The Role of Formal Justice in Ethical Reasoning

Res Publica 21 (1):77-92 (2015)

Abstract
In this article I am concerned with reasoning about matters of justice. There is no doubt that justice-reasoning is a significant mode of ethical reasoning and its importance is therefore generally accepted. But there is a considerable debate concerning the role formal justice can play in reasoning about justice. In this paper, I first provide an analysis of formal justice. I then show that the concept of formal justice is identical to one notion of fairness and I illustrate the function of formal justice in reasoning about issues of fairness. In the third section, I argue that formal justice is an essential component of justice tout court and I demonstrate its value for understanding and assessing reasoning about matters of justice. The overall result of this investigation is that formal justice is an important notion that has a special function in moral thinking, which has not been sufficiently appreciated in the literature
Keywords Formal justice  Justice  Fairness  Ethical reasoning  Practical reasoning
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DOI 10.1007/s11158-014-9264-8
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References found in this work BETA

Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle - 1999 - Courier Dover Publications.
Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Principles of Social Justice.David Miller - 2002 - Political Theory 30 (5):754-759.
Fairness.Brad Hooker - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (4):329 - 352.

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