The Partiality Problem

Randy E. Barnett

in The Structure of Liberty

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297291
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598777 | DOI:
The Partiality Problem

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The partiality problem refers to the need to (1) allow persons to pursue their own partial interests including the interests of those to whom they are partial, (2) while somehow taking into account the partial interests of others whose interests are more remote to them. The partiality problem represents an independent reason to adopt the solution to the knowledge problem provided by the fusion of justice and the rule of law. The liberal conception of justice based on a decentralized regime of several property rights addresses the general problem of partiality by compartmentalizing the effects of partial decision making, requiring that persons seeking to use the resources under the jurisdiction of others take their interests into account, and permits a checks and balances system of tit‐for‐tat to operate among right‐holders. The liberal conception of the rule of law based on publicly accessible and generally applicable legal precepts addresses the acute problem of partiality that arises in the administration of justice by triggering a warning when these formal tenets are violated that a partial exercise of judgement may have occurred.

Keywords: checks and balances; decision‐making; justice; partial interests; partiality; precepts; property rights; rule of law; tit‐for‐tat

Chapter.  7493 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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