Heythrop Journal 20 (1):25–43 (1979)

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CONCLUSIONSocial justice is most clearly satisfied by a system of Divine rewards and punishments: an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly just Being could determine in each case how much effort was made and effect the appropriate distribution of rewards and punishments. A correct understanding of social justice naturally leads us to suppose that there is an afterlife, a God, a free choice — though it is logically possible at least that social justice could be satisfied in some future human society.There will still be those who have their doubts about the correctness of any view according to which justice cannot be attained by fallible creatures who have an incomplete knowledge of one another's behaviour. But, surely, these doubts are not sufficient to discredit my view. There is no a priori reason for rejecting such a view. There is nothing about our use of the term ‘justice’ and its cognates which implies that such a view is mistaken. To the contrary, there are widely held religious views, Christian as well as non‐Christian, which take this view quite seriously. If there is no a priori reason for rejecting this view, then there must be some independent reason for rejecting it. In other words, we need some independent reasons for believing that social justice can be attained by fallible creatures with limited knowledge. The mere fact that we might feel uncomfortable with my theory is not reason enough to reject it.Finally, those who do experience this discomfort might ask themselves whether such discomfort stems from their moral experience or whether they are simply intent on finding justice in imperfect human institutions
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2265.1979.tb00196.x
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