John Isbister — “Ethics and Economics”

“Is it possible to have a just society?”
John Isbister, VP Faculty Affairs, Ryerson University
January 15, 2014

A definition of justice is “getting what you deserve.” That is a good working definition of criminal justice, but what about social justice? How do we get what we deserve within our social system? It is a subject that has puzzled thinkers at least since Aristotle, and the debates echo over the centuries. My contention is that the principles propounded by some of the great philosophers can help us in our thinking, but they are incapable of giving us clear, precise answers. There are too many plausible principles, some of which lead us in opposite directions. Is there a morally justified distribution of personal incomes in Canada? Can we justify the existence of poverty, at any level? Should the accident of citizenship have any bearing on ones well-being? Do animals have a right to justice and, if so, is it any different from the right to justice of human beings? The questions, and many like them, are fundamental, and the search for answers never-ending.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s