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What is justice?
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zero_saiyaman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 2:08 am    Post subject: What is justice? Reply with quote

I've been reading Plato's Republic in my Ancient Greek language class and was provoked by Socrates' thoughts on justice to ask it here. Especially in a time like we have now where the government is constantly being scrutinized, where justice has become a muddled affair of simply rules in the book; where we're trying dictators and seeking peace between people groups that seem to have nothing better to do than complain and shoot eachother.

So, what is Justice? Is it giving back to someone what they are owed? Helping friends, hurting enemies? Is it mearly punishing crimes, upholding a standard of law? Is it morality? Does it have a goal, an aim? What is justice to you?

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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think in order for Justice to exist you need the following:

- morality
- free will
- God

I think God is the Absolute dispenser of Justice and my theory on how God does this mostly comes from Near Death Experience testimony. The Divine Judgement seems to me to be about showing you what you've done, in full. You get to experience the results of your actions, going as far as feeling the emotions you have caused in others. The classic "life review" process is when Justice truly manifests itself.

While we're alive, well... we have our fallible ways of approximating Justice. Things like "no killing" and so on are pretty good approximations to how we should live but our lives are very complicated and cannot be captured in a single set of rules. Sometimes maybe it makes sense to kill those who are doing a lot of killing, for example... I think we need to follow that intuitive inner voice to distinguish between when it is Just to turn the other cheek or when it is Just to take an eye for an eye and act in whatever way we feel is truly right, and if we're really in tune with the world then I don't think we'll have any problems when it's time to meet the Big-G.

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, as a humanist, I believe that justicie is achievable through the rational consideration of a ruling body(perhaps a court of law, or maybe there's a God who is the ruling body, who knows)......but then this doesn't always happen.
But, outside of the human race, is there even such a thing as justice? Nature seems not to care about justice yet it also seems to find a balance.
So I suppose justice is a human idea, and it is a flexible idea at that, because everyone's views and morals are different.

I'll write some more later.

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zero_saiyaman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surely what is "natural" isn't usually what is "right" or "good". Nature isn't immoral, but it seems totally amoral. Even so, you are right in that it does find a way to blance itself. Is that an image of justice I wonder? Tis universal or just a human necessity?

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Dreamer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lebowsk1 wrote:
The Divine Judgement seems to me to be about showing you what you've done, in full. You get to experience the results of your actions, going as far as feeling the emotions you have caused in others. The classic "life review" process is when Justice truly manifests itself.


Interestingly there's a plant which some south american tribes have taken for thousands of years called the algoba plant. It's a very strong hallucinagenic drug, which causes people to relive all of the bad things that they've ever done, from the viewpoint of who they did it to. So if you were a bully in childhood, then took the plant, you'd experience everything that you did to others, being done to you.

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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess that plant would be my answer then. That's what justice tastes like (literally).

[Except you'd also have to experience the positive things you caused in others too]

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Atheist
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ethics and morality are ideas that emerged the very instant we started to view other people as being similar to ourselves. They're like an unspoken treaty that says, "I won't hurt you if you don't hurt me." But like everything, they're still subjective on an individual level. Right and wrong and concepts we create for ourselves, by looking at ourselves, and we simply expect others to feel the same way as we do. The universe doesn't care how we treat each other, but we as individuals do care, and that's why we maintain our own system of ethics that promotes basic rights for all people from the point of view of any given individual. This is where justice comes in. Justice is another system we maintain, and one which aims to ensure that people remain ethical and considerate of each other's rights. When someone is punished for mistreating another person, it's rarely to change the offender, or teach them a lesson. It's usually done to set an example and show everyone else what will happen if they break the rules as well. As long as every offender is punished, and people can feel safe in the knowledge that their rights are being protected, justice is upheld. I don't see how the concept can exist outside of humanity, though.

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zero_saiyaman wrote:
Surely what is "natural" isn't usually what is "right" or "good". Nature isn't immoral, but it seems totally amoral. Even so, you are right in that it does find a way to blance itself. Is that an image of justice I wonder? Tis universal or just a human necessity?



I think it's a human idea. Nature doesn't seem to direct itself with a purpose (at least to me it doesn't), so why would it be concerned with justice?
It's true that soem situations in nature may seem just or un-just from our point of view....but then again, thats just us analysing and categorizing the world around us to help understand it better. Take for example, a wolf eating an innocent bunny. The bunny never hurt anyone yet it was viciously gobbled up because the wolf was hungry. Thats not very just for the rabbit, but this kind of life and death cycle is a necessity for all life to exist.

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Jack
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with Atheist`s post but shorter- its subjective point of view.
Whats annoying about it is that people treat it completely different.Seems to me like they use it as some kind of universal law which it isnt.Whats called justice these days is a shame anyways.
This begs for examples-
1. ppl cannot decide wheter they want to be put to death or else(euthanasia) while whole countries blow other countries up every day.
2. it is "justice" when one is put to jail for accident that happened with his/her presence.Firstly accidents happen and there are 100000000 to blame or noone,secondly whats the justice when one sits on our expense in jail while other have no one to help him after leaving hospital.
i could go on like that forever....
whats justice for me? a rule with no back up,idea- something to discuss,a word that helps us communicate.

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack wrote:

2. it is "justice" when one is put to jail for accident that happened with his/her presence.Firstly accidents happen and there are 100000000 to blame or noone,secondly whats the justice when one sits on our expense in jail while other have no one to help him after leaving hospital.


I had another thought about justice and jail.
Suppose someone commited a murder and was to be executed, is that justice? Is that even a punishment?
Well, I don't believe that execution is a punishment. Punishments are supposed to teach people the error of their ways so they don't do wrong again. Executions don't do that, they are just a way to get someone who is unwanted out of the way.
As a matter of fact, the whole idea of the penal system (at least where I'm from) isn't about justice, it's just about getting criminals off the street. There's not much focous on rehabilitation as far as I know, which is sad, because I really believe that a punishment should be designed to teach, rather than to eliminate.
Your thoughts?

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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well the current state of the legal system would not appear to be connected in many ways to the idea of Justice. There is no Just reason for making cannibis illegal, for instance. It is not a reflection of Justice to shoot starving 'looters' in a city that has just been struck by flood while businesses cost the government billions in corporate tax avoidance every year, and while an illegal war is going on.

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Dreamer
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Leb, I actually agree with you. smile

Josh - Although I don't agree with it, I think that executing a murderer is the kind of literal definition of punishment. You do something bad, so something bad is done to you. The whole eye for an eye thing.

Now rehabilitation is definately an important part of preventing crime, but is it a part of justice? I'd say no (although it should happen).

I think Lebs right, true justice would be experiencing all of the bad and good things which you have done.

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But once you were executed, you wouldn't be around to change for the better, and you wouldn't be around to learn from your mistakes, or anything like that. Let's also remember that society doesn't take the idea that someone can change while waiting in death row very seriously.
I happen to think Leb is right about the legal system not being just at all, and I think this reflects why the death penalty is still legal in some places. After all, not everyone is executed because they murdered someone; sometimes all theve done is taken a different political standpoint, or stolen something because they need to eat.

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Dreamer
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and I agree that people should be given the chance to change. But the essence of punishment I think is doing something bad to someone because they did something bad to someone else. You are punishing them.

Say someone cheats on their taxes, and you send them to jail. They're not harming anyone while they're out of jail, so the only reasons for them being in jail is to make them feel bad, at the same time as scaring someone else into following the law.

So thats what I think punisment is. Now is this justice? I don't know. I think you need some punisment for justice, but also some rehabilitation.

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dreamer wrote:

Say someone cheats on their taxes, and you send them to jail. They're not harming anyone while they're out of jail, so the only reasons for them being in jail is to make them feel bad, at the same time as scaring someone else into following the law.


I agree with that, it's justthe idea of a death penalty that I have a big problem with. Punishment is supposed to teach, so sending someone to jail for cheating on their taxes might just do that, but execution doesn't teach, it doesn't even keep others from commiting the same crime.
Still, I'm not exactly sure what a reasonable alternative to the death penelty would be

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