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Old 2013-01-11, 15:15   Link #1
Xellos-_^
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Philosophical Question - Justice and Fairness

1. Does Justice exist?
2. What is Justice?
3. Does Fairness exist?
4. What is Fairness?
5. Can Justice be Fair?
6. Should Justice be Fair?


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YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

-Death to Susan
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Old 2013-01-11, 16:01   Link #2
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
1. Does Justice exist?
Physically no. But it does exist in the minds of people, and is a powerful thing.
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2. What is Justice?
That everyone should get what they deserve?
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3. Does Fairness exist?
Same as justice
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4. What is Fairness?
That everyone should have equal outcomes for equal action/effort.
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5. Can Justice be Fair?
The two are interrelated concepts. They're two sides of the same idea. Justice speaks of everyone getting the right consequence for their actions. Fairness speaks of it being equal in scale.
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6. Should Justice be Fair?
Yes. The two cannot exist without the other. However something can be more unjust then unfair, or more unfair then unjust. However if something is just, it is also fair.

At least that is what I think. There is very good argument to say that fairness and justice are the exact same thing, but I thought that would be cheating...
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Old 2013-01-11, 16:04   Link #3
monster
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My opinions:

Fairness exists, but it is subjective.

e.g. Some people may think gender equality is fair, but think it's (more) okay for women to be violent toward men than the reverse, which may not be okay at all.

Justice is then fairness from the subjectivity of a government in a particular society, which can be influenced by some sort of a consensus from the people in that society.

e.g. An eye for an eye ...
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Old 2013-01-11, 16:20   Link #4
Kyuu
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1. Does Justice exist?

Don't mess with Karma.

2. What is Justice?

In the eyes of most people, it's "compensation" or "consequences" for undesired actions.

3. Does Fairness exist?

It does, but humans are horrible at enforcing it.

4. What is Fairness?

The concept regarding "equal value". Being humans, our concept of "value" differs from person-to-person. Because of that, we cannot objectively define "equal value".

5. Can Justice be Fair?
6. Should Justice be Fair?


Yes and Yes. But per question 4, it may not often be the case.

In order to enforce justice, there must be a system of power. Unfortunately, the concept of "power" is even more unequal than that of "value".
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Old 2013-01-11, 16:53   Link #5
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1. Does Justice exist?

Yes, in books and in people mind.

2. What is Justice?

Agree. People must get what they deserve.

3. Does Fairness exist?

No, as long as hypocrites exist.

4. What is Fairness?

Equality of gain?

5. Can Justice be Fair?

Yes and no. There is always on side that is not happen after reading the verdict in courts.

6. Should Justice be Fair?

Yes... to the victims side.
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Old 2013-01-11, 16:53   Link #6
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
1. Does Justice exist?
Yes. Justice is about people being held accountable for their words and actions, and receiving proper thanks or punishment for them, depending on the nature of those words and actions.

We tend to focus on the punitive side of justice, of course, but there's also justice in a person receiving proper recognition, thanks, or even material compensation for going above and beyond in helping others.

I can think of some situations where justice was done, at least in my opinion. So yes, I think that justice exists.


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3. Does Fairness exist?
When it comes to direct competition, yes.

In everyday life, not really. Perfect equality does not exist, and it very likely will never exist.


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4. What is Fairness?
In competitions, it means that the rules are applied equally to all and that everybody follows the rules and/or are caught when they break the rules and pay a reasonable price for it.

In everyday life, Don is right. Equal outcomes for equal action/effort.


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5. Can Justice be Fair?
In a practical sense, this would mean "Equality before the Law". And I think that humanity has grown steadily closer to this ideal over our long history. But we're probably not quite there yet. I think we'll get there eventually, or at least close enough for justice to be reasonably fair.


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6. Should Justice be Fair?
As much as is possible.
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Old 2013-01-11, 17:01   Link #7
Qilin
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1. Does Justice exist?
It's a social construct for sure, but it would then exist conceptually within the minds of the people who believe in it. That's probably the best sort of "existence" any idea can possibly have anyway.

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2. What is Justice?
This idea is an extension of the prevalent notion of "equality" that people like to cling to. The difference is that Justice is more concerned with practical matters of weighing the "values" of different actions against each other instead of being restricted to vague lofty ideals.

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3. Does Fairness exist?
Again, it's a social construct. The most it can exist as is in the form of an idea that takes root in the shared consciousness of society.

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4. What is Fairness?
The idea of Fairness is another product of the conception of "equality" that is so common in egalitarian societies. It is a notion that says that all human beings are equal and should be treated equally.

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5. Can Justice be Fair?
It's not a matter of "can" in my opinion. Justice, by it's very definition, must be fair or it would become something else entirely.

The only problem is that the values for different actions cannot be judged quantitatively, only qualitatively. As such, the perception of Justice can vary with individual perception. One way to go around this obstacle of relativity is by agreeing upon a common standard of in valuing certain acts, so Justice then becomes more of a society thing than an individual thing. These shared standards are what we now refer to as "Law".

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6. Should Justice be Fair?
"Fair" here is a relative term. Let's not forget that it's completely possible for an act to seem just for one person while unjust to another person.

To make my point, it's necessary to distinguish society's perception of "Justice" and the individual's perception of "Justice". Justice, for the sake of not contradicting itself, must abide by society's perception of fairness, which is to say that it must be lawful. The Law is the end all and be all of the "Justice" of any particular society. Now, the individual's view is at most a single drop within the shared idea of "Justice" that the entire society holds. As such, it holds no power to overturn the general perception of society by itself, be it in America or ancient Babylonia.
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Old 2013-01-11, 17:13   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qilin View Post
It's a social construct for sure,
I'm not sure it's accurate to say that justice is just a social construct. Unless by that you simply mean that for justice to exist, you must have people (i.e. sentient beings), which is true. Justice is meaningless and practically non-existent in a barren wasteland, of course.

But I think that justice is a bit more innate than just some idea that people thought of some day. I don't think that justice is "discovered" the same way that you discover an advancement in Sid Meier's Civilization game, for example. Justice is more than just some "good idea" that somebody had someday to try to push forward civilization.

I think that, due to basic human empathy and some other factors, people have an innate sense of what constitutes justice and what constitutes injustice. And I'm inclined to think that people always had this sense of justice, at least once humans gained higher thinking capacities.
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Old 2013-01-11, 17:55   Link #9
DonQuigleone
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I don't think you can necessarily equate Justice with equality. I said "that people get what they deserve", as that's the broadest definition possible. What you think people deserve is very subjective though.

For instance, under the ideology of the divine right of kings, it is just that a king rule with absolute power, because it is heavenly mandated, the king gets what he deserves (power), the peasantry get what they deserve (to serve their superiors). Under a more modern (democratic) way of thinking, this kind of arrangement would not usually considered just.

The above arrangement could also still be considered fair, so long as all kings are treated equally, and all peasants are equal, because the king is of a higher substance then those he rules over.
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Old 2013-01-11, 18:02   Link #10
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I think its more debatable if we separate their interpretation in the normal, daily life from the the judiciary justice system....
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Old 2013-01-11, 19:49   Link #11
Random32
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1. Does Justice exist?
In people's minds. It's a figment of the imagination, but that doesn't mean it's not important.

Quote:
2. What is Justice?
Some weird idea that popped into some guy's mind some time ago. It's quite useful to making a civilization though, the concept that there is a right, and that it should prevail helps keep people behaving right. Thus, ever since it's inception, it's been propagated quite a bit.

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3. Does Fairness exist?
In people's minds.

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4. What is Fairness?
Self satisfaction in disguise. Things are fair when they go right for you and you are unaware of the suffering that things going right for you causes others.

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5. Can Justice be Fair?
Depends on who's mind you are using to determine this.

Personally, considering what fairness really is, no.

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6. Should Justice be Fair?
Should it? I think so. Can it? Of course not.
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Old 2013-01-11, 20:01   Link #12
Qilin
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I don't think you can necessarily equate Justice with equality. I said "that people get what they deserve", as that's the broadest definition possible. What you think people deserve is very subjective though.

For instance, under the ideology of the divine right of kings, it is just that a king rule with absolute power, because it is heavenly mandated, the king gets what he deserves (power), the peasantry get what they deserve (to serve their superiors). Under a more modern (democratic) way of thinking, this kind of arrangement would not usually considered just.

The above arrangement could also still be considered fair, so long as all kings are treated equally, and all peasants are equal, because the king is of a higher substance then those he rules over.
Fair point. Perhaps I overextended a bit.

What if we interpret justice as an extension of human morality? Morality, by its nature, is something that is subjective and variable. Now, if we happen to expand that subjective concept to encompass something much larger like, say, an entire society, that morality then becomes what we refer to as ethics. With that perspective, ethics (which are eventually sublimated into laws or cultural norms) can also be called a sort of consensus between the different individual values that make up a society or a particular community.

In that context, Justice then becomes a system by which a society evaluates actions based on its own subjective ethical system.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
But I think that justice is a bit more innate than just some idea that people thought of some day. I don't think that justice is "discovered" the same way that you discover an advancement in Sid Meier's Civilization game, for example. Justice is more than just some "good idea" that somebody had someday to try to push forward civilization.

I think that, due to basic human empathy and some other factors, people have an innate sense of what constitutes justice and what constitutes injustice. And I'm inclined to think that people always had this sense of justice, at least once humans gained higher thinking capacities.
No. I agree with you. Justice is a necessity for any society or civilization to exist. For one thing it is the vehicle by which a society's norms and values are consistently upheld and protected. If we take the social contract theory in mind, it is the people that make up society that willingly give up a portion of their individual freedom in return for the protection and opportunity that society provides. Such has already been observed in many other animal communities. That much I can agree with.

However, one point I have to stand firm on is that the perception of "Justice" varies across different societies and cultures. You could even say that it varies across individuals. So I'd say that a large portion of it is determined by environmental factors and socialization. Yes. Part of it is somehow biological, but that would only consist of a small part of the entire picture.
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Last edited by Qilin; 2013-01-11 at 20:12.
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Old 2013-01-11, 20:42   Link #13
Xellos-_^
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Originally Posted by Qilin View Post

No. I agree with you. Justice is a necessity for any society or civilization to exist.
does Justice have to really exist or just a belief there such a thing as Justice?
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Old 2013-01-11, 20:46   Link #14
Random32
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Considering justice is a useful figment of our imagination, believing in justice existing causes it to exist.
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Old 2013-01-11, 20:50   Link #15
Qilin
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Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
does Justice have to really exist or just a belief there such a thing as Justice?
I believe that "Justice" is just a social construct, a concept born from human consciousness with the purpose of regulating a society's value system. In that sense, it is an idea that exists in the minds of people, but nothing more than that.

I won't deny what Triple R stated in his post as well. There are particular biologically-based predispositions that indicate trends in how human societies form value systems, but I see that as a different thing from "Justice" altogether. While such things may have been the basis of its conception, they are still two separate ideas.
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Old 2013-01-11, 20:53   Link #16
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Wouldn't a better question be "Can Human society continue without Justice?
"Can Human society continue without Fairness?"

Constructs or not, we still have them. Can out society continue without them?
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Old 2013-01-11, 21:01   Link #17
Qilin
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Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
Wouldn't a better question be "Can Human society continue without Justice?
"Can Human society continue without Fairness?"

Constructs or not, we still have them. Can out society continue without them?
Probably not. If we interpret Justice as the vehicle by which a society upholds and protects its collective values, then it would be indispensable. A society thrives on its shared value system via social contract. Without it the whole thing would likely descend into anarchy, or at least disintegrate.
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Old 2013-01-11, 21:26   Link #18
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Probably not. If we interpret Justice as the vehicle by which a society upholds and protects its collective values, then it would be indispensable. A society thrives on its shared value system via social contract. Without it the whole thing would likely descend into anarchy, or at least disintegrate.
Interesting enough several countries is on that edge...China and India.
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Old 2013-01-11, 21:31   Link #19
Traece
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Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
1. Does Justice exist?
2. What is Justice?
3. Does Fairness exist?
4. What is Fairness?
5. Can Justice be Fair?
6. Should Justice be Fair?
Justice is the act of balancing. When a crime is committed, the offended seek justice as a "positive" effect to balance out that "negative" effect. Criminals are punished to mitigate the negativity of the crimes they've committed.

Fairness is balance. If something is fair, it's balanced. It's how things are "supposed" to be. If a murderer were "put to justice" and sent to prison for the rest of their life, people would consider that to have been "fair" (assuming that it was deserved and kerblahblahblah). Can it exist, and can something ever be truly fair? Not really, because there's no precedent for what is absolutely fair.

The fairness of justice is arbitrary. It's an opinion. I personally would consider a lot of punishments in the U.S. legal system to be unfair when you look at the socio-economic background and psychological state of offenders of many minor crimes, and sometimes even slightly more serious ones.

Justice should be fair. Justice is just a balancing act, and a subsidiary of fairness in a sense. We know what justice and fairness is, the arbitrary part is whether or not we think that either has been achieved in a given case.
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Old 2013-01-11, 22:04   Link #20
Random32
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Originally Posted by Traece View Post
Justice is the act of balancing. When a crime is committed, the offended seek justice as a "positive" effect to balance out that "negative" effect. Criminals are punished to mitigate the negativity of the crimes they've committed.
Is it that? Or is it so that society can feel a bit of satisfying revenge against what they don't like? Are those two mutually exclusive?
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