Some Farther Reflexions<sup>1</sup> Concerning Justice and Injustice

Jonathan Harrison

in Hume's Theory of Justice

Published in print January 1980 | ISBN: 9780198246190
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680946 | DOI:
Some Farther Reflexions1 Concerning Justice and Injustice

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This chapter discusses the following: (1) Sense in which rules of justice are ‘laws of nature’. (2) The reducibility of our motives for not taking the property of others. Property a conventional notion, but not a moral one. (3) The alleged circularity of the definition of ‘justice’ as ‘giving everyone his due’. (4) Though property is not itself a sensible quality, it must make a difference to what sensible properties we are aware of. (5) And some sensible change must take place to something when it changes hands. (6) Our attitude to property compared with our attitude to consecrated buildings. (7) Hume thinks that self-love, not benevolence, produces justice. He is wrong in thinking that justice is an entirely conventional notion. (8) Hume's comparison between property and ‘the imaginary qualities of the peripatetic philosophers’. (9) Hume's view that an action is a manifestation of a natural virtue only if it is the sign of a passion aroused by the physical features of something. (11) Hume's view that justice, unlike other virtues, does not admit of degrees. (12) Is Hume right in thinking that the reason why rights, obligations, and property do not admit of degrees is that they are created by man-made rules? (13) Whether rights and obligations do admit of degrees. (14) Why does Hume think that the fact that rights and obligations do not admit of degrees shows that these motives are conventional? (15) Hume's argument that rights and obligations do not admit of degrees because they arise or perish in an instant. (16) Hume's view that ordinary men do think that rights and obligations admit of degrees. (17) Hume's argument that rules of justice must be artificial because they are inflexible.

Keywords: rules of justice; laws of nature; property; self-love; action; virtue; degrees; rights; obligations

Chapter.  13868 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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