Author Topic: What Is "Justice"?  (Read 5758 times)

GenesisOne

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2009, 03:47:18 pm »

What about the rest of the definition?

"...with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

I had no intent, motive, or whatever you wish to call it, of upsetting you, BROJ, nor did I intend to disrupt the discussion.  So, by definition (as you pointed out earlier for the term "justice"), what I did wasn't trolling.

Once again, please don't make a mountain out of a molehill.  Thank you.  :)

FaustWolf

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2009, 03:53:25 pm »
Anecdotes, anecdotes...in my elementary school, we had this thing called "Field Day" where fifth and sixth grade students from neighboring schools would compete in various athletics. The culminating event was the relay race, where the goal was to get a baton a certain number of laps around this huge school yard before the competing team did the same. Each participant was responsible for a certain stretch of the race course, and passed off the team's baton to the next team member waiting at the end of that stretch. Sort of like the Olympic Torch.

So, the school my school was up against one year had a handicapped student. He could walk but couldn't run -- this was a bit of a damper on that team's chances, but the student still wanted to participate. The solution the schools agreed upon was to make one of our school's runners run his section not once, but three times. He literally had to get to the end of his assigned stretch of the course, turn around and go back to the beginning, and run it again. Obviously my school chose the best runner it had for this task, but we also lost.

Was the infliction of a handicap on a non-handicapped runner a just solution in this case? I'm not quite sure, mostly because there might have been better ways to replicate that one runner's handicap; maybe we could have had a student do his or her section on crutches, for example. In any case, the students in my school were pretty adamant about what they felt was the injustice of making one runner run his section of the course three times.

I like using this anecdote because it has some application to the very serious question of affirmative action, methinks. Or does it?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 03:58:22 pm by FaustWolf »

GenesisOne

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2009, 03:59:25 pm »

Well, Mister Wolf, it sounds like justice here is being defined by their terms, not an impartial set of terms.

Consider the position of the handicapped student.  If the race was to run normally (i.e. everyone ran just the one stretch of track), wouldn't the handicap child call it unfair or unjust?  After all, in ceteris paribus mode, he or she wouldn't have a chance of winning the race at all.

Like I said, justice is never fair.

BROJ

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2009, 04:04:07 pm »

What about the rest of the definition?

"...with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

I had no intent, motive, or whatever you wish to call it, of upsetting you, BROJ, nor did I intend to disrupt the discussion.  So, by definition (as you pointed out earlier for the term "justice"), what I did wasn't trolling.

Once again, please don't make a mountain out of a molehill.  Thank you.  :)
Pfft, whatever... so you did it altruistically; you're still being irrelevent (and a waste of my consideration).

GenesisOne

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2009, 04:20:08 pm »

I appreciate your forthright honesty, BROJ, and I'm sorry if my actions seemed irrelevant.

I'm also sorry if I'm taken as a waste of your consideration. 

Please don't burn a bridge over something this minute.

BROJ

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2009, 04:30:59 pm »

I appreciate your forthright honesty, BROJ, and I'm sorry if my actions seemed irrelevant.

I'm also sorry if I'm taken as a waste of your consideration. 

Please don't burn a bridge over something this minute.
Yeah, it's okay. I just find needless corrections annoying at best.

GenesisOne

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2009, 04:34:08 pm »
Hey, it could've been worse.

For future inquiry, if I were to ever troll, it would most likely look something like this:

Quote from: GenesisTroll
OMG contridict!???!? WUT R U a MORON!!!!1 Get sum ENGLISH classes and COME BACK, yOU NOOB!!!

For field reference only. :lol:



Anyways, back to the topic.

Daniel Krispin

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2009, 05:03:12 pm »
Just to spite J...

Well, firstly, I want to just to ask the question why people are referring the Webster dictionary, as opposed to the OED? It seems to me that the latter is far superior as far as dictionaries go. Anyway, the first thoughts that come to my mind is very much a dictionary, or shall we say rather etymological, definition. It is in the same way that when someone uses the term 'epic' or 'heroic', there are several ways at once in which I take it: there is the colloquial, there is the eytmological (ie. what it originally meant), and also what I myself hold that word entailing.

Later, since I have to run, and if the mood for deeper thoughts strike me, I will consider the latter point of Justice. But for now I think it useful to say that Iustitia is somewhat different than Lex or Fas. And I am not making those words up, though looking at them now they do look silly. They are genuine Latin terms used often enough in antiquity. Iustitia is the more generally sense of what is right. It has a human, moral, implication to it, unlike Lex which is the Law, and Fas, which is almost impossible to tranlate, but might be something along the lines of Righteousness: the Law of the Gods (nb. we used the root of this most ancient word - ancient enough that it is indeclinable in Latin - in nefarious and, I suppose, fastidious.) Anyway, it is important to note, therefore, that from its origin Justice implies not just the administration of Law via the courts, but the more universal sense of what is right for humanity.

Now of course this is rather tangental to the question. That is, not so much what justice means, but what it means to us. The word is a description of a thing, and it is the thing that Lord J was asking about. Nonetheless, I thought it valid because, I think, it some ways we still hold to the same distinctions. When we say things like 'that's not right' or 'that's not just', we are not talking about things as the pertain to the law, neccessarially (since we can speak of an unjust law), nor are we speaking of divine law either (whose rightness has been questioned since ancient times.)

However, the existence of justice does assume the existence of a universal law. That is, if something is unjust, it can only be so if, according to a certain standard, things are amiss. And... I've gotta run, but I'll give this some more thought.

Thought

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2009, 04:13:59 pm »
Justice is one of those things that doesn’t get talked about much, so forgive me if this post is mostly just me teasing out what justice is. It is hard to discuss its place in the world if I don't first have a good grip on what it is.

Quite recently we had an exchange that was driven by justice right here on the compendium. I would refer you to TruthOrDeal's comments in the Frustration Thread:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/Forums/index.php/topic,4445.msg182203.html#msg182203
And also to Lord J’s response:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/Forums/index.php/topic,4445.msg182211.html#msg182211

To sum up a situation, Sajainta posted a wrong that was done to her, ToD posed a response in which physical retribution was wished upon the offending individual, and Josh followed up by stating that calling for physical retribution originates in the same “place” and the original offending action.

I must disagree with Josh in that regard as there is no indication that the original offender hurled the distasteful slur with a motivation of justice in mind. Truth’s reaction, however, did. He perceived a wrong done and wished for that wrong to be righted. That is, in part, a foundation of the concept of justice. ToD wished for the offending individual to get his “just desserts,” to put it deliciously.

Physical retribution for a wrong committed is a very old form of justice. We see it in the Code of Hammurabi and other historical law codes: do X, and Y will be a punishment. Call someone a slut, get kicked in the nuts. However, Josh’s objection highlights a problem with this depiction of justice; not everyone agrees one what constitutes a proper response. If one does “X,” should “Y” occur, and if so, what form should “Y” even take? Truth essentially claimed that kicking the offending in the nuts was a just form of “Y,” while Josh disagreed; he portrayed such violence as unjust.

So justice is an exchange, attempting to make up for a deficit though the adding of a punishment. By hurling an insult, the offender incurred a debt to Sajainta (and, one could argue, to society). Getting kicked in the nuts, under ToD’s perception, is an attempt to pay off that debt. Pain caused, pain received. But note, it was emotional pain caused and proposed physical pain that would have been received. There is a concept of an exchange rate, then, that is part of justice.

This might lead us to suppose that justice is fair, and while it may be in some cases, we generally seem to hold that it is not so in all cases. This point is best illustrated by an extreme: consider a serial killer who tortures in various manners all his victims. He is caught, put to trial, and found guilty. We cannot say that the loss of his life would be an exchange of like values (aka, fair) for the lives of those he killed. If we were generous we might say a life for a life is fair, but a single life for ten people? Hardly. Nor, as a society, do we tolerate such an individual being put through the same experiences that he put his victims through. It would be unjust of us to torture the man as he tortured others.

But what about all those words that can appear before the word “justice?” I am surprised that, given the nature of those present, no one has yet discussed social justice. This ties into the conceptions illustrated above, but takes a more… positive approach. While we often perceive justice as “if you do X, then Y will be the punishment,” but social justice takes the approach of “if you have not done X, then Y should not be the punishment.” Or, in other words, it might be just to restrict the liberties of an individual if they have committed crimes, but it is unjust to restrict the liberties of an individual if they have not committed crimes. If we combine this with the perception that all humans are, at a base level, entitled to the same liberties, we come to the idea that blacks shouldn’t be slaves, that women should have the right to vote, etc.

Social justice, then, causes us to attempt to remove elements from society that are unreasonably oppressing a group. As this includes laws, it helps elucidate the relationship between laws and justice. Justice is not subservient to laws, but it is the other way around; laws exist in the hopes of promoting justice. Thus we can have good laws or unjust laws.

That part of the American pledge of allegiance states that there should be “liberty and justice for all” indicates that this is not merely a wishing for legal equality, but rather that there is an equality more fundamental, something that laws can only hint at because it is so basic we tend to be unaware of its existence.

Returning to TruthorDeal, I would suppose that his reaction was not an intentional one but a reflexive one. Anger and violence are common instinctual reactions when humans are faced with something that is wrong. The Hulk resonates with readers because the Hulk (particularly the unthinking version) is so believable. How many of us, when we are greatly offended by a wrong, have never had the reaction of “HULK SMASH!”?

Of course, instinct isn’t always a good thing --hold your breath and after a minute you’ll have the instinct to breathe again, which is a very bad idea if you are under water -- but the cause of the instinct tends to be (breathing is good, after all, and tends to be necessary for life).

Since justice is an exchange, Y for X, and such an exchange is subjective (even in extreme cases of X, a less extreme Y may be called for), we might be tempted to say that justice is the reflex of our ethics or morals. But those seem to be too high-ordered for the cause of our Justice Reflexes. Perhaps the word “sensibilities” might be a bit more valid. Certainly, it is still influenced by our ethics and morals, but we might describe those as ourselves intentionally doing what we perceive as right while our sensibilities cause us to unintentionally do what we perceive as right. This is not a static thing, but rather a part of us that grows with the rest of ourselves.

Our sense of justice is almost like our sense of balance; it can be trained to endure a variety of perspectives, but it instinctually keeps us upright in an uneven world of social interactions. Indeed, we might even go so far as to say it is fundamental to the social universe. Just as for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, for every social violation there is an equal and opposite social repercussion.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2009, 01:05:11 am by Thought »

Truthordeal

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2009, 07:12:57 pm »
Funny, I don't remember my name being GenesisOne. I could be mistaken about that though.  :P

FaustWolf

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2009, 07:55:22 pm »
Very interesting exchange theory of justice! When it comes to criminals I tend to want an "extraction" approach, where value is extracted from the offender through some kind of slave labor or forced community service, to replace the societal value the offender has destroyed. It would seem more societally efficient to me that a murderer should be put to work forever purely for the benefit of others rather than be offed through execution. And what do we call it when someone on Death Row just sits in prison limbo, neither receiving immediate punishment nor producing?

I may be mistaken in assuming that the very worst offenders are holed up in prison without having useful work extracted from them; anyone know what happens in the typical maximum security prison?

But it's interesting to note that in either case (exchange or extraction), it's literally impossible in some cases to a.) Give the criminal a punishment commensurate with the destruction he or she has caused (if you kill a serial killer once, that's one societal vengeance down, but on behalf of which of the x victims that person killed?); or b.) To extract value equal to the societal value the offender destroyed (how do you measure when enough community service has been given to make up for x lives?).

Reflecting on this, is justice in fact an impossible thing to achieve in some cases?

Radical_Dreamer

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2009, 09:22:52 pm »
I view a just act is one which brings things closer to how they "ought" to be. Therefore justice is the reconciliation of the real and the idealized.

Thought

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2009, 01:10:50 am »
Funny, I don't remember my name being GenesisOne. I could be mistaken about that though.  :P

What ever do you mean? I totally didn't get you mistaken with GenesisOne in my previous post. Also, these are not the droids you are looking for.

It would seem more societally efficient to me that a murderer should be put to work forever purely for the benefit of others rather than be offed through execution.

What if mandatory organ donation was imposed on all individuals on death row?

FaustWolf

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2009, 02:09:51 pm »
Wow, Thought. Wow. I...might just support that, actually. I'm slightly worried about whether the common murderer has high quality organs though.

I guess that would give a whole new meaning to: "An Eye for an Eye."

ZombieBucky

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Re: What Is "Justice"?
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2009, 03:44:38 pm »
id support that as well. but wed have to change our execution methods too. what good is a kidney when its been processing poison? how useful is a lung that was breathing poison? why keep a heart that got boiled by the blood it pumps?
i often think that the best justice is guilt. you forgive someone, but thye might not forgive themselves. they have to live with that for a long time.