Lessons from Plato, Rawls and Ishiguro
Justice occupies a special place in the pantheon of virtues. For the ancients, it was often conceived as the master virtue, the one that orders all the others. For Plato, justice had exactly this overarching status. A just individual, he tells us in The Republic, is one in whom the three parts of the soul—reason, spirit, appetite—and the three virtues associated with them—wisdom, courage, moderation—stand in the right relation to one another. Justice in the city is precisely analogous. In the just city, each class exercises its own distinctive virtue by performing the task suitable for its nature, and none interferes with the others. The wise and rational part does the ruling, the brave and spirited part does the soldiering, and the rest, those lacking special spirit or intelligence but capable of moderation, do the farming and the manual labouring. Justice is the harmonious balance among these constituent elements.
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By the same author:
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Theorists of political justice have long taken the nation-state to be the relevant unit for their proposals. Nancy Fraser argues that the time for this is past. The necessary interconnection between struggles for economic redistribution and social recognition now requires that issues of political representation be re-tabled at a global rather than national level—where decisions affecting the fate of all are increasingly taken, or not taken.
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A Rejoinder to Iris Young
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