Members, Wholes, and Partners

Geoffrey Cupit

in Justice as Fittingness

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238621
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679698 | DOI:
Members, Wholes, and Partners

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How the relation between the individual and society should be viewed is perhaps the central question of social and political philosophy. Political philosophies differ radically in their conception of this relation. At one extreme is the view that individuals are mere parts of a greater social whole in the way that limbs are members of a body. At the other is the view that individuals are radically separate and complete in themselves. This chapter considers how one's view of this relationship can be expected to affect his/her view of what justice requires. A number of precepts intended to determine a proper distribution of benefits and burdens between individuals may be understood as ways of giving expression to (what is viewed as being) the relationship between the individual and the social union of which the individual is a part (if any). This chapter looks at precepts which may be viewed as expressing partnership, which includes elements of both membership and wholeness, and whether they are compatible with justice as fittingness.

Keywords: justice; membership; wholeness; partnership; fittingness; benefits; burdens; compensation; distribution

Chapter.  11042 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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