Week 03: Justice


Magritte’s painting suggests a central question: can we recognize our own biases?
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Wish Fulfillment

Believing things to be true because one wishes them to be true is a prime malady of the human condition. It is an opposite of objectivity, reflecting a shortfall of intellectual honesty. It has led to wars, famines and other guarantors of human suffering.
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Rights of Being

Thomas Jefferson wrote that the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were God-given and inalienable. That states a marvelous ideal but not a reality. People and their governments, including Jefferson’s government, have denied these rights regularly and systematically. Human rights is a central liberal value but we
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Civil Rights

The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. [Martin Luther King, Jr.] An overriding social theme during my lifetime (I was born in 1954) has been epic struggle against hypocrisy, and how that played out in the human and civil rights struggles of this age.
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An ideal is a conception of a state of justice. An ideal can be modest but usually it is associated with a bold and dynamic vision for the future. Ideals seem to provide energy to personal quests and social movements. This infusion of energy is a main value of an
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When John Lennon imagined a future of “all the people sharing all the world,” he did not mean that some should work while others leeched off the fruits of their labors. Lennon accumulated wealth and lived very well. His vision means that we must all share the world’s resources, recognizing
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Objectivity – Realism

Justice requires us to transcend the boundaries of individual interest. Therefore, objectivity, which requires us to think beyond our individual prejudices and interests, is the intellectual component of justice. Opposite: bias Obstacle: wish fulfillment Realism is a corollary of objectivity, as one cannot be objective without being firmly grounded in reality.
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Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience. [Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960).] Conscience is the will to justice, objectivity is its directing force in the intellect and sharing is its
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My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. [Thomas Paine] Philosophers have long sought to develop systems of justice from subsidiary principles, such as harmony, natural law, utilitarianism and a categorical imperative. As a result, philosophers with the same essential intent have been at cross-purposes with each other, and have failed to
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