Justice: What’s The Right Thing to Do?
The term Justice may loosely refer to doing what is fair. This means that a person who wishes to do something just must first establish if it is fair or not. The major challenge comes in establishing what is fair, as it may be very vague and may also vary according to each individual and circumstances.
Michael Sandel, a professor of political philosophy in Harvard University tries to show how the process of determining what is fair may be complicated. He has taught a course in justice for over two decades and has shown interest in discussing challenging topics especially in his area of specialty. For instance, one of the greatest works by Michael Sandel faults the mainstream perception of justice as fairness, which is held by many philosophers including John Rawls and is well expound Rawls’ book A Theory of Justices. John Rawls who specializes in ethics and political philosophy views a just act as the one that is fair. Fairness in his perspective refers to arriving at judgments that are not selective. As a virtue, fairness is very important to adjudicators, judges and professors among others (Sandel, 2009).
Michael Sandel through his theory of communitarianism highlights how hard it can be for an individual to make a non-selective decision due to strong connection existing between an individual and a community. This implies that numerous factors interact in a community or in a given location and all of them influence a decision that one makes about a subject matter. For instance, an individual decision may reflect the influence of others with common interest or historical background. Furthermore, one’s character is majorly modeled by ones community meaning that even the most personal choice may reflect some aspect of the society. Still, when deciding what is fair or making a decision, the multiplicity of prevailing conditions takes center stage. For this reason Michael Sandel argue that what is dispensed as justice is not and cannot always be fair. The term justices can mean several things and cab be described as what a community deems as fair while still considering a large multiplicity of the prevailing conditions. (Sandel, 2009).
Sandel, M. J. (2009). Justice: What’s the right thing to do? New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.