Kandice Perry's Justice as a Virtue

HISTORY
• Individual justice is virtue ethical because it ties justice to an internal state of a person instead of to social norms or good consequences (Plato)
• (Aristotle) situations and communities are just when people receive benefits according to their merits. The most virtuous deserve the most good society can give (unless those goods are for bad)
• Both were rationalists (Aristotle and Plato)
• Hutcheson- universal benevolence is the best human motive. We know this not through reason, but through our moral sense (sensitivity)…the individual virtue of justice is motivated by universal benevolence and this benevolence can never conflict with true justice
• Hume- felt that individual justice conflicts with what benevolence motivates us to do empiricist and anti-rationalist..virtue ethicist and believe that’s the moral status of an action depends on the actions goodness or badness of the motive that lies behind the action
• Both sentimentalists (Hume and Hutcheson)
• Bentham claimed that his disagreement with hume’s actual obligations is what initially led him to utilitarianism
Rationalism and justice
• Subsequent ethical thinks feel that justice cannot be based upon sentiment and that it requires a more rational basis
• Rawls positive view of justice is concerned mainly with the basic structure of society….believes individual justice is theoretically a derivative from social justice because the just individual is to be understood as someone with a desire to comply with the principles of justice
Stages of Moral Development
• Kohlberg- highest stage of moral development involves a concern for justice and human rights based on universal principles…the lower stages consisted of concern for relationships and individual human well-being…those who showed that their moral thinking involved invoking universal principals of justice were said to have a higher moral understanding than those who’s moral thought concerned with human well-being….makes utilitarianism seen as less cognitively advanced than the views of rationalists such as Rawls or Kant
• Both Rawls and Kohlberg enhanced their own version of Piaget’s stages of development
• What was wrong with Kohlberg’s thinking was that he based them solely upon boys and men. This lead to girls seeming inferior to boys because of certain differences in moral development
• Carol Gilligan claimed that women tend to think more morally in terms of their connection to others (relationships)
Caring and Justice
• Some people say that caring doesn't have to be restricted to close personal relationships and that one can intuitively speak of caring, about people whom we do not know
• Hume says it is easier to not have something than it is to have something which is then taken away….this gives someone who is benevolent or caring about the well-being of others a reason not to steal or allow stealing
• We respond/empathize more to the clear and present danger than to someone that we cannot see whom is a thousand miles away from us

There are a couple of bullets that ties into what we’ve talked about in class. One of them is on stealing. I thought this was interesting because it gives some insight into why I believe that stealing is wrong. Its wrong because it hurts the person you are stealing from. Using the example of having something then losing it is a great way to show that. This also fits what we’ve talked about in class for the last few days. We began trying to define what a virtue is, and what it means to be virtuous. Another thing that was interesting about this article is how it discusses one of the reasons why Bentham became a utilitarian.

1. Do you think it is possible to be both a sentimentalist, and a rationalist?
2. Why do you think it’s easier to feel empathy for someone closer to us than it would if the person were farther away?
3. If you are a utilitarian, would you try helping the person that is in immediate danger of drowning? Or the family that is slowly dying of starvation?

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