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By N. M. L. Nathan (auth.)

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Extra resources for The Concept of Justice

Sample text

In the rest of this section I will try to say some more about them. omeone in such a way that one's attention is diverted from everyone else, and no one else seems of any importance. Both love and hatred can have this sort of exclusiveness. If you have this sort of exclusive love for someone, it can seem intolerable that he should suffer any harm, even if sparing him means that others will suffer even more. And if you hate someone in this exclusive way it can seem intolerable that he should not suffer, even if making him suffer means that others, whom you do not hate, will suffer even more.

To begin with, (A) and (B) could both express either a deliberative or a non-deliberative principle. And then again they could both express either purely act-regulating, act-action, or act-forbearance-regulating principles. Also, they could both express either the belief that the agent should make a criteria-endorsing use of 'just' or the belief that he should make a non-criteriaendorsing use of 'just', when he is deciding what to do. A difference between possible principles of justice which actually is exemplified by the difference between (A) and (B) is that between non-absolute principles, which employ the notion of degrees of justice or injustice, and absolute principles, which do not employ this notion.

In either case the punishment will be desert-dependently unjust in a sense corresponding to the behaviour-dependent sense. Either of these subjective facts gives us sufficient warrant, when we are concerned with desertdependent justice, for placing a value on his behaviour which is unequal to the value of the punishment. (ii) Suppose that a state of affairs is just in a particular behaviour-dependent sense, but does not fall under either case (a) or case (b) in (i). Now suppose that not everyone affected by that state of affairs would have found it equally easy to forbear from behaving as they did.

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