The Main Features of Justice, Law and Punishment

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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.

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In reality however, justice is hard to achieve because life is full of inequalities. David Hume believed that a system of “justice of equality” could not be created as people are born unequal; some are clever, some are beautiful, some are talented, therefore they will prosper more than others that are not. Justice is therefore difficult to achieve as it limits people’s freedom by helping those who are born with advantages. For example those who are born into rich families will get finer education and receive greater opportunities in life compared to those that are poor. However the system of ...

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