Justice: an Un-Original Position

Neil MacCormick

in Legal Right and Social Democracy

Published in print March 1984 | ISBN: 9780198255024
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681561 | DOI:
Justice: an Un-Original Position

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That human societies are not voluntary associations is a quite general truth, embracing the most libertarian of democracies and the most oppressive of autocracies. Nobody's original citizenship is acquired by choice; subsequent changes of citizenship are open only to a minority, and even those who might change but deliberately choose not to do so may be moved by considerations other than a conviction that their present national society is a perfectly constituted and wholly ideal form of human community. Men are not born free; yet they are not everywhere wholly in chains; and thus a capital question for the philosophy of law in its critical, if not its analytical, modes, is that of attempting to settle what are the forms of social organization which deserve approval. To answer the question is to advance a theory of justice which is discussed in this chapter.

Keywords: democracies; autocracies; minority; social organization; justice

Chapter.  7766 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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