Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 10: “THE GOOD CITIZEN”

funding for this program is provided by additional funding provided by we turn to Aristotle after examining theories modern theories of Justice that tried to detach considerations of justice and rights from questions of moral desert and virtue Aristotle disagrees with Kant and Rawls Aristotle argues that justice is a matter of giving people what they deserve and the central idea of Aristotle’s theory of justice is that in reasoning about justice and rights we have unavoidably to reason about the purpose or the end or the Tilos of social practices and institutions yes justice requires giving equal things to equal persons but the question immediately arises in any debate about justice equal in what respect in Aristotle says we need to fill in the answer to that question by looking to the characteristic end or the essential nature or the purpose of the thing we’re distributing and so we discussed Aristotle’s example of flutes who should get the best flutes and Aristotle’s answer was the best flute players the best flute player should get the best flute because that’s a way of honoring the excellence of flute playing it’s a way of rewarding the virtue of a great flute player what’s interesting though and this is what we’re going to explore today is that it’s not quite so easy to dispense with Kili logical reasoning when we’re thinking about social institutions and political practices in general is how to do without teleology when we’re thinking about ethics justice and moral argument at least that’s Aristotle’s claim and I would like to bring out the force in Aristotle’s claim by considering two examples one is an example that Aristotle spends quite a bit of time discussing the case of politics how should political offices and honors how should political rule be distributed the second example is a contemporary debate about golf and whether the Professional Golfers Association should be required to allow Casey Martin a golfer with a disability to ride in a golf cart both cases bring out a further feature of Aristotle’s teleological way of thinking about justice and that is that when we attend to the Telos or the purpose sometimes we disagree and argue about what the purpose of a social practice really consists in and when we have those disagreements part of what’s at stake in those disagreements is not just who will get what not just a distributive question but also an honorific question what qualities what excellences of persons will be honored debates about purpose and Telos are often simultaneously debates about honor now let’s see how that works in the case of Aristotle’s account of politics when we discuss distributive justice these days we’re mainly concerned with the distribution of income and wealth and opportunity Aristotle took distributive justice to be mainly not about income and wealth but about offices and honors who should have the right to rule who should be a citizen how should political Authority be distributed those were his questions how did he go about answering those questions well in line with his teleological account of Justice Aristotle argues that to know how political authority should be distributed we have first to inquire into the purpose the point the Telos of politics so what is politics about and how does this help us decide who should rule well for Aristotle the answer to that question is politics is about forming character forming good character it’s about cultivating the virtue of citizens it’s about the good life the end of the state the end of the political community he tells us in book three of the politics it’s not mere life it’s not economic exchange only it’s not security only it’s realizing the good life that’s what politics is for according to Aristotle now you might worry about this you might say well maybe this shows us why those modern theorists of justice and of politics are right because remember for Kant and for Rawls the point of politics is not to shape the moral character of citizens it’s not to make us good it’s to respect our freedom to choose our goods our values our ends consistent with a similar Liberty for others Aristotle disagrees any polis which is truly so-called then it’s not merely one in name must devote itself to the end of encouraging goodness otherwise political Association sinks into a mere alliance law becomes a mere covenant a guarantor of men’s rights against one another instead of being as it should be a way of life such as will make the members of a polis good and just that’s Aristotle’s view a polis is not an association for residence on a common site or for the sake of preventing mutual injustice and eating exchange Aristotle writes the end and purpose of a polis is the good life and the institutions of social life are means to that end now if that’s the purpose of politics of the polis then Aristotle says we can derive from that the principles of distributive justice the principles that tell us who should have the greatest say who should have the greatest measure of political authority and what’s his answer to that question well those who contribute the most to an association of this character namely an association that aims at the good should have a greater share in political rule and in the honors of the polis and the reason is they are in a position to contribute most to what political community is essentially about well so you can see the link that he draws between the principle of distribution for citizenship and political authority and the purpose of politics but why you’ll quickly ask why does he claim that political life participation in politics is somehow essential to living a good life why isn’t it possible for people to live perfectly good lives decent lives moral lives without participating in politics well he gives two answers to that question he gives a partial answer a preliminary answer in book one of the politics where he tells us that only by living in a polis and participating in politics do we fully realize our nature as human beings human beings are by nature meant to live in a polis why it’s only in political life that we can actually exercise our distinctly human capacity for language which Aristotle understands has this capacity to deliberate about right and wrong the just and the unjust and so Aristotle writes in book one of the politics that the polis the political community exists by nature and is prior to the individual not prior in time but prior in its purpose human beings are not self-sufficient living by themselves outside a political community man who is isolated who’s unable to share in the benefits of political association or who has no need to share because he’s already self-sufficient such a person must be either a beast or a God so we only fully realize our nature we only fully unfold our human capacities when we exercise our Faculty of language which means when we deliberate with our fellow citizens about good and evil right and wrong just and the unjust but why can we only exercise our capacity for language in political community you might ask Aristotle gives a second part a fuller part of his answer in the Nicomachean ethics an excerpt of which we have among the readings and there he explains that political deliberation living the life of a citizen ruling and being ruled in turn sharing and rule all of this is necessary to virtue Aristotle defines happiness not as maximizing the balance of pleasure over pain but as an activity and activity of the soul in accordance with virtue and he says that every student of politics must study the soul because shaping the soul is one of the objects of legislation in a good City but why is it necessary to live in a good City in order to live a virtuous life why can’t we just learn good moral principles at home or in a philosophy class or from a book live according to those principles those rules those precepts and leave it at that Aristotle says virtue isn’t acquired that way virtue is only something we can acquire by practicing by exercising the virtues it’s the kind of thing we can only learn by doing it doesn’t come from book learning in this respect it’s like flute playing you couldn’t learn how to play it musical instrument well just by reading a book about it you have to practice and you have to listen to other accomplished flute players there are other practices and skills of this type cooking there are cookbooks but no great chef ever learns how to cook by reading a cookbook only it’s the kind of thing you only learn by doing joke telling is probably another example of this kind no great comedian learns to be a comedian just by reading a book on the principles of comedy it wouldn’t work now why not what dude joke telling and cooking and playing a musical instrument have in common such that we can’t learn them just by grasping a precept or a rule that we might learn from a book or a lecture but they have in common is that they are all concerned with getting the hang of it but also what is it we get the hang of when we learn how to cook or play a musical instrument or tell jokes well discerning particulars particular features of a situation and no rule no precept could tell the comedian or the cook or the great musician how to get in the habit of the practice of discerning the particular features of a situation Aristotle says virtue is that way too now how does this connect to politics the only way we can acquire the virtues that constitute the good life is to exercise the virtues to have certain habits inculcated in us and then to engage in the practice of deliberating with citizens about the nature of the good that’s what politics is ultimately about the acquisition of civic virtue of this capacity to deliberate among equals that’s something we couldn’t get living a life alone outside of politics and so that’s why in order to realize our nature we have to engage in politics and that’s why those for a greatest in civic virtue like Pericles are the ones who properly have the greatest measure of offices and honors so the argument about the distribution of offices and honors has this teleological character but also an honorific dimension because part of the point of politics is to honor people like Pericles it isn’t just that Pericles should have the dominant say because he has the best judgment and that will lead to the best outcomes to the best consequences for the citizens that’s true and that’s important but a further reason people like Pericles should have the greatest measure of offices and honors and political authority and sway in the polis is that part of the point of politics is to single out and honor those who possess the relevant virtue in this case civic virtue civic excellence practical wisdom to the fullest extent that’s the honorific dimension bound up with Aristotle’s account of politics here’s an example that shows the link in a contemporary controversy the link to which Aristotle draws our attention between arguments about justice and rights on the one hand and figuring out the Telos or the purpose of a social practice on the other not only that the case of Casey Martin and his golf cart also brings out the link between debates about what the purpose of a social practice or a game is on the one hand and the question of what qualities should be honored on the other the link between teleology and honor based principles of distributive justice who was Casey Martin well Casey Martin is a very good golfer able to compete at the highest levels of golf but for one thing he has a rare circulatory problem in his leg that makes it very difficult for him to walk not only difficult but dangerous and so he asked the PGA with governs the Pro Tour in golf to be able to use a golf cart when he competed in professional tournaments PGA said no and he sued under the Americans for Disabilities Act he sued in a case that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court the question the Supreme Court had to answer was does Casey Martin have a right that the PGA provide him allow him to use a golf cart on the tour or not how many here think that from a moral point of view Casey Martin should have a right to use a golf cart and how many think that he should not have a right to a golf cart in the tournament’s so the majority are sympathetic to Casey Martin’s right though a substantial minority disagree let’s first hear from those of you who would rule against Casey Martin why would you know say that the PGA must give them a golf cart yes since the inception of golf because it’s been part of the sport it’s now intrinsically part of golf walking the course and that’s because its intrinsic to golf I’d argue that not being able to walk the course it’s just not being able to perform an aspect of the sport which is necessary to performing at a professional up good stay there for a minute what’s your name Tommy are you a golfer by the way Tom look uh not so much but yeah little bit are there any are there any golfers here I mean real golfers thank you professor that one oh no I I’m just taking your word for it who are there is there someone here on the golf team yes tell us your name and tell us what you think my name is Michael and I usually take a cart so probably there probably the wrong person to ask is that why your hand went up slowly you went ah yes all right but tom is saying let’s uh Tom said a minute ago that at least at the professional level walking the course is essential to the game do you agree I would yes you do then why do you take a card and you call yourself a golfer no no no no no I’m kidding I’m kidding what do you say what do you say to that I when I have walked a course it does add tremendously to the to the game makes it a lot harder it really does yeah all right let’s let’s hear Michael and Tom’s stay there let’s hear from people who say that he should have a right to a golf cart why who’s prepared to defend that position yes well I think the PGA should definitely be required to give him a golf cart because they argue in the decision that it’s not just a matter of he’s not not experiencing fatigue for him he’s still walking about a mile the cart can’t go everywhere with him and in that mile he’s still experiencing more fatigue and pain than a healthy player would so it’s not as if you’re removing the disadvantage what’s your name Reba Reba what do you say to Tom’s point that walking the course is essential to the game it would be as if a disabled player could play in the NBA but not have to run up and down the court well I think they’re two two responses at first I don’t think it’s it’s essential to the game because most golfers who play patchouli recreationally don’t play with a cart why several like Michael and several of the tours you can’t play with a cart on the Senior PGA Tour on the Nike tour in a lot of the college events and those events are just as competitive and just as high level as the PGA Tour so really it’s just a matter of selective reasoning if you argue that it’s a important part of the sport but even if it is he still does have to walk he still plays golf standing up it’s not as if he’s playing golf from a wheelchair all right who who else grant I think the whole point of a competition is that it calls out the best you know from the second best word from the third best and when we’re talking about the national level we’re talking about you know the highest the highest I mean I think the what they’re arguing about here is the purpose of competition and I think in the sake of competition you can’t change the rules so the purpose of the competition includes walking that’s an essential you agree with Tom and what’s your name David the Supreme Court ruled that the PGA did have to accommodate Casey Martin and they did it on grounds that Riva mentioned that walking isn’t really part of an essential part of the game they cited testimony saying that walking the court consumes no more calories than you get eating a Big Mac that’s what walking is in golf according to the majority Scalia was in dissent Justice Scalia agreed with David he said there is no purpose it’s not and it’s certainly not for courts to try to figure out the essential purpose of golf golf like any game is strictly for amusement and if there’s a group that wants to have one version of the game they can have that version of the game and the market can decide whether people are amused and like and show up for that and watch the television broadcasts Scalia’s dissent was an anti Aristotelian dissent because notice two things about the argument first we’re thrust into a discussion about what the essential nature or purpose or Telos of golf really is does it include walking and here’s something I think is rumbling beneath the surface of this debate whether walking partly determines whether golf is really an athletic competition after all the ball sits still you have to put it in a hole it is it more like basketball baseball and football golf’s and athletic competition or is it more like billiards the ball sits still there too you can be out of shape and succeed it involves skill but not athletic skill could it be that those professional golfers who excel at golf have a stake in golf being honored and recognized as an athletic event not just a game of skill like billiards and if that’s what’s at stake then we have a debate about the purpose the teleological dimension and also a debate about honor what virtues really does the game of golf honor and recognize two questions to which Aristotle directs our attention we’ll continue on this case next time what what’s strange and seem paradoxical to me about Aristotle’s viewpoint is that if you are like a pirate and you talk like a pirate you shouldn’t be an investment banker because that’s that’s not what you’re inherently supposed to do if you have a peg leg and an eye patch and a disgruntled disposition you know you should be on a pirate ship on the high seas so he doesn’t his uh some would say some would say the the distinction between the two vocations is not as clear as you suggest when we ended last time we were talking about whether Casey Martin has a right to ride in a golf cart in the PGA tournaments and it’s worth remembering how we got into this debate and what’s at stake for an understanding of political philosophy remember we were looking at Aristotle’s theory of justice and one way of describing his approach to justice we’ve called it teleological teleological because he says to allocate rights we first have to figure out the purpose or the end of the social practice in question another way of describing Aristotle’s account of justice is that justice is for him a matter of fit it’s a matter of fitting persons with their virtues and excellences to the appropriate roles now I want to finish our discussion about Casey Martin and his claim for a golf cart and then go back to one more consequential application in Aristotle namely the question of slavery what do you think about Casey Martin’s request should there be an accommodation or not given the nature of the game and of the tournament and its purposes isn’t it discrimination if he’s not provided the golf cart as an accommodation say some others reply no if he got a cart it would be unfair to the other golfers because they exert themselves become winded fatigued walking the course that’s where we left it what about the fairness argument okay Jenny my question was why doesn’t the PGA just make the option of a cart available to all golfers from our readings I learned that there are many golf tournaments other than the PGA were using a carts is not prohibited and for something like the seniors tournament it’s even allowed and encouraged so why doesn’t the PGA just do that let everybody use a cart or give everyone the option of using a cart and let them pick so the traditionalists can say well I still choose to walk the course but I do that knowing that I will be more tired at the end and the people who took the cart good all right so what about Jenny’s solution for the sake of fairness don’t give Casey Martin an advantage if indeed there is an advantage to riding in a cart let everyone who wants to use a cart is everyone happy with that solution does it put to rest this whole dilemma who has an answer for Jenny yes I also spread up last time if you do that you you kind of ruined some of the spirit of golf as a lot of people like to see it if you let everybody take a cart even though it gives everybody the same playing field now it sort of makes golf less of an athletic game like you pointed out last class it’s just like if someone decides to go into another sport and they wanted to advantage like if you have swimming and then you say okay he wants flippers so why don’t we just allow everyone to have flippers going swimming and what would that do to the Olympic swimming competition if people were free to use Jenny and here we better let Jenny reply to this ah says it would sort of spoil the spirit of the athletic competition as if in Olympic swimming you let anyone who wanted to swim with flippers all right Jenny what do you say to da it would spoil the spirit of it you’re also ruining the spirit of golf by not letting people who are really passionate about the game and very good at it compete simply because of an aspect of golf which is not the main point of golf is you use this club to make strokes and hit it into a hole as I’m not a golfer but that’s basically my gist of the game from what I see it and I was reading the PGA vs Casey Martin decision that was one of the Centers that they said is because walking the course is not an inherent part of golf only swinging the club is good so Jenny replies to da well it isn’t really essential any how to walk the course so we’re back to the purpose I mean I’m sure there are like wheelchair basketball there are certain different cut competitions that can be made for people whom may only be able to use their arms right yes all right well what do you think and you just said that there stuff like we’re choke wheelchair basketball where if you can’t play a basketball there’s another option I think there’s other options than the PGA Tour but the PGA Tour is like the it’s it’s the best it’s the pinnacle and you have to have certain requirements fulfilled to perform all right Michael you want to say to Casey Martin you go there’s a such a thing as the Special Olympics for those who are disabled go play in the golf golfing version of the spectral Olympics that’s what you would say Michael yeah I think that walking is part of the sport of golf and Casey Martin you know you can’t if you can’t walk the course I don’t think you should be able to play in the PGA all right good thank you very much for that exchange what comes out of this exchange that goes back to Aristotle’s theory of justice well one thing is the question is walking an essential part of golf and the very fact that deciding whether there is a right for Casey Martin that the PGA must respect seems to depend as Aristotle suggests it must on debating and resolving the question is walking essential to the game of golf that’s one moral of the story but there’s a second moral to the story from an Aristotelian point of view what’s at stake here this is the second heir stallion stake in this debate is honor Casey Martin wants the accommodation so that he can compete for the honor of winning the best tournaments now why is it that the professional golfers the great golfers testified in this case Jack Nicklaus Tom Kyte in the readings against letting the music art and they I suspect would be equally vehement Jenny in opposing your suggestion of letting everyone ride a cart and this goes back in a way to Dad’s point how to put this gently professional golfers are sensitive about whether their sport is really a sport because if everyone rode around in a cart or could then it would become clear or clearer depending on your point of view that Golf is not really an athletic competition but rather a game a game of skill but not a sport and so not only the question of debating the purpose the teleological feature but also from the standpoint of viewing debates about the purpose of golf what’s essential to golf those debates Aristotle suggests inevitably are also debates about the allocation of Honor because part of the purpose of golf is not just to amuse spectators Scalia’s wrong about that from Aristotle’s point of view it’s not just to provide entertainment it’s not just to make people happy it’s not an Amir amusement it’s honoring it’s rewarding it’s recognizing a certain kind of athletic excellence at least those who have achieved the highest honors have a powerful stake in maintaining that view now some of you took the position the Scalia position this is an incredibly difficult and silly question Scalia said what is the essential nature of golf it’s not the kind of thing that the United States Supreme Court is equipped to decide or should decide that Scalia but he only says that because he takes a very strong and as it happens anti Aristotelian position on what a game is it is the very nature of a game to have no object no point except amusement said Scalia that is what distinguishes games he says from productive activity you could just imagine what kind of sports fans Kalia must be and so he says it’s impossible to say that any of the games arbitrary rules is essential and then he quotes Mark Twain’s disparaging remark about golf he says many consider walking to be the central feature of golf hence Mark Twain’s classic criticism of the sport a good walk spoiled but Scalia misses an important feature of games and the arguments about rights and fairness that arise from games when he casts games sports athletic competitions as solely for the sake of amusement and solely a utilitarian activity but an Aristotelian view of sports says no it’s not just about amusement real sports real athletic events are also about appreciation not just amusement and people who follow sports and care about sports and play sports know this which is another way of saying there’s a difference between a sport and a mere spectacle and the difference is that a sport is a practice that calls forth and honors and prizes certain excellences certain virtues and the people who appreciate those virtues are the true fans the informed fans and for them watching the sport is not mere amusement but that means that it’s always possible to make sense of a debate about what feature of a sport is essential to it we can make sense of these arguments never mind the question whether the court should decide the PGA in its own internal deliberations can make sense of that debate which is why they cared very much about their view insisting on their view that walking and exertion and fatigue are essential not peripheral parts of sport well this is all to illustrate the teleological and the honorific feature of debates about rights which Aristotle says we need to take account of in about justice now I want to begin for us to consider whether Aristotle’s theory of justice is right or wrong whether it’s persuasive or unpersuasive I want to get your thoughts about that but I want to anticipate one obvious and important objection if justice is about fit fitting persons to roles matching virtues to the appropriate honours in recognition if that’s what justice is does it leave room for freedom and this is one of the main objections to Aristotle’s teleological account of Justice if certain roles social roles are fitting or appropriate to me where does that leave my right to choose my social roles my life purposes for myself what room does teleology leave for freedom and in fact may remember Rawls rejects teleological accounts of justice because he says that teleological theories of justice threaten the equal basic rights of citizens so let’s let’s begin to examine whether Aristotle is right and in particular whether his teleological way of thinking about justice is at odds with freedom now one obvious reason to worry is Aristotle’s defense of slavery he defends slavery which existed as an institution in the Athens of his day well what is his defense of slavery two things two conditions have to be met for slavery to be just first it has to be necessary and Aristotle says at least in our society slavery is necessary why is it necessary if there are to be citizens who are freed from manual and menial and household chores to go to the assembly to deliberate about politics there have to be some who look after those menial tasks the mere necessities of life he says unless you could invent in some science fiction a technological fix then there are going to be those who have to do the hard and difficult and menial labor if there are to be citizens deliberating about the good and realizing their nature so slavery is necessary for the life of the polis for there to be open to citizens the life of deliberation of argument of practical wisdom but there’s a further condition that has to be met slavery has not only to be necessary for the community as a whole to function but it also has to be the case remember the criterion of fit it also has to be the case that there are some people for whom being a slave is the just or the fitting or the appropriate condition now Aristotle agrees that by his own standards both of those conditions must be met must be true if slavery is to be just and then in a deplorable passage he says well it is true that there are some people who are fit by nature who are cut out to be slaves these are people who differ from ordinary people in the same way that the body differs from the soul these are people who are meant to be ruled and for them their nature is best realized if they’re slaves they can recognize reason in others but they can’t partake of it they can’t exercise it and somehow we can know this now Aristotle must have known that there was something dodgy something strained about this claim because he quickly acknowledges that those who disagree may have a point and what those who disagree point out is that there are a lot of people in Athens who are slaves not because they were born to be slaves or fit to be slaves but because they were captured they were losers in a war and so Aristotle admits that as practiced in ancient Athens slavery didn’t necessarily line up with who actually is fit or born to be a slave because some actual slaves just were slaves by bad luck by being captured in a war and on Aristotle’s own account even if it’s necessary to have slavery for the sake of this of citizenship it’s unjust if people who aren’t properly slaves are cast in that role there is a misfit Aristotle recognizes that slavery for those who aren’t fit for the task is a kind of coercion the reason slavery is wrong is not because it’s coerced coercion is an indicator that it’s wrong because it’s not natural if you have to coerce someone into a role that’s a pretty good indication that they don’t belong there that that role isn’t fitting for them and Aristotle recognized this so all of this is to say the example of slavery Aristotle’s defense of it doesn’t show that us anything wrong in principle with teleological argument with the idea of Justice as fit between persons and roles because it’s perfectly possible within Aristotle’s own terms to explain what’s wrong with this application this practical application that he made of his theory I want to turn to the larger challenge to Aristotle in the name of freedom but before I do that I want to see what people think of Aristotle’s account of Justice as fit his teleological way a reasoning about justice and the honorific dimension of Rights and of distributive justice that emerged in our discussion of flutes and politics and golf questions of clarification about Aristotle or objections to his overall account yes my objection to Aristotle is that he wants to match a person to a role and you know if you walk like a pirate and you talk like a pirate you know you should be a pirate and and that is what is right and so what what’s strange and seem paradoxical to me about Aristotle’s viewpoint is that if you walk like a pirate and you talk like a pirate you shouldn’t be an investment banker because that’s that’s not what you in here and he’s supposed to do if you have a peg leg and an eye patch and a disgruntled disposition you know you should be on a pirate ship on the high seas so he doesn’t his a some would say some would say the the distinction between the two vocations is not as clear as you suggest all right but that’s good I take the point yes go ahead it just seems to ignore individual rights so I might be the perfect janitor in the whole world and I can do that job the most efficiently out of anybody that exists right now but I might not want to do that I might want to do any other number of pursuits and it seems to say that that isn’t really a good option for me all right and what’s your name Mary Kate good all right let’s let’s take a couple more yes I think that the golf cart exchange sort of brought up what I see is my main objection to this theological mode of reasoning I mean Michael I think that was your name right believes that walking is an inherent part of golf myself I believe the walking is not an inherent part of golf and I feel that no matter how long we debate this particular point of contention we’re never going to reach an accord the theological framework of reasoning I believe doesn’t really allow us to come to any sort of agreement all right and what’s your name Patrick Patrick all right let me try to address this set of objections to Aristotle let me start with Patrick’s it’s an important objection we had a debate about whether walking is essential to golf and even in so seemingly trivial or at least contained the cases that we couldn’t agree how can we possibly hope to agree when the stakes are higher and when we’re debating the fundamental purposes or ends a political community and so if we can’t agree on what the ends or the goods of our shared public life consist in how can we base justice and rights on some notion of what the end or the purpose or the good consists in that’s an important of Jack so much so that much modern political theory takes that worried about disagreement over the good as its starting point and concludes that justice and rights and constitutions should not be based on any particular conception of the good or the purposes of political life but should instead provide our framework of Rights that leaves people free to choose their conceptions of the good their own conceptions of the purposes of life now Mary Kate said what if a person is very well suited to having a certain role like the role of being a janitor but what something else wants to reach higher wants to choose another way of life so that goes back to this question about freedom if we take our bearing as persons from roles that are said to fit our nature shouldn’t it at least be up to us to decide what those roles are in fact shouldn’t it be up to us to define what roles are suitable to us and that’s going to take us back to the confrontation between Aristotle on the one hand and content Rawls on the other content Rawls think Patrick has a point they say precisely because people disagree in pluralist societies about the nature of the good life we shouldn’t try to base justice on any particular answer to that question so they reject teleology they reject the idea of tying justice to some conception of the good what’s at stake in the debate about teleology say Rawls Ian and Conte and liberals is this if you tie justice to a particular conception of the good if you see justice as a matter of fit between a person and his or her roles you don’t leave room for freedom and to be free is to be independent of any particular role or traditions or conventions that may be handed down by my parents or my society so in order to decide as between these two broad traditions whether Aristotle is right or whether Canton rules are right we need to investigate whether the right is prior to the good question one and we need to investigate what it means to be a free person a free moral agent does freedom require that I stand toward my roles my ends and my purposes as an agent of choice or as someone trying to discover what my nature really is two big questions and we’ll take them up next time don’t miss the chance to interact online with other viewers of Justice join the conversation take a pop quiz watch lectures you’ve missed and learn a lot more visit justiceharvard.org it’s the right thing to do funding for this program is provided by additional funding provided by


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *