This follows, therefore, that justice is natural to man. Man has never bothered himself with what justice means since it is a natural law. Instead the problematic of natural justice has bordered on its hermeneutics. It borders on justice calculus – what natural justice is and what it is not (Dukor 2003). Although justice has taken the coloration of cultures, philosophies, individuals and schools of thought, still the bottom line of...