• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Main Features of Justice, Law and Punishment

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐The Main features of Justice, Law and Punishment. Justice is the means to create and maintain equality. According to Horner and Westacott, ?Justice is fairness, equal opportunities for all to make something of their lives, and a way back from the deaths for those who fail.? In order to create equality, justice must be an integral part of everyone in society, Plato believed that all the elements of society should work together for the health of the whole, and that justice is the expression of that health. It is therefore easy for the justice system to incorporate Kant?s deontological ethics as it is based on universalizability, where justice is applied to everyone equally. Charles Colson reinforces this view by stating that the law gains its moral authority by encompassing an objective standard of justice applicable to all humanity. However where Kant would state that the justice system should come from laws based on rationality and the categorical imperative, Colson would argue that laws should be based on religious commands, or divine commands, from the highest authority, God. Either way it is the objective moral theories like Kant?s Categorical Imperative or Aquinas? Natural Moral Law that dominates most justice systems. ...read more.


Created by St. Thomas Aquinas, it is an objective principle designed to assist decision making and maintain order in society through divine revelation and naturalistic ideals. However many people argue with these views. Over the years the sources of justice have long been debated, who decides what justice is? After the period of enlightenment religious laws were amended, removed or changed, for example ?Do not commit adultery?. If you commit adultery you will not be stoned to death in the UK. Furthermore, autocratic rule had come to an end by the 20th century in most countries, Britain, France and the US boasted democracy as their apparatus for justice, instead of a higher being or a king. This was fuelled by certain theories like Utilitarianism and Kant?s Categorical Imperatives. Utilitarianism focused on bringing equality and justice to the majority, whilst Kant focused on universal laws being created out of rationality and a sense of good will. Although laws are created and influenced through objective moral theories, it is also relative to time and place. There are different law systems in different parts of the world; there is the Sharia in the Middle East, which differs from the laws of Britain. ...read more.


Another form is to vindicate the law in order for the system to maintain the respect and order of the people. The final form of punishment is retribution, those who do wrong must be punished, retribution is said to reinforce the values of the community, making individuals responsible for their actions and give society a feeling of revenge, for example the hanging of Saddam Hussain. The first four forms of punishment can be justified on utilitarian grounds. Punishment is a means of minimising suffering for society. The fifth form of punishment is based on defending the grounds of natural justice. Punishment is also relative from place to place. In some places capital punishment is not allowed, like Britain, but it is legal in certain states in the US. Some argue that there is an absolute right to life and the taking of one cannot be justified, this is a categorical imperative, it is not based on the nature of the crime or the needs of society, but on the overriding principle of the value of human life. Others take the utilitarian view, the decision for the death penalty should come after balancing the loss of one criminal?s life against the cost to society for having him alive. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. Outline the main features of Utilitarianism andExamine critically criticisms that have been offered against ...

    However even in such a case, the assumption is that the happiness of the majority is the most important goal. Happiness is certainly a good, but whether it is the sole intrinsic good is another matter. The interests of the majority may be in fact permit injustices to be performed.

  2. RE euthanasia for and against

    "This is called the slippery slope argument. In general form it says that if we allow something relatively harmless today, we may start a trend that results in something currently

  1. Essay on Law vs. Justice

    Those seeking to promote ethics do not always keep the important distinction between law and ethics in mind. In my view, most of the time we know what the right thing to do is, and we just do it. It is those who seek to act unethically who should be required to give an account of themselves.

  2. `Always tell the truth and Always keep your promises' Kant's Categorical Imperative.

    our rationality which allows us to recognise its logical force and non-contradictory nature, and (b) our actual freedom to assent to it. Paton's brief description of the objection cannot be bettered: '...we have no independent insight into the alleged necessity for presupposing freedom.

  1. Should capital punishment be reinstated?

    Witnesses, prosecutors and jurors can all make mistakes. When this is couples with flaws in the system it is inevitable that innocent people will be convicted of crimes. Where capital punishment is used such mistakes cannot be put right. There is ample evidence that such mistakes are possible - in

  2. Capital Punishment

    The protestant view of Capital Punishment was derived into factors where it is equally diverse. St Paul favours the death penalty and tends to take the New Testament into disagreement. The utilitarian approach is bound to regard punishment itself as undesirable, epically in the founding of Jeremy Bentham.

  1. What are the Main Features of Utilitarianism as an Ethical Theory?

    although desires had to be catered for, not all desires were base desires and intellectual pursuits were intrinsically good, desirable and worthwhile than base desires. Again, in defence of Bentham, Mill said that if we applied the hedonic calculus to intellectual, or higher pursuits and pleasures, it would reveal that they would be (and are)

  2. Capital Punishment - analyse the views of Ernest van den Haag and Hugo Adam ...

    Bedau on the other side takes on the position of pro abolition and discusses his arguments in his article ?Capital Punishment?. We?ll begin with Haag and his arguments. Haag argues that the execution of innocent people believed to be

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work