The Role of Formal Justice in Ethical Reasoning

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

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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11158-014-9264-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,607
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

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.

View all 38 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Justice: The Neglected Argument and the Pregnant Vision.Xunwu Chen - 2009 - Asian Philosophy 19 (2):189 – 198.
Minimizing Maximin.D. Clayton Hubin - 1980 - Philosophical Studies 37 (4):363 - 372.
Analogical Reasoning in Ethics.Georg Spielthenner - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):861-874.
Social Justice and Legal Justice.Wojciech Sadurski - 1984 - Law and Philosophy 3 (3):329 - 354.
Dionysius the Areopagite on Justice.Filip Ivanovic - 2013 - Studia Patristica 68:231-236.


Added to PP index

Total views
16 ( #465,093 of 2,325,340 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #531,536 of 2,325,340 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature