What is Justice?

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Marvin_Edwards
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What is Justice?

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 10th, 2020, 9:43 am

Justice is about the proper balancing of rights. This is best demonstrated in a context in which we find justice at work.

All practical rights arise from agreements. We come to agree to respect and protect certain rights for each other.

“To secure these rights, governments are instituted”, said Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. And we, the people, constituted the United States of America by a written agreement amongst ourselves, a Constitution that we ratified state by state. And each state has its own constitutional agreement as well.

We agreed to create a legislature, consisting of our elected representatives, that acts on our behalf to reach further agreements on the details of specific rights. Behavior that infringes or violates these rights is defined and prohibited by laws. Every law implies one or more rights.

Courts hear cases of illegal acts committed by individuals and, if found guilty, the offender is subject to a penalty, often carried out in a correctional facility.

The point of the penalty is to (a) restore the rights of the victim by repairing the harm done, (b) correct the future behavior of the offender, (c) protect the rights of society against further harm until the offender’s behavior is corrected, and (d) assure the offender’s right to a just penalty by doing no more than is reasonably necessary to restore, correct, and protect.

The rights of the victim, society, and the offender must all be taken into account if the penalty is to be called ‘just’.

Correction, when possible, would ideally result in the offender being returned to the community. Rehabilitation may offer the offender a chance to better themselves by counseling, education or skills training. Post-release follow-up and assistance may also be required. But an incorrigible offender may remain in prison if they refuse to change their behavior and repeatedly break the law. The prison term on subsequent offenses would reasonably be increased to protect the public.

That is justice. And everyone deserves justice. When we speak of someone getting their “just deserts”, well, that’s what it must be if it is to be called “just”.

And if one is actually seeking justice, then that is how it is found.

But if you are seeking something else, like revenge or retribution, then it is unlikely that you will find justice.

The idea of redemption is a key, especially in the context of raising our children. No one would allow for revenge or retribution against a child. We expect to correct children by teaching appropriate choices to replace inappropriate behavior. Correction is only punitive to the mildest degree required to get their attention and to make clear our disapproval of the bad action. The child should never be left uncertain as to the variety of good choices available.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by gad-fly » May 10th, 2020, 1:59 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 9:43 am
Justice is about the proper balancing of rights. This is best demonstrated in a context in which we find justice at work.

The rights of the victim, society, and the offender must all be taken into account if the penalty is to be called ‘just’.

But if you are seeking something else, like revenge or retribution, then it is unlikely that you will find justice.
because of various

Justice is the realization and fulfillment of being fair and even. Law court justice is only a part of what constitute justice at large. Indeed, justice is often not found in law because law has other considerations, like humanity, to take into account. Not to execute a murderer, for example, is inherently unjust. Not that I am for the death sentence.

Revenge and retribution, when doled out evenly, is justice. To be lenient, to forgive and forget is not. The right of the victim and offender should be taken into account? Of course, but that will lead to justice, but not bringing justice. You bring a prisoner on the way to jail does not mean he is in jail.

An eye for an eye is justice. Showing the other side after being slapped is not justice.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 10th, 2020, 2:10 pm

gad-fly wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 1:59 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 9:43 am
Justice is about the proper balancing of rights. This is best demonstrated in a context in which we find justice at work.

The rights of the victim, society, and the offender must all be taken into account if the penalty is to be called ‘just’.

But if you are seeking something else, like revenge or retribution, then it is unlikely that you will find justice.
because of various

Justice is the realization and fulfillment of being fair and even. Law court justice is only a part of what constitute justice at large. Indeed, justice is often not found in law because law has other considerations, like humanity, to take into account. Not to execute a murderer, for example, is inherently unjust. Not that I am for the death sentence.

Revenge and retribution, when doled out evenly, is justice. To be lenient, to forgive and forget is not. The right of the victim and offender should be taken into account? Of course, but that will lead to justice, but not bringing justice. You bring a prisoner on the way to jail does not mean he is in jail.

An eye for an eye is justice. Showing the other side after being slapped is not justice.
But what is the practical function of justice? Unless we know what we are trying to accomplish, we cannot make any claims that one action is more just than another. For example, what do you seek to accomplish by dolling out revenge and retribution "evenly"? You say it is "fairness"? Then what is the reason for seeking fairness? What is the function of fairness, why do we seek it?

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by gad-fly » May 10th, 2020, 4:07 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 2:10 pm

But what is the practical function of justice? Unless we know what we are trying to accomplish, we cannot make any claims that one action is more just than another. For example, what do you seek to accomplish by dolling out revenge and retribution "evenly"? You say it is "fairness"? Then what is the reason for seeking fairness? What is the function of fairness, why do we seek it?
Justice is not about what is practical. An eye for an eye, what for? Imprison a murderer, what for? Compensation for wrongful conviction? Is that justice? No. Because practical is often beyond reach. The only justice I can see is return of loan.

Justice is about attaining fairness, evenly. Neither excessive nor underdone. Justice is the reason to seek fairness. Why do we seek it? Because we cannot settle down with what is unfair. What is the function of fairness? None. Fairness is a state of mind that allows us to be fulfilled and calm.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 10th, 2020, 4:32 pm

gad-fly wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 4:07 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 2:10 pm

But what is the practical function of justice? Unless we know what we are trying to accomplish, we cannot make any claims that one action is more just than another. For example, what do you seek to accomplish by dolling out revenge and retribution "evenly"? You say it is "fairness"? Then what is the reason for seeking fairness? What is the function of fairness, why do we seek it?
Justice is not about what is practical. An eye for an eye, what for? Imprison a murderer, what for? Compensation for wrongful conviction? Is that justice? No. Because practical is often beyond reach. The only justice I can see is return of loan.

Justice is about attaining fairness, evenly. Neither excessive nor underdone. Justice is the reason to seek fairness. Why do we seek it? Because we cannot settle down with what is unfair. What is the function of fairness? None. Fairness is a state of mind that allows us to be fulfilled and calm.
Perhaps I can offer a different theory. The practical value of morality is that it seeks the best good and least harm for everyone. The practical value of a system of rights (and the rules to protect them) is that we know what is expected of each other. The practical value of a system of justice is that it provides a mechanism for protecting these rights. The practical value of fairness is that everyone is subject to the same rules, so the rules can, at least in theory, be supported by everyone.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by gad-fly » May 10th, 2020, 5:15 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 4:32 pm

Perhaps I can offer a different theory. The practical value of morality is that it seeks the best good and least harm for everyone. The practical value of a system of rights (and the rules to protect them) is that we know what is expected of each other. The practical value of a system of justice is that it provides a mechanism for protecting these rights. The practical value of fairness is that everyone is subject to the same rules, so the rules can, at least in theory, be supported by everyone.
I am inclined to agree with you, but "what is justice" is not its practical value alone. There may be some intrinsic value which is outside practical, which can be more important. What is money? The practical value is to buy things. Is that all money is about? I believe the sense of justice instilled in the mind is equally important if not crucial.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 10th, 2020, 5:35 pm

gad-fly wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 5:15 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 4:32 pm

Perhaps I can offer a different theory. The practical value of morality is that it seeks the best good and least harm for everyone. The practical value of a system of rights (and the rules to protect them) is that we know what is expected of each other. The practical value of a system of justice is that it provides a mechanism for protecting these rights. The practical value of fairness is that everyone is subject to the same rules, so the rules can, at least in theory, be supported by everyone.
I am inclined to agree with you, but "what is justice" is not its practical value alone. There may be some intrinsic value which is outside practical, which can be more important. What is money? The practical value is to buy things. Is that all money is about? I believe the sense of justice instilled in the mind is equally important if not crucial.
To be important or crucial it must make a difference. There must be some consequences of justice being done versus not being done. There must be some consequences of justice being done right versus being done wrong. After all, consequences is where meaning comes from. 🙂

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by h_k_s » May 10th, 2020, 6:03 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 9:43 am
Justice is about the proper balancing of rights. This is best demonstrated in a context in which we find justice at work.

All practical rights arise from agreements. We come to agree to respect and protect certain rights for each other.

“To secure these rights, governments are instituted”, said Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. And we, the people, constituted the United States of America by a written agreement amongst ourselves, a Constitution that we ratified state by state. And each state has its own constitutional agreement as well.

We agreed to create a legislature, consisting of our elected representatives, that acts on our behalf to reach further agreements on the details of specific rights. Behavior that infringes or violates these rights is defined and prohibited by laws. Every law implies one or more rights.

Courts hear cases of illegal acts committed by individuals and, if found guilty, the offender is subject to a penalty, often carried out in a correctional facility.

The point of the penalty is to (a) restore the rights of the victim by repairing the harm done, (b) correct the future behavior of the offender, (c) protect the rights of society against further harm until the offender’s behavior is corrected, and (d) assure the offender’s right to a just penalty by doing no more than is reasonably necessary to restore, correct, and protect.

The rights of the victim, society, and the offender must all be taken into account if the penalty is to be called ‘just’.

Correction, when possible, would ideally result in the offender being returned to the community. Rehabilitation may offer the offender a chance to better themselves by counseling, education or skills training. Post-release follow-up and assistance may also be required. But an incorrigible offender may remain in prison if they refuse to change their behavior and repeatedly break the law. The prison term on subsequent offenses would reasonably be increased to protect the public.

That is justice. And everyone deserves justice. When we speak of someone getting their “just deserts”, well, that’s what it must be if it is to be called “just”.

And if one is actually seeking justice, then that is how it is found.

But if you are seeking something else, like revenge or retribution, then it is unlikely that you will find justice.

The idea of redemption is a key, especially in the context of raising our children. No one would allow for revenge or retribution against a child. We expect to correct children by teaching appropriate choices to replace inappropriate behavior. Correction is only punitive to the mildest degree required to get their attention and to make clear our disapproval of the bad action. The child should never be left uncertain as to the variety of good choices available.
Historically, Hammurabi is the oldest source we have for definitions of justice. Note that in his case it mattered what class of society you were in, whether slave, freeman, or nobleman.

Moses is next, with his laws in Levitucus.

The Puritans colonized America with Bible in hand and thus they referred to Moses' laws.

And we today have inherited what the Puritans gave/left us.

Philosophically speaking, Aristotle and Plato his teacher must have had much to say about justice.

Their models of course depend on ancient Athens. And Athens was completely independent of Hammurabi or Moses. The Athenian philosophers thought things through for themselves from scratch.

Thinking justice through from scratch, we come up with an emotional issue that deals with injury and punishment. This is essentially modern tort law.

If you hurt someone else you pay them back in dollars.

On a completely separate level, the State has the responsibility to remove malefactors from society and jail or imprison them. This is so that we can have a safe society. This is known as criminal justice.

OJ Simpson comes to mind.

Marcia Clark comes to mind.

Fred Goldman comes to mind.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by gad-fly » May 10th, 2020, 6:25 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 5:35 pm

To be important or crucial it must make a difference. There must be some consequences of justice being done versus not being done. There must be some consequences of justice being done right versus being done wrong. After all, consequences is where meaning comes from. 🙂
Consequence of justice done, not done, done right, and done wrong. For such consequence, do you mean "verdict"? I agree verdict is supposed to carry justice, and I hope it can. Consequence is where meaning comes from? This is at most a partial description of meaning. Management by result, for example, does not legitimize management by hook or by crook. Same with management by conscience. End justifies means? If so, justice will be done when nothing can be done. Court dismissed.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 10th, 2020, 6:28 pm

h_k_s wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 6:03 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 9:43 am
Justice is about the proper balancing of rights. This is best demonstrated in a context in which we find justice at work.

All practical rights arise from agreements. We come to agree to respect and protect certain rights for each other.

“To secure these rights, governments are instituted”, said Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. And we, the people, constituted the United States of America by a written agreement amongst ourselves, a Constitution that we ratified state by state. And each state has its own constitutional agreement as well.

We agreed to create a legislature, consisting of our elected representatives, that acts on our behalf to reach further agreements on the details of specific rights. Behavior that infringes or violates these rights is defined and prohibited by laws. Every law implies one or more rights.

Courts hear cases of illegal acts committed by individuals and, if found guilty, the offender is subject to a penalty, often carried out in a correctional facility.

The point of the penalty is to (a) restore the rights of the victim by repairing the harm done, (b) correct the future behavior of the offender, (c) protect the rights of society against further harm until the offender’s behavior is corrected, and (d) assure the offender’s right to a just penalty by doing no more than is reasonably necessary to restore, correct, and protect.

The rights of the victim, society, and the offender must all be taken into account if the penalty is to be called ‘just’.

Correction, when possible, would ideally result in the offender being returned to the community. Rehabilitation may offer the offender a chance to better themselves by counseling, education or skills training. Post-release follow-up and assistance may also be required. But an incorrigible offender may remain in prison if they refuse to change their behavior and repeatedly break the law. The prison term on subsequent offenses would reasonably be increased to protect the public.

That is justice. And everyone deserves justice. When we speak of someone getting their “just deserts”, well, that’s what it must be if it is to be called “just”.

And if one is actually seeking justice, then that is how it is found.

But if you are seeking something else, like revenge or retribution, then it is unlikely that you will find justice.

The idea of redemption is a key, especially in the context of raising our children. No one would allow for revenge or retribution against a child. We expect to correct children by teaching appropriate choices to replace inappropriate behavior. Correction is only punitive to the mildest degree required to get their attention and to make clear our disapproval of the bad action. The child should never be left uncertain as to the variety of good choices available.
Historically, Hammurabi is the oldest source we have for definitions of justice. Note that in his case it mattered what class of society you were in, whether slave, freeman, or nobleman.

Moses is next, with his laws in Levitucus.

The Puritans colonized America with Bible in hand and thus they referred to Moses' laws.

And we today have inherited what the Puritans gave/left us.

Philosophically speaking, Aristotle and Plato his teacher must have had much to say about justice.

Their models of course depend on ancient Athens. And Athens was completely independent of Hammurabi or Moses. The Athenian philosophers thought things through for themselves from scratch.

Thinking justice through from scratch, we come up with an emotional issue that deals with injury and punishment. This is essentially modern tort law.

If you hurt someone else you pay them back in dollars.

On a completely separate level, the State has the responsibility to remove malefactors from society and jail or imprison them. This is so that we can have a safe society. This is known as criminal justice.

OJ Simpson comes to mind.

Marcia Clark comes to mind.

Fred Goldman comes to mind.
Okay, so we have many sets of laws. What is the purpose of having laws? What is the purpose of enforcing them? There should be some things that all of the legal systems you listed have in common. They should all be serving the same purpose, attempting to accomplish the same ends.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 10th, 2020, 9:49 pm

gad-fly wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 6:25 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 5:35 pm

To be important or crucial it must make a difference. There must be some consequences of justice being done versus not being done. There must be some consequences of justice being done right versus being done wrong. After all, consequences is where meaning comes from. 🙂
Consequence of justice done, not done, done right, and done wrong. For such consequence, do you mean "verdict"? I agree verdict is supposed to carry justice, and I hope it can. Consequence is where meaning comes from? This is at most a partial description of meaning. Management by result, for example, does not legitimize management by hook or by crook. Same with management by conscience. End justifies means? If so, justice will be done when nothing can be done. Court dismissed.
No. A verdict is the result of a trial. The consequence of the verdict is that the defendant is either found guilty or innocent.

If justice is done then the victim's harm is repaired if possible, the offender's behavior is corrected if corrigible, and the public is secure from further harm by that offender. If justice is not done then those repairs, corrections, and safety are not accomplished.

If justice is done right then those goals are met. If justice is done wrong then some harm is left unrepaired, or the offender is not corrected, and/or someone else may be harmed.

The end does not justify the means, because the ends are also means. And all means must be justifiable if we are to have the best justice for all.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by gad-fly » May 11th, 2020, 11:04 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 9:49 pm
gad-fly wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 6:25 pm


Consequence of justice done, not done, done right, and done wrong. For such consequence, do you mean "verdict"? I agree verdict is supposed to carry justice, and I hope it can. Consequence is where meaning comes from? This is at most a partial description of meaning. Management by result, for example, does not legitimize management by hook or by crook. Same with management by conscience. End justifies means? If so, justice will be done when nothing can be done. Court dismissed.
No. A verdict is the result of a trial. The consequence of the verdict is that the defendant is either found guilty or innocent.

If justice is done then the victim's harm is repaired if possible, the offender's behavior is corrected if corrigible, and the public is secure from further harm by that offender. If justice is not done then those repairs, corrections, and safety are not accomplished.

If justice is done right then those goals are met. If justice is done wrong then some harm is left unrepaired, or the offender is not corrected, and/or someone else may be harmed.
Verdict n. 1. the findings of a jury on the issues of fact submitted. 2. any decision, judgment, or conclusion. If by judge instead of by jury, it would be called 'sentence'.

in your last two paragraphs above, I can substitute "justice is done" more directly by "sentence or verdict delivered". I have no objection equating sentence or verdict with "court justice'', which may be the best we can get given the circumstance. I merely wish to point out that court justice, like adult justice, is limited by what is prevalent.I may add that court justice should be subject to challenge.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by Terrapin Station » May 11th, 2020, 11:34 am

"Justice" is a subjective assessment that rewards and punishments have been reasonably and equitably distributed given the situation at hand.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by h_k_s » May 11th, 2020, 2:27 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 6:28 pm
h_k_s wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 6:03 pm


Historically, Hammurabi is the oldest source we have for definitions of justice. Note that in his case it mattered what class of society you were in, whether slave, freeman, or nobleman.

Moses is next, with his laws in Levitucus.

The Puritans colonized America with Bible in hand and thus they referred to Moses' laws.

And we today have inherited what the Puritans gave/left us.

Philosophically speaking, Aristotle and Plato his teacher must have had much to say about justice.

Their models of course depend on ancient Athens. And Athens was completely independent of Hammurabi or Moses. The Athenian philosophers thought things through for themselves from scratch.

Thinking justice through from scratch, we come up with an emotional issue that deals with injury and punishment. This is essentially modern tort law.

If you hurt someone else you pay them back in dollars.

On a completely separate level, the State has the responsibility to remove malefactors from society and jail or imprison them. This is so that we can have a safe society. This is known as criminal justice.

OJ Simpson comes to mind.

Marcia Clark comes to mind.

Fred Goldman comes to mind.
Okay, so we have many sets of laws. What is the purpose of having laws? What is the purpose of enforcing them? There should be some things that all of the legal systems you listed have in common. They should all be serving the same purpose, attempting to accomplish the same ends.
Anytime you have 3 or more people together anywhere, you need laws in order to govern them all by mutual consent.

If only two, then the strongest will evolve as the leader and the other will be the slave.

But with three or more, then any two or more of them can combine against the 3rd or the rest as a coalition.

Laws are needed to govern the behavior of three or more people when together.

So governing behavior is the purpose of laws, if we think this through from scratch, as the ancient Athenians would have done.

As the base of Athenian law was Athenian democracy. This was first instituted in 510 BC by Kleisthenes (Greek spelling) the Athenian aristocrat. He did it for self serving purposes because the people had expelled the Spartans and placed him back in charge of Athens. He knew he had the support of the people, therefore he gave them the ultimate power of election and legislation. There was nothing particularly noble about it, and afterwards Plato and Aristotle debated the merits and weaknesses of democracy ever since.

The European Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke embraced a republican/representative form of democracy to which Thomas Jefferson and others added the separation of powers among legislature, judiciary, and administration (presidency).

So, to recap: Why do we need laws? Because anytime you have 3 or more people together there must be laws to govern them.

And who should make laws? According to Jefferson et al., a republican type of democracy with a separation of powers should make the laws.

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Re: What is Justice?

Post by h_k_s » May 11th, 2020, 2:28 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 11th, 2020, 11:34 am
"Justice" is a subjective assessment that rewards and punishments have been reasonably and equitably distributed given the situation at hand.
Subjective or objective, it is indeed an assessment, I agree with you about that @Terrapin Station .

I see it more as an emotional response to some kind of indignity or violation that is un-stomach-able.

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