What is a just society? 1 – Is it enough to provide opportunities?
ControversialFinn Woelm on November 15, 2016 at 6:32 am
This question makes me wonder whether I desire a “just” society as an end goal or just as an intermediary step towards something even better. It seems to be the latter. It would be great to live in a “just” society, but even better, I would like to live in a society where everyone receives the opportunities they want and desire.
In addition, could we ever come to an agreement on what just is? Even if we agreed on whether it was providing opportunities or taking into account different amounts of effort, people would still disagree on what distribution of that would equate to “just”. Therefore, I think we need a subjective goal and definition: Something that can only be assessed by each individual themselves. If one has everything they want and need, perfect. If one needs more, let’s work together to find a way to give it to them.
Philosophers disagree about what makes a society just or unjust. Is it a matter of freedom, equality, status, resources, happiness, opportunities, dignity, recognition…?
Here is one “hot” question about characterizing social justice:
For instance, people graduating from the same school end up with very different careers and levels of success. Some of these inequalities are due to luck and circumstances: coming from the same school, students still have different opportunities depending on their parents’ background and networks. But these inequalities are also due to the fact that some work very hard and aim at a great career, whereas others have other goals and care less about their career or their social success.
Do you think that a just society would only seek to reduce inequalities that are due to circumstances that are beyond people’s control, or that it should also make sure that inequalities are not too large anyway, independently of how they are generated?
Bring your voice to this forum and share your own perspective on social justice!