The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy

By Norman E. Bowie; Robert L. Simon | Go to book overview

Four JUSTICE

When conflicting claims are pressed under conditions of relative scarcity, under which all claims cannot easily be met, problems of justice typically arise. Consider, for example, the problem of distribution of spaces on kidney dialysis machines, a problem we discussed earlier in Chapter One. More patients require spaces on such machines than can be treated. There simply are not enough dialysis machines. Yet many untreated patients surely will die. How are the spaces to be allotted? What is the just distribution?

Considerations of justice might not be pressing if there were enough slots for everyone and if provision of sufficient machines would not deplete other contested resources. Then, everyone could easily be treated and no problem would exist. Or, if some patients withdrew their claims to treatment so that all who demanded treatment could be treated, issues of justice would not arise. But when conflicting claims are pressed under conditions where not all claims can be satisfied, we are often called upon to resolve the conflict justly.

In the case of the dialysis machines, should spaces be distributed by lottery? Such a procedure would at least count all applicants equally. But is equal treatment always just treatment? People often differ in merit. Perhaps places on the machine should go to the meritorious. Remember the

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The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Selected Readings 5
  • One Love It or Leave It? Individual Conscience and Political Authority 7
  • Suggested Readings 26
  • Two Utilitarianism 28
  • Notes 46
  • Notes 47
  • Three Natural Rights: Meaning and Justification 72
  • Notes 74
  • Suggested Readings 75
  • Four Justice 77
  • Suggested Readings 112
  • Five Democracy and Political Obligation 114
  • Suggested Readings 140
  • Six Liberty 141
  • Notes 168
  • Notes 170
  • Seven Law and Order 171
  • Articles 201
  • Eight an Evaluation of Preferential Treatment 202
  • Notes 228
  • Notes 230
  • Nine Ethics and International Affairs 231
  • Notes 257
  • Notes 259
  • Index 260
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